Find Advisors That Marry Integrity with Capability
As your company makes the transition for early stage to growth, it only gets more confusing, complex and fraught with possibilities of missteps that could bring it to a crashing halt. That’s why it’s important for your management team to surround itself with trusted advisors that can help you make the leap.
The type of markets you serve, your business goals, and the skill set of your management team will all help determine what types of advisors are necessary. It’s likely, however, that you’ll need a strong relationship with an accountant, a lawyer, a banker, a marketing consultant, and an insurance broker at a minimum. As your business grows, your cadre of trusted advisors will also grow and include technical experts and other specialized professionals.
The Characteristics of a Trusted Advisor
Trusted advisors need to be able to earn the trust of company management and build relationships. They need to be credible, reliable and always have the interests of your company at heart. But they also have to be honest and challenging when necessary, especially when it comes to separating emotion from business realities.
According to Searl Street Consulting (www.searlstreet.com.au) an effective Trusted Advisor will have the following 10 characteristics:
1. Have a predilection to focus on the client, rather than themselves. They have:
- enough self-confidence to listen without pre-judging
- enough curiosity to inquire without supposing an answer
- willingness to see the clients co-equal in a joint journey
- enough ego strength to subordinate their own ego
2. Focus on the client as an individual, not as a person fulfilling a role
3. Believe that a continued focus on problem definition and resolution is more important than technical or content mastery
4. Show a strong “competitive” drive aimed not at competitors, but with constantly finding new ways to be of greater service to the client
5. Consistently focus on doing the next right thing, rather than on aiming for specific outcomes
6. Are motivated more by an internalized drive to do the right thing than by their own organization’s rewards or dynamics
7. View methodologies, models, techniques and business processes as means to an end. They are useful if they work, and are to be discarded if they don’t, the test as effectiveness for this client
8. Believe that success in client relationships is tied to the accumulation of quality experiences. As a result, they seek out (rather than avoid) client-contact experiences, and take personal risks with clients rather than avoid them
9. Believe that both selling and serving are aspects of professionalism. Both are about providing to clients that you are dedicated to helping them with their issues
10. Believe that there is a distinction between a business life and a private life, but that both lives are very personal. They recognize that refined skills in dealing with people are critical in business and personal life; the two worlds are often work alike that they are different, and for some, they overlap to an extraordinary event
From our experience in working with hundreds of early stage companies looking to make the leap to the growth stage, having the right team of advisors is a critical and fundamental element. Freed Maxick CPAs would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might be a trusted advisor to your high tech company.
Please call us to talk with one of our CPAs or consultants about our accounting, tax and advisory services. Call us at 716.847.2651, or contact us here.
8 Core Elements of Business Process Management
High tech companies that are successfully making the leap from start up to growth stage continuously seek ways to improve productivity and operational efficiencies. With growth comes more exposure to competition, and demands from customers for more value and higher quality at lower prices. Customer loyalty and satisfaction becomes increasingly more important, as does requirements for cost and time savings and greater levels of employee productivity.
High tech firms moving to a growth stage need to consider increasing productivity though Business Process Management approaches and technologies. According to SearchCIO, Business Process management (BPM) is “a systematic approach to making an organization's workflow more effective, more efficient and more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment. A business process is an activity or set of activities that will accomplish a specific organizational goal.”
BPM pinpoints opportunities to improve key business processes through analysis, measurement, and use of benchmarks to identify ways to streamline these processes for effectiveness and efficiency. Employing BPM for your firm should result in increased productivity levels, improvements in staff morale, and positive impacts on customer loyalty and relations.
- Identifying Key Business Processes - Select only key business processes that have a direct impact on the organization and its customers, and develop the benchmark against which success will be measured.
- Identifying the Voice of the Customer - Collect data through your internal and external feedback mechanisms to get their perspective on the good the bad and the ugly of your key business processes.
- Develop a Current Value Stream Map - Use subject matter experts to identify everything that is included in completing each portion of the key business process, and then create a detailed flowchart of this information to identify what is being done and why.
- Measure the Process - Identify the direct costs, people costs, overhead costs and opportunity costs associated with the business process.
- Completing a Root Cause Analysis of the key business process - Identify all of the blockages and barriers preventing the business process from immediately reaching its defined "improvement" requirements.
- Developing the Ideal Value Stream - Identify the blockages and barriers to reaching your defined success measures. Create the "ideal" process map that will address the root causes of all identified issues, concerns, problems and challenges in the current process.
- Developing Solutions - Generate a list of possible options and solutions that can be implemented, and then select the best possible options and solutions, ensuring that these will overcome the root causes. Some firms employ business strategies such as Six Sigma to improve quality and productivity.
- Developing the Implementation Plan -Develop a detailed implementation strategy to ensure that the solutions are successfully realized. Include who needs to do what, when and with what resources.
BPM has the potential to reduce costs, enhance efficiency and productive, and minimize risk and errors. It also serves as a means for helping company management direct, monitor and measure company resources.
Freed Maxick has worked with hundreds of high tech companies and startups. Please call us to talk with one of our CPAs or business advisors on business process management for your high tech company. Call us at 716.847.2651, or contact us here.