Growth Insights for CEOs

Planning your Marketing Budget for 2015: Five Key Trends to Consider

Posted by Ameeta Soni

For companies that follow a January-December fiscal year, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the budget and lock in the marketing plans for 2015. However, in this high-tech, fast-moving marketing environment, a year is a long time to be fully committed to plans being put in place now.

Before you hit send on that budget email to your head of finance, it might be worth your while to take one last look to ensure you’ve considered the impact of coming trends. These trends will invariably cause the winds to shift on your marketing landscape sooner than you may have prepared.

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Are You Going To "Finish Big"?

Posted by Tom McCrary

I had the opportunity to hear Bo Burlingham speak last year about his upcoming book, Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit on Top.

Many of you might be familiar with Burlingham from his groundbreaking work, Small Giants—Companies That Choose To Be Great Rather Than Big. In his latest book, he takes an in-depth look into the specific phase in a company’s life when its Owners/CEOs/Partners begin to consider exiting their business. His relevant ideas and sharp insights in this discussion of Finish Big were so compelling to me that I wanted to share highlights with you. I encourage you to get the book when it is released at the end of November 2014 so that the concepts below can come alive for you as well.

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2 Eye-Opening Reasons that Sales and Marketing Need to Work Together - and 3 Ways to Get Started Now

Posted by Beth Somplatsky-Martori

Today, customers expect to be marketed to in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. If just one of those things is off, your content is at risk of getting deleted, or worse, being marked forever as “spam.“

A key to giving your audience the messaging they want to hear, when they want to hear it, is having marketing and sales teams that work together instead of independently. Sales and marketing alignment is now more important than ever because:

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What is Content Marketing Anyway?

Posted by Beth Somplatsky-Martori

A popular online buzzword right now is “content marketing.” The phrase is mentioned so frequently that I can’t help but recall the song lyrics by Harry Nilsson – “Everybody’s talkin’ at me, but I don’t hear a word they’re saying / Only the echoes of my mind.” Everybody is talking about content marketing and why it matters, but not many people have paused to consider what content marketing truly is and how it can best serve your business.

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Things to Know Before Putting Your Kids on the Payroll

Posted by The Chief Outsider

Americans like the idea of starting a family business. According to the US Small Business Administration, 90% of the 21 million small businesses in the US are family owned—and 62% of employed Americans work for family owned companies. The success rate of family owned small businesses, however, is amazingly low: 7 out of 10 of family owned businesses fail before the second generation gets a chance to take over.

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Learn from the Lost Bid, and Win the Next One

Posted by Karen Hayward

Winning is wonderful; losing is lousy and finding out why you have won or lost is serious business. It is also insightful and critical input to your marketing and sales execution effort. 

The main goal for most organizations selling services or products is to win more business faster and more cost efficiently. And this often involves a bidding process. We can all relate to the stifling anxiety that comes from waiting for a response—and when unsuccessful at garnering the bid—those moments of depression. It can be an expensive and time-consuming effort to prepare a bid for a major opportunity.

With that said, companies often move on to the next prospect without considering the data that may be indispensable for future pursuits. Why a company won or lost a client’s business is just as important as the business itself, since it predicts future business. 

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Special Challenges for the Family Business: Scale, Skills and Succession

Posted by Beth Somplatsky-Martori

Second in a Two-Part Blog Series

If you are an ardent reader of business news, it was hard to escape the sordid tales this past year of the epic battle over family-owned Massachusetts-based grocer Market Basket.

It was cousin against cousin as Arthur S. Demoulas, who gained control of the board of the $1.6 billion company, ousted popular CEO Arthur T. Demoulas – causing an outcry that alienated consumers, rallied employees and nearly destroyed the business. Only through a highly-leveraged buyout – and the restoration of “Arthur T.” to the C-suite – did Market Basket ensure its survival – at least, for now.

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Unique Advantages of the Family Business: Taking the Long View

Posted by Beth Somplatsky-Martori

Oftentimes, the family is but a supporting player on the entrepreneurial journey. But in many cases, generations of family members have been integral in the past and ongoing operation. This can add an extra dimension to business growth that can, if managed appropriately, give your business unique staying power and a strong foundation for a lasting enterprise to be enjoyed by future generations.

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The Brave New World of New Markets - Five Steps to Conquering New Business Frontiers

Posted by Slade Kobran

If there’s one thing that has been constant in the history of America, it’s the spirit of exploration. From Lewis and Clark to Dora the Explorer, our tales of wanderlust have been well-chronicled and have led to great advancements in science, medicine – and business.

If you think that’s a heady legacy to live up to, you’re right. However, as responsible business stewards, the need to grow and expand is what fuels our passion to seek new markets for our business.

As you consider whether the time is right to expand your company into new markets – either geographically or by customer type – ponder this.  According to a study by KPMG, 90 percent of U.S. business executives involved with business development and corporate strategy have seen revenues increase from high growth and emerging markets. This is a sure sign that a broader expansion will open our business up to a world of new possibilities – and financial rewards.

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Customer Empowered Advisory Boards

Posted by Charlie Born

As a CEO of a small business, you may have either given thought to or have already established a Customer Advisory Board. The rather cliched approach is to hold a semi annual or annual meeting with the most senior customer executives from your most strategic accounts. The agenda is thick with company executives who present current and near-term products and services and solicit feedback from these influential and important customers. Then everyone plays a round of golf or some other participatory sport, has a few drinks and hopefully creates some strong friendships outside the confines of the business. When it's done, you probably pat yourselves on the back that you've cemented relationships with your top customers by keeping them involved, engaged and "in the know" about your plans. Most Customer Advisory Board programs justify their existence based on the ROI they deliver to the company like key accounts retained, new business booked from members, strategic insights gained and costly mistakes avoided by acting on their input.

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