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Are You and Your Business Healthy for Growth?

Are You and Your Business Healthy for Growth?
By Voss W. Graham
There is an interesting parallel between how people view their personal health and business owners view the health of their organization. Seeing this on a daily basis has led to some philosophical questions. Why do we all wait until it is too late to fix things?

First, people have a tendency to feel invincible during their younger years and seldom seek the wisdom of experienced health experts. Especially, when we are or were younger, we seem to totally rely upon the latest Internet fad or “friend’s” opinion. These “suggestions” are taken as the whole truth and nothing but the truth – without checking the real background of practical experience, experiences or wisdom the “referrer” possesses.

Second, business owners seems to have a similar affliction as they tend to rely upon their own ability to “figure things out” or ask someone they know at church, business club, or other such social event hoping they are right. Then as the rough times approach, one crisis after another crisis and this owner suddenly finds their business on the brink of failure.

Third, as time passes the poor decisions and choices can mount up, leading to serious health issues. People have a tendency to only begin serious work on their health after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease! The sad truth is if they had taken the advice of a qualified expert earlier, this would be a non-event

Business Owners are equally passive about seeking real insights to running their business the right way. Few take the time to learn what they could be doing or seek advice from successful and experienced advisors. This is the primary reason that 80% of new businesses fail in the first five years and only 8% of start-ups make their 10th anniversary!

So the real question here is “Why Wait until Your Health or Business is near Failure to Get Real Help?

Well, I can’t help much on the personal health side except to advise all of you to take care of health. Habits rule your behavior so you need to sit down and look closely at your daily habits. Are your daily habits helping you maintain a healthy body? Are you getting the exercise you need? Are you eating moderately with healthy choices? These are ALL THINGS YOU CONTROL, so take control of your life starting now.

On the business side, this is my sweet spot. I love helping business owners figure out the areas of their business that need your attention and focus. Being an Entrepreneur for over 35 years and working with large, medium and small organizations, I have seen a lot during this timeframe.

Entrepreneurs are built to be successful as long as they continuously learn and grow over time. As a business enterprise grows, you add more people to the business and complexity enters your world.

In the early stages – like the Start Up and Ramp Up stages – life is much easier due to a smaller number of people and you are the dominant leader of the organization. You create a Culture of like-minded individuals who are sharing in roles and responsibilities. Life is good and somewhat simple except for the apparent chaos you deal with on a regular basis.

However, as you grow pass 20 people on your staff an interesting thing happens – you hire managers to manage part of your team. Now you have a new agenda, learning to manage a manager rather than a direct report staff type. The rules of the game are changing and how you deal with this new environment will set the stage for your continued growth or slow demise.
Other factors can pop up during these transition periods as you grow. As you move between certain stages you have to let go of people, tasks, processes and particularly systems that are outdated and slowing the growth of the business. In other transitions, you and your team are clearly overrun by too many activities and opportunities causing burnout for some people and poor hiring strategies in others. These flood zones can bog down a business with activities rather than results.

Another area of concern is the fascination with having a “Strategic Plan” and many so called consultants will advise you to do a Strategic Plan – mainly for their revenue stream rather than your revenue stream. Now I realize this may sound crazy coming from an experienced business advisor. Yet, you really don’t need a strategic plan until you have over 90 people on your staff and have entered the Strategic Stage of Growth. Here you are now competing with the big competitors and you need to have a strong strategic plan to execute.

Now, before you get all excited and sound off about needing a strategy, yes, you need strategy in the form of a Strategic Marketing Plan. A Strategic Marketing plan is the mechanism for fast and targeted growth – the growth that fits what you do best rather than your competitors. In the big picture, Marketing wins more games of business than any other type of strategy. Being smart about your ideal customer profiles and what you offer to these customers is your primary job as the Business Leader.

This brings me to what does the Business Leader focus upon as your business grows - not only in revenue but also in the number of people. By the way, building a team and a true business enterprise is the number one method of your building personal wealth. Until you have a fully functioning Business Enterprise to sustain the long-term continuity of the business, you are only an individual who has little incentive to an exit strategy without continuing to “work for someone else” for several years.

But I regress, as the Business Leader there are three areas of focus – Profits, People & Process. Knowing which one is primary in a Growth Stage is critical for continued growth. Early on, Sales and Profits are always the primary area of focus with People and Processes alternating as the number of people are added. In later stages, Profits could actually be the third focus while Process and People alternate at the top. Is this Complex or Simple? Complexity comes when you have no guide; Simplicity comes with insights and knowing which one is important.

Unfortunately, I did not have these guides to follow during my tenure as an Entrepreneur so I had to do a lot of figuring things out using the old school of trial and error. Therefore, I made a number of poor decisions, which cost me both progress and profits. Yet, this is no longer the case for you. There are solutions and insights waiting for you today. Helpful guides used by the most successful organizations of the last couple of decades for you to take advantage of starting now.

Making a commitment to helping my fellow Entrepreneurs is both exciting and rewarding since entrepreneurs make things happen. The statistics show that up to 92% of the people employed in the USA are with Small Businesses. How exciting is this? Well, you make a difference in today’s economy and society. Our standard of living is dependent upon our Entrepreneurs being more successful today – and you can.

As a first step to learn about some of the items mentioned above along with another 7 or 8 Hidden Agents impacting your business success, you can download my Decision Matrix Guide and watch a short video tutorial on how to use it. So take a moment to click on the link and get your Decision Matrix now.

In summary, as a Business Leader or Entrepreneur, you first need to take care of yourself to improve your energy and decisions. Secondly, you need to do a “Checkup” on your business. We use a process called a Business X-Ray, which has you, and your executive team doing an examination of your business health. Using this process you learn about how well your internal processes are doing; what percentage or ratio of your team are actually building the business; identify areas in need of focus; and create a common language within your team for being action-oriented toward the successful growth of your business enterprise.

Your future success is purely predicated upon the current health of your organization. Take action today and ensure your long-term survival and more importantly creating a thriving future state for yourself and your team.

Posted: 5/11/2017 4:40:53 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: SmallBusiness

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.