Angel Knowledge Series

  • • Andrea Alms, Jefferson Corner Group.
  • • Carolyn Cassin, BELLE Capital.
  • • Jerry Frantz, JumpStart.
  • • Jim Diller, VentureTech Alliance.
  • • Justin McLain, Duart Mull.
  • • Larry Duckworth, EGL Holdings.
  • • Robert Leshner, SafeShepherd.
  • • Moderator: Michael Price.


    A. The Cost of Lifestyle Company Stagnation.
    1. Massive loss in present day value based on future year's revenue/profits.
    2. Far harder to exit even at lower valuations (less interest and fewer buyers).
    3. Top talent won't come or stay in a stagnant company (self-perpetuating).

    B. Root Causes of Stagnation.
    1. Leadership: Satisfied with status quo or unable to change (no will or no plan).
    2. Positioning: Market (size, growth, positioning issues).
    3. People: Not the right talent driving marketing or sales (poor execution).
    4. Product: fit, quality, competitiveness, value or service.
    5. Accelerating competitors.
    6. Complacent Board: No power, awareness, expectations or will.

    C. Solving Leadership Problems.
    1. Ask CEO for an audit of the 4 areas above (and action steps/dates to solve).
    2. Change top leaders' comp plans to be mostly profitable growth based.
    3. Promote top leader to Chairman, Emeritus, or key initiative leader to make room for strong driver.
    4. Coach/train/cajole leaders to rise to the occasion with vision and execution.
    5. Get paid out as an investor where you or the board cannot get Leadership on track.

    D. Solving Positioning Problems.
    1. Have they articulated a defensible position? Do enough prospects find it compelling? How was it validated?
    (If any no, suggest they use Jeffrey Moore's Positioning Statement for structure then validate: "For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit that is, compelling reason to buy). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation)."
    2. Pricing: What are your most successful 2 competitors doing? (adopt their pricing until certain something else works better).
    3. Product Mass: Need enough related products/svcs to upsell & cross-sell existing customers (partner if needed til created).
    4. Market size/growth issues: Where do your products, svcs or info from them allow advantaged entry into adjacent markets or customers?
    5. Understanding and reconfiguring for non-obvious decision drivers.

    E. Solving Sales/Mktg People Problems.
    1. Phase out and replace bottom third performers in 90 days (repeat at least yearly).
    2. Profile key attributes of those who succeeded and hire to that.
    3. Assess and change any weak tools (i.e lead process, collateral, follow-up process, CRM driven contact, etc).
    4. Organize for efficiency: Inside/Outside, Hunters/Farmers, Centralized/Virtual, General/Niche focuses, Large/Small accts.
    5. Revise comp plans to be heavier on profitable growth.

    F. Solving Product Problems.
    1. Satisfaction rates high, average or low and how measured? (and if possible compare to the 2 most successful competitors).
    2. How are new features prioritized and is the prioritization process valid?
    3. Are material updates with key prioritized features rapid or warrant development staff changes?

    G. Other Issues.
    1. Key success factors for achieving high shareholder value and liquidity.
    2. Organic vs. Strategic growth; or both.
    3. Attracting additional growth capital to magnify.

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