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Archive for November, 2013

Are You Managing Your Risks…& Your Expenses?

November 21st, 2013 Comments off

I often discuss the need to have strong partners for all areas of your business. While those partners may not always necessarily be the most economical, there’s the comfort that the services or product they deliver will provide the quality and protection you need so you can stay focused on the business. In the case of our company, as we have continued to expand the profile of client we are dealing with, we have had to increase our corporate insurance levels in order to meet certain vendor requirements.

Although we had previously reached coverage levels that would be sufficient for any of our clients, we were also faced with an environment of increasing risk premiums. In fact, in the October-13 edition of CFO, they cited that “the average expense that corporations incurred for risk management jumped 5% last year”.  It was pretty satisfying to proceed with our most current renewal and see a double digit decrease in our premiums while receiving more robust coverage levels. Nor did we achieve the decrease by going with lower quality insurers either as we continue to engage with A-level insurers highly recognized in the market.

It’s examples like this that become a nice testament to the quality of a network and the results they are able to deliver. Do you have the same quality and commitment within your own network? If not, it might be worth a bit of homework to harvest some of those hidden savings.

Thanks for reading.

Jeffrey Ishmael

Do You Have a Compass For Your Journey…?

November 13th, 2013 Comments off

I’ve written before about the criticality of having  not only the right systems in place, but having them planned and configured in a manner that will yield the highest quality information that you can use to make your daily decisions. Although I have always worked in relatively lean environments and have always had to have a strong level of self-sufficiency, I’ve come to appreciate the quality of good information even more working in a start-up environment and having to ensure that every resource deployed ($$$) is being done so in the most productive manner.

For our company, our biggest asset, or conversely, our biggest liability, is the people that have come to work for us. We are still a small enough company that every hire must not only have the appropriate experience and skills, but also be able to integrate in with the rest of the team. Even then, the need to hire must be quantified as much as possible and have the appropriate data and long-term plan to support each new position. While this might seem a pretty simple and somewhat rhetorical point of view, its application is a bit harder in a start-up environment. While there has always been the specific business plan in place, many of the early hires were done so at a “gut” level with the belief that they would support the mission and make the necessary contributions.

As the company has moved from living room start-up to growing revenues, it’s been extremely satisfying to be able to have the data that honestly supports the hiring of new positions. Data that is the product of systems that were planned, implemented, and have evolved with the growth of the company. Data that looks at everything from the opportunity pipeline that Sales is working on, to projects currently being scheduled for delivery, the manner in which our consultants are spending their time, to the necessary time our consultants support the Sales team.

We can now look at the time that our folks are spending on both internal and external projects and make informed decisions on when to hire and what specific skills need to be hired in order to support the current team and developing opportunities. It’s certainly a win for the entire team when you can make a decision that is based on data and not based on gut or hope that an expected event will transpire. Although the timing may not always be ideal and the existing team might be taxed a bit longer, you’re ensuring that when the resources are finally deployed and you bring in a new employee that they will be there for the long haul and become part of the “family”.  After all, working in a start-up is no cakewalk and it’s the long days, accomplishments, and team camaraderie that ultimately deliver the success that everyone shares in.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael