Walking the Fence

Walking the Fence

When I was working for myself and leading a small company things were much easier.  The 60 hour work-weeks, lack of vacation time, and total consumption in the work and building of the company were hard, but in a small company in a leadership position you never had to worry about what you said or did because your job was to drive hard and fast, make hard decisions, and move forward.In general the people who join small companies are similar minded - they get that driving hard means sometimes working with ambiguous information, making hard decisions quickly, and being up front with communication.  Feedback from fellow employees and the market wasn't always easy to hear, but it was at least direct and actionable.When you move into many bigger organizations you find something new pops up that you need to manage that has nothing to do with profit and loss, market share, or growing your business, but has everything to do...
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Appropriate Management Controls for Small Business

Appropriate Management Controls for Small Business

For those that read this blog regularly or who have spoken with me at one of the various networking events that I regularly participate in you know that my passion is in creating growth through value innovation, but I have had a couple of conversations in the past week with colleagues in other businesses about management controls so I thought I'd share my thoughts on specifically management controls and small business.One of my pet peeves (and one of the main reasons I haven't spent a lot of time in larger more bureaucratic organizations) is process for the sake of process, and I truly believe that management controls used poorly constitute exactly this problem.  One of the most innovation stifling innovations is the standard operating procedure, specifically if it implemented before there is a specific need for control or before an organization has grown to a size that would justify requiring that level of control.When speaking with one colleague he demonstrated for...
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Interesting Small Business Statistics

Interesting Small Business Statistics

While these statistics aren't particularly new (they come from a 2005 Industry Canada report) I came across them this week while working on a white paper and I think they bear some brief discussion here.In Canada, 94.6% of businesses by number are 'small' meaning that they have less than 50 employees.  The actual number startled me a bit when I read it so I felt I had to dig deeper.  Looking across the provinces and territories, the numbers are fairly uniform - all within one percent or so - something that really surprised me.  I would have expected to find higher percentages in the prairie provinces where there is a higher percentage of agriculture or in Ontario and Quebec, the hotbeds of economic activity.  The report really gets interesting when you look at employment and GDP however.  These same small businesses that make up almost 95% of the business environment employ only 40% of the population (26.7% in goods producing sectors and 73.3%...
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The Power of Connected Advisors

The Power of Connected Advisors

This week I have been lucky enough to meet a number of dynamic new people that I am happy to have added to my personal and professional network, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have met them, learn about their businesses and challenges, and hopefully help them in some way to achieve a greater level of success.But it also occurred to me that it is as a result of my being open to listen to their comments, accept their criticisms, and make my own commitments to them that I am finding such early success with the launch of Key Consulting.I am surprised every day as I go out and meet with business owners and leaders how many people work as a team of one, whether as an Entrepreneur or in a career position.  Unfortunately these people never achieve the level of success that they are dreaming of and they never achieve those 'big goals' that they seem to...
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