Business Focus on Bean Soup

Business Focus – The Soup Lady

Business Focus Introduction In business, especially in small business, the importance of business focus can't be overstated. In small business the rule should be first things first and second thing never. Enter Susan Trivers, the Soup Lady. Last week I met Susan at an event where we shared respective business stories. Susan's business, The Trivers Consulting Group, is revenue focused consulting practice. As I asked her how she got started, Susan related an interesting story. The Soup Lady Many years ago, sometime between when dinosaurs roamed the earth and prior to the explosion of the world wide web, Susan purchased a carryout restaurant. In those days most carryouts were sandwich shops. Serving quick, low quality food. Susan's business, located in Alexandria specialized in more substantial, high quality meals for the family. One of their specialties were soups and everyday they would serve a cream-based, a bean-based, and a broth based soup. Susan was concerned because at the end of the day she would often have to dump a large amount of unused soup. She decided to fix that problem. So she decided that she would track and gage soup consumption, statistically and scientifically instead of the gut-feeling methodology used by most businesses. So she bit the bullet and...

Sausage Party Pricing

Pricing…. a Sausage Party

The human brain is a wonder of nature.  It is complicated, elegant, useful and seriously flawed. Evaluating pricing choices highlights one of the brain's biggest weaknesses. Let me give you an example...

Warren Buffet Better CEO Great CEOs

The #1 Tip For Being a Better CEO

What's the #1 tip for being a better CEO? One sign you're able to become a better CEO is that you're reading articles like this because you're curious and dedicated to being better. If you believe you're the best CEO you could be you might consider my #2 tip for being what you can't be...

Fire Bad Customers

Fire Bad Customers

Fire Bad Customers? Are you crazy? It's hard enough to get customers, why the hell would you fire them? We all know this, not all customers are created equal so fire your bad ones. I recently worked with two CEO's who were complaining about their customers. In one instance the CEO was asked to submit a proposal to an existing customer and who was applying pricing pressure. When I asked him why this customer was so important to him, he said they represented about 40 percent of his company's gross revenue. Upon further digging, I found out that the 40% revenue customer only produced 2% of his profit. It became clear, that: 1) winning this barely profitable customer at a discount might be losing and, 2) that there needed to be a methodology to evaluate the value of a customer. I'm a student of the human mind and how we often we make bad decisions. I know that if we go with our gut, we are just as likely to be wrong as we are to be right.  Study's show that even the best statisticians make poor statistical judgments when they're pulling answers out of their butts. If CEOs formalize an evaluation process, if they're intentional about...

Decision Making 8 Ball

Decision Making

Here's scary information about decision making. We make logical decisions illogically. In decision making, we don't weight either side of an argument equally. There is some hidden force that puts its finger on the scale and tips it in one direction. Decision makers will run from risk, faster and harder than they will run towards gain. Proof? Don't you believe me? You think you're a logical decision maker? I say you're risk averse? According to Michael Lewis's new book, lung cancer patients confronted with the choice of radiation therapy or surgery with a 90% survival rate, the overwhelming choice is surgery.  Yet just by framing the question differently, when presented with surgery with a 10% mortality rate, patients overwhelming choose radiation therapy. Do you understand that 90% survival is the same as 10% mortality...

Planning Blueprint

Business Planning

Planning for life. Planning for Business It either happens or we can direct the happening. That's a plan. You know what a plan is right? Planning involves three key elements. A plan is a noun, a verb and a date. That's it. That's all there is to planning: Noun - as in "I" will  Verb - as in "retire" by Date - as in "December 1" I will retire by December 1. That's the what of a plan. Everything else is just tactical details. The how of the plan. Many people go through business and life without planning. When you don't have a plan...