Strategy is Saying Yes to Lasting Margin Increases

For years I have said, “Strategy is systematically saying no.” But, while saying no is a discipline that establishes a habit of operational excellence, there is more that must be proactively pursued. You must say yes to something of greater value than your competitors. So, what is that strategy which is worthy of your focus? Read more about Strategy is Saying Yes to Lasting Margin Increases[…]

Coping Mechanisms for High Pressure Management

Pressure can result in higher or lower output. A healthy dose of pressure can result in flow state, increased focused, and clarity of decision making and action. Too much pressure and you are crushed by the weight and stress of the situation. What’s the difference? The output is determined by how the pressure is transformed Read more about Coping Mechanisms for High Pressure Management[…]

Succumbing to Customized Software in a SMB

There is a debate among small business owners regarding building your own custom software to run sales or operations versus buying or subscribing to existing tools. Well respected friends of mine argue that it’s wiser to simply buy the SaaS tool that is built for your industry or problem. They’re successful and the proof is Read more about Succumbing to Customized Software in a SMB[…]

When Revenue Outpaces Talent

Do you set annual goals for your business? Update them quarterly? What about seizing opportunity in the moment? Most owner-operators develop a cadence for goal setting. As an entrepreneur turned investor I operated under a continuous flow approach. If they goals needed to change, they changed. Unfortunately, this approach only works in very small teams Read more about When Revenue Outpaces Talent[…]

How to Sell Your Engineer-to-Order Service Business to an Employee

The professional service firm is the classic engineer-to-order service business. Consultants, legal, accounting and technical consultants are people-heavy. Mikel calls these companies, “smart people who can type.” Selling these companies is often quite difficult and rarely produces a large, single payday. The reason? Lack of repeatable processes. However, rather than belabor the problems with the Read more about How to Sell Your Engineer-to-Order Service Business to an Employee[…]

Distinguishing Make-to-Order versus Engineer-to-Order Service Businesses

Service businesses often begin by displacing the internal development or employment of a skill. For example, “I’ll hire you to shovel while I move on to this other thing.” As the sophistication of the skils move up the intellectual stack the singular skill is often replaced with judgement balancing across multiple skills. For example, “I’ll Read more about Distinguishing Make-to-Order versus Engineer-to-Order Service Businesses[…]

Run your Negative Service Company with purpose.

Mikel recently invited a business owner to lunch. In his email invite he used the phrase “negative service company” and the owner chuckled. He said he had never heard that phrase before. He runs a multi location restoration business. This sort of shocked me. Our flagship negative service company does autoglass repair & replacement. For Read more about Run your Negative Service Company with purpose.[…]

Summary of the Little Engine Ventures Annual General Meeting 2022

On Thursday, July 21, 2022 many of our 37 partners gathered in downtown Lafayette, Indiana for a report on the previous twelve months and our updates on the go-forward plans. We began with a video, as we have done for many years past. In this year’s video we showcased a single manager, sitting down in Read more about Summary of the Little Engine Ventures Annual General Meeting 2022[…]

Where is the opportunity stored?

Carrying opportunities is expensive. Capturing opportunities can be profitable. Owners and managers alike enjoy identifying and developing opportunities. Many have developed habits and allocations to how much time and expense to allocate to product development. This is usually associated with the pace of customer change or the profit margin of the idea. Developing opportunities is Read more about Where is the opportunity stored?[…]