5 Cash Strategies; Facebook’s #2; Why Wesabe Lost; Africa Update
October 7, 2010
Pecha Kucha; Tom Adams Rosetta Stone; 3 First Impressions
October 22, 2010

Steve Jobs 7 Secrets; The Mesh; Getting Middle Management More Involved

  "…keeping you great" 


There are two ways to sleep well at night – be ignorant or be prepared



– Simon Black

Increased Profit 7-Fold — I like the counter-intuitive comments. When I asked for specific ideas for increasing cash, Scott Nash, CEO of MOM's Organic Market, exclaimed "I hear frequently that 'cash is king'. My mantra is 'profits are king'…" When Scott thought his $1.4 million line of credit was going to be pulled, since he hadn't heard back from his banker on a requested increase, he hunkered down with his team and got serious about improving profit. After lots of hard work, his team managed to increase profit from 1% to 7% (which is about 2.5 times industry average) and pay down his line to $500k (remember, profit eventually turns into cash). This got the banks attention and he ended up getting his line increased to $2.5 million. Scott's story plus additional ideas to improve cash are in my latest Fortune column

7 Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs — my apologies if I'm behind the curve on this one. Carmine Gallo, who wrote the book on The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, has a new book out this month entitled The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Here are the seven:



Do what you love



Put a dent in the universe – have a big vision



Kick-start your brain – use creativity and have lots of different experiences



Sell dreams not products – understand what people want to accomplish



Say no to 1000 things



Create insanely great experiences



Master the message

Thanks to Rich Bendis, founder of Innovation America, for bringing this to my attention. Rich was just named the #4 innovation blogger (out of 40) and has my favorite daily innovation blog — he points to a dozen key articles every day.

The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing — this is my latest favorite book which outlines how the internet is driving radical new business models for companies with products. In essence, the latest location-based and smart phone apps allow us to access (expensive) products without having to own them. Think about the fact that, on average, you only drive your car one hour per day. What about those expensive tools you have sitting in your garage or handbags sitting in the closet. Written by serial entrepreneur Lisa Gansky, she co-founded Ofoto (sold to Kodak) and GNN (sold to AOL), Gansky is the first to name this important new trend in business.

Wayne Huizenga's Key to Success — the only entrepreneur on the planet to create three separate billion dollar-plus public companies from scratch, Gansky points out that Huizenga used the same principle of purchasing a product and then renting it multiple times (think waste bins and DVDs). Conrad Hilton did the same when he created the hotel. So this idea isn't new. However, with the latest internet technologies, it's a lot easier to facilitate the sharing and renting of products. Her book is a very quick read, well-written, and includes an index of hundreds of firms sharing cars (Zipcar), wine-making services (Crushpad), and tools (North Portland Tool Library).

Middle Management Meeting — a few weeks back I noted that India-based Ashiana Housing (Rockefeller Habits practitioners) was one of Asia's 200 Best Under a Billion firms — so I wanted to understand how they were able to double revenue this past year. In essence, the top three leaders were able to free themselves up from day-to-day operations by turning over the business more to their middle managers. The key to this transformation was their inclusion of middle management in a monthly huddle — a total of 65 people. In this meeting they work collectively on solving major challenges and focus on significant improvements to the business. Examples include creating better store and purchasing systems, reducing inventory, creating a WOW factor on-site, and getting payments to suppliers on time.

Passing Down Your DNA — the overall focus of the broader monthly management meeting is getting the DNA of the senior team passed down to the middle managers so they can run the business. Notes Ankur Gupta "the three of us are feeling removed a lot more from the day to day and focusing on growth. I think the main thing in the monthly huddle is that the whole company feels that we are a team, the values of the company are being dissipated (down), and they (middle management) can see the larger target."

Preparation vs. Ignorance — this weekend I'm headed back to the U.S. to attend our  Fortune Growth Summit. I look forward to seeing all of you that have chosen to invest 48 hours in further preparing yourself to out-think and out-learn the competition — join us if you can.

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.