In this episode, Robroy Wiley interviews Lynda Martin, EOS Implementer about the relationship between EOS system and Exit Business Planning. Lynda defines how the EOS system helps the business owner(s) gain focus and clarity around their business. We discuss how the EOS system works in developing transferable value in the event that an owner(s) wants to sell the business.
How the Entrepreneur Operating System organizational chart is developed.
What the Entrepreneur Operating system does for a business owner(s) and their team
Which components of the Entrepreneur Operating system help in exit business planning and transferable business value.
My husband says PLAN is a 4-letter word. Many of the entrepreneurs I work with struggle to pause long enough to take this much-needed deep breath.
After a busy season of annual planning sessions for my clients, it was time to take my own medicine. I know, I’m mixing metaphors here, but, honestly, as I started following the annual planning drill for myself it felt like taking medicine…
It gave me greater sympathy for the glazed eyes I sometimes see in my clients! It takes a lot of discipline and focus to go through each step of the EOS® Annual Planning session.
So I stuck with it. Stepped out of my own day-to-day busyness to get above its tangle. Worked on my own team health, dug into how I was living our core values, revisited in a deeper way the Core Focus™ of my business, my 10-Year Target™, my 3-Year Picture™. Reviewed last year and last quarter. Set goals and rocks, challenged my assumptions, got all the 136 things coming at me into one compartment or another (see how here).
It was excruciating. And then, and then… here comes the champagne part… it was fun! Freeing! I quantified the impact I’m having on the companies I partner with to implement the EOS® processes. I saw how my life is being enriched by the work we’re doing together, and by the depth of relationship with these amazing business leaders. I’m living the EOS® Life! Doing what I love with people I love, making a huge impact, being appropriately compensated, and have time and energy for my extended family and travel. One of my goals this year is to see all of my clients fully experiencing the EOS® life too.
After my experience, the bubbly has gone to my head. I’m so excited about how powerful the annual planning session is, now that I have seen it freshly from the inside. So now, if you see me around town talking to someone and gesturing wildly, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
I hope your year is off to a great start, and I wish you all the joys, along with the necessary agony, of creative planning and implementation!
If not, Contact Me for a complimentary 90 Minute introduction!
And not just because I’m walking through Atlanta’s rich, muggy August air.
This is a time of schedule transition for many of my clients as we all shift from the pace of summer to school and autumn sports schedules. Projects are facing fewer vacation delays, end-of-year sales and revenue goals are coming into focus. Now is the time to gear up, push hard, race to the finish line.
Before you do…
May I suggest a deep breath in? Regularly! I know you’re busy, and your mind is clicking off a wide circle of “Must-Do’s”. Mine is too. Being productive all the time is like breathing out all the time. Sooner rather than later, your brain and muscles will be oxygen-starved.
It was so hard to pause and take a walk this morning and just breathe. No podcasts. No music. No sorting of priorities. Just breathe. Check out the engine. How’s it going, me? This week’s schedule didn’t flow well; it’s Friday and I’m still working on Tuesday’s priority. The weekend doesn’t have a lot of expansion time in the family schedule to catch up on work. I’m panicky around the edges here.
In EOS®, we talk about the frustration a leadership team feels when they hit a ceiling. It’s true for individuals too. My first response is always to work harder, push, prioritize, dig in! (Sound familiar?) Counter-intuitively, the busier you are the more important it is to take a Clarity Break™. It’s best to have a regular time on your schedule where you meet with yourself and get still. What I learned this morning is that it is also important to listen to that quiet internal voice that is saying “Whoa!! Slow down here horsey. You’re going a million miles an hour in five directions; you’re so confused you don’t even know which path to take.” (Yes, sometimes my still, small voice has to talk to me like it would to a 5-year old.)
So I walked. I breathed in. I reconnected with myself. It took all of 20 minutes. I’m clear about what really is important today, and what can, actually, wait. Less panicky, more productive.
Want to learn more about Clarity Breaks™ and a whole system of simple, practical tools to make running your company more sane, more productive and more fun? Let’s set up a time to talk. If our discussion helps you, then perhaps the EOS® Process could be a good fit for you.
Ineffective Sacrifice: A common mistake – not feeding yourself
We in the USA are inordinately proud of how hard we work, and in business especially we have perfected the humble brag about our long days. Then comes the moment when we realize we’ve worked ourselves into a trap. Whether a sudden health crisis or dawning realization that we’re regularly missing daily life’s important rhythms with our family, that moment is a gift. If we sacrifice our health on any level to “success” we will find success has slipped through our fingers. Everyone reading this knows someone, if not themselves, who has had that experience.
But what to do??? There isn’t enough time in the day.
137 things demand immediate attention. And, having been batting at those incoming 137 things for a year or more, we’re just too tired to think straight.
AHA! That is exactly the key to getting out of the trap. Too tired to think straight means:
• poor prioritizing
• costly bad decisions
• missed opportunities
In that clouded state of mind, the first thing to go is ourselves. We cut corners on sleep, don’t drink enough water, eat poorly and forget we ever had a workout routine or a real social life. Just until the crisis is over, we tell ourselves. A then a year goes by…and another…
So, here’s the way out – pick something small to start with. Just one little thing to feed yourself well today. Do it again tomorrow. And the next day. As you begin to recover yourself, it will get easier to:
• Set clear priorities that make better use of your time and energy
• Make good decisions that give you wind in your sails
• See opportunities that were lost in the fog of your frantic busyness
Simple, right? But not easy. Try it, stick to it. Let me know how it goes. It could not only save your life, your marriage and your business but restore your joy.
You need to simultaneously build a system for your business so that you can delegate and truly, safely let go. Get some help – and since you are the heart and soul of your business, it will unleash good growth! I’ve seen it happen over and over.
Want to experience that?
Here’s an introduction to the simplest, best system I know of for making your dreams reality.
School’s out and graduations are over. The flow of daily life has changed for my clients with school-aged children. Empty-nesters face bigger changes. It seems everyone begins to ask questions about what is commonly called “work-life balance.”
I prefer to see this as a question posed by our busy lives:
“Which strands and colors do you weave into your tapestry today – and is the composition one that you love?”
The real engine of small business is the heart and soul of its leaders, and its employees. In EOS®, we teach everyone to take regular Clarity Breaks™ to allow downtime that slows the busyness long enough for clear thinking to break through! A rhythm of regular breaks – whether daily, weekly or monthly – will renew your energy, clarify your focus, and help you remember what’s really important.
This time of year is when I do an annual Clarity Break™. As many of my clients are responding to changing family needs, they are asking important questions about how they allocate their own time and energy. Since it’s my birthday month, I flow right along and take a personal inventory with the intent of using what I learn to live my best life in the year to come.
This year I’ve learned, more deeply than ever on multiple fronts, that the condition of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health has everything to do with how well my business runs, and with how well I serve my clients. I encourage you to use the natural rhythms of slowing down for the heat of summer to take stock and do what you need to feed the heart and soul, the engine, of your business – you!
If you want to talk about how to build the EOS® life – doing what you love with people you love, having an impact, earning good compensation, and having time and energy for other passions – call (404-697-5212) or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help!
For a lot of my clients right now, sales is not the issue, but I’m a believer in getting ahead of the curve. Figure out what’s working, get on the same page with the whole team, inspire everyone to cement client loyalty and identify new prospects! And give your team the tools they need.
The first place most people go at this point is to design a great website or something to hand to people, but those are actually the last things you should do. I once worked in marketing for a company that created a brilliant, yes, brilliant, radio advertisement. The funny script was delivered by Dick Cavett, a very wry, late-night comedian. And famous. The commercial made me laugh out loud as I was driving home. Six months later, we did a survey (that’s how it was in the prehistoric times before data mining and Google stats).
78% remembered the commercial and were positive about it.
Less than 20% remembered who the commercial was for.
This is what happens when you don’t take the time to clarify who your target market is and what they need to hear so they’ll reach out to you. Wasted time and (a lot of) money and energy.
Want to use sales time effectively and efficiently throughout your organization? As a leadership team, get on the same page about these 4 points – then share!!
Who is your best client? Where are they? How do they think and what do they want? (We call this the demographic, geographic and psychographic.) Is your team’s answer clear enough that you can make a list of names that fit? Can everyone in your company describe and, most important, recognize that profile?
What makes you unique? What do you do to meet the needs and wants of that demo/geo/psychographic profile that is better than all your competitors?
How do you deliver excellence every time? What steps do you take? Does everyone in the company know the five stages a customer experiences from the moment they decide to buy until they write the check? (And decide to come back for more or refer their friends!)
What do you promise they will get or experience?
You can answer the 4-part Marketing Strategy question as part of the EOS® process by downloading our powerful 2-page business plan (the Vision Traction Organizer™).
Let me know if you want some help getting every one of your leaders and employees crystal clear and on the same page about how to help you bring in more customers!
Greg had a big people problem – well, person problem. He had built his engineering firm from 3 people to 35 with the help of a good friend’s son. Justin was hired to sell and market – and boy did he! A typical millennial, he was excited to work events where he found customers and great connections. Greg was the closer. Back at the office Justin pivoted to automate the delivery of customer-ready documents. When a different kind of project came through the door, he found an app to manage work flow so his engineers could stay focused on design and specs, then, back out the door again to beat the bushes for more business. Greg and Justin were twin whirlwinds in almost perfect sync.
Then the business grew. Great, right?
If you’ve been there, you know what happened next. Greg needed Justin to focus on what he was hired for – a marketing plan, a sales plan. Justin agreed, but thought Greg’s approach was a little old-fashioned. They hired other people to manage operations and projects. Justin continued to attend events and be great at networking. No plan surfaced. Greg’s frustration met Justin’s “different ideas” about how to plan, but it was hard for them to tell exactly where the breakdown was. The friendship began to deteriorate. Employees got conflicting direction.
Enter the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS). As the leadership team used the Accountability Chart™ to clarify roles they would need to grow to the next level, Justin realized he didn’t want to let go of operations… or sales… or being Greg’s go-to for everything.
Greg: “We had a conversation that had been brewing for a year. It cleared the air. The next step was painful for all of us.”
Justin: “Lynda helped us gain the clarity we needed to go our separate ways. I’m grateful that it came to light in a way that kept our relationship whole.”
And now? Someone who loves to market and manage sales has taken over that seat. The team feels more productive and the company is 2 months ahead of its sales targets. Justin continued in a non-leadership role, finishing a couple of projects he was working on while the whole team activated their networks to help him find another company in more of a start-up mode. Justin is thinking that he can make a good living helping companies during those critical first five years – “not everyone thrives with that kind of crazy, but I do!”, he says.
Use the discipline of an accountability chart to define the seats you need for you to get what you want out of your firm in the next year. To learn how, call or write me. I’ll give you 90 minutes of my time so you can see how EOS can help you get the right people in the right seats to attain your vision!
When Craig started his engineering firm, it was just him and Angie. Three years later, there were thirty people working for him. Craig describes himself as “an entrepreneur with an engineering degree” – it is his vision and salesmanship that has sparked the firm’s growth. With that growth has come the need to make decisions based on more data than what he can find in his hip pocket. He needed a clear view of the how money affected the path of his growth.
“I was used to making decisions about hiring and equipment purchases and marketing based on my ‘feel’ for how our cash was flowing. I’m used to functioning that way, but it did make me anxious, even though I was always pretty good at guessing right.
Then I started using a budget and cash flow projection tool. It was hard at first, and I really wanted to hand it off to someone else – anyone else! It’s a little embarrassing that it took me two years to really get the hang of it. I’m so glad my controller was patient!
The best thing is the freedom I feel!
This year, I did the projections and brought them to our annual planning meeting. We were able to use them to test our ideas against financial reality and do ‘what-ifs’ about market changes and hiring. Our controller feels like she has guidance and support and isn’t always having to be the bad guy when we say we need something. I feel in control of the growth, and, although I’m submitting to a discipline that I used to hate, well, did I mention the freedom from worry?”
Get with your controller or bookkeeper to help you fill in the numbers, then make a copy and use it to play what if about your growth plans. Many a company has strangled over cash flow even when highly profitable. Don’t let that happen to you!
Ever looked at your profitable income statement and wondered why there isn’t that much money in your bank account? You’re not alone – and many a profitable business has struggled to survive because they couldn’t manage cash well.
One step is to have a budget and cash flow projection tool.
If your strength is not the reconciliation of balance sheets and P&Ls to bank statements, and sometimes it feels like your accountant and controller are speaking a foreign language, it can feel as if one of your most important assets is hovering just out of your control.
Many of my clients have found this simple (not easy!) spreadsheet to be a way to get their arms around the details of their cash flow. The process of understanding it gives them sometimes shocking insights into how their business works and how the money is managed.
For Robert, a financial manager with excellent financial skills, it was a revelation.
“Maybe it took someone who’s not a professional numbers person to get simple enough to help us get the big picture – but this is incredible. For the first time (it’s embarrassing to admit) I have a long term view of how the cash in my business flows.”
Now he’s expanding through acquisition and hiring with great confidence because he has a tool that pulls together all the intricacies of expanding income, payroll costs, equipment purchases and bonuses.
As an EOS® Implementer it’s my job to help my client’s identify the holes in their buckets and help them fill it. My cash flow projection tool came out of my frustration for clients who couldn’t get the information they needed to figure out the impact of their decisions on their cash. It has had such an impact on every client I’ve given it to that I wanted to share.
Here’s a picture of it:
A pretty standard P&L budget. The magic is in the cash adjustments at the bottom, and the formulas. This allows leaders to look out a year, and to play “what if” with market, hiring and purchase decisions.
If you want the spreadsheet with the formulas and simple instructions for using it, click here.
Helping good business people get control of their business is my passion. That’s how my clients can live the lives they dreamed of when they took the risk of entrepreneurship!
P.S. I’m a big fan of a folk singer named Odetta. Here’s the video of her singing at Carnegie Hall with Harry Belafonte. The song? “There’s a Hole in the Bucket!”
It made me laugh – haven’t we all had conversations like this in our business life? No time to watch the video, read the lyrics. You’ll get the idea. But seriously, who can pass up such great singers having such fun?
Take care of your money – isn’t that more motivating than “financial management”?
You’re busy. There’s a client issue to solve. You’ve got to follow-up with that potential client you met yesterday. Your employees, even your leaders, are clamoring for attention. There’s money in the bank. Your accountant is good. Income statements and spread sheets are time consuming and require focused attention – maybe tomorrow evening you’ll have some time, or maybe next week.
It doesn’t always feel productive to work on the financial minutae.
And it’s complicated.
Here’s my advice: If you haven’t done so already, figure out:
Where is my profit is coming from? (by client, by product, by service type)
How do my cash flow and that bottom line on my income statement relate?
How do my budget and cash flow projections for the year compare to reality each month?
Do those 3 things. Get as simple as you can!
It’s not easy, and can take a year or two to really get in shape. Be patient.
Keep asking yourself, your team, your accountant, how you can most simply answer those two questions. Get it on your scorecard.
Over time, you’ll gain perspective on one of the two most important things your business stands on (the other one is people).
I know, from my own businesses and from helping my clients through this process, that when you can answer these 3 questions– annually, quarterly, monthly, even weekly:
You will build your “ability to predict” muscle as a business
Profitability will increase
Your team can make spending decisions wisely
Peace of mind will free leadership mind
A sense of control will return
That’s a lot of return on your investment of attention, time and energy. And the best thing is that once you’ve got the system in place, your money worries become much less of a distraction.