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CEO Advisor® Newsletter
August 2018
The Importance of a Business Strategy
A sound business strategy is key to success and growth. Unless you have a carefully crafted business strategy, you are essentially flying blind.

In other words, while a given plan may change based on what happens with your business, taking the time to thoroughly examine where your business is now and where it is headed gives you the information to make course changes intelligently with a clear business strategy.

Why Work on Your Business and Sales Strategy?

The answer to this question is to establish focus and goals. Strategy provides guidance for decision-making. Your strategy leverages experience and skills of employees, positioning of marketing, the priority of initiatives, a clear path to an effective sales team, less wasted time and money, increased sales and profits, and a greatly enhanced value of your business.

Strategy enables you to focus on your highest priorities and largest opportunities to achieve success, and is the way in which a company meets its on-going challenges and opportunities.

In developing strategy, leaders make conscious and informed choices about who they are and what they stand for:

  • What core competencies must we have to fuel our growth?
  • What are our core values and beliefs? 
  • What target markets will we specialize in and serve?
  • What products and services will we offer? 
  • What competitive advantages will cause us to succeed? 
  • How will we market our products and services?
  • How will we sell our products and services?
  • What infrastructure and resources do we need to succeed? 
  • What financial forecast will we achieve?
  • How will we properly fund the business?
  • What is our clear exit strategy?

The plan implementation is critical.  Without the proper strategy and execution your business may be at risk. Research in the last several years has pinpointed many reasons why businesses fail, including the following:
Poorly Created or Understood Strategy - Most companies have a strategy, but according to one study, fewer than 5% of their employees know what the strategy is.

Weak Strategy - Execution Studies show that up to 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution by the management team.

Inability to Adapt to Change - Once a plan is in place, the challenges of everything changing around it may erode those plans unless the company can adapt and stay focused.

Lack of a Disciplined Approach - Discipline is needed in all size companies, and discipline coupled with follow through and execution is critical.

People are Not Engaged - An engaged worker is one who is personally committed to the goals of the company. Unfortunately, 90% of the time passes as compliance or business as usual. If you cannot get your staff engaged, no improvement will occur or last.

A Gap Between Planning and Execution - Many things can get in the way including substituting talk for action, employee mistrust of management, using the company's history instead of sound judgment.

In the end, a solid business and sales strategy and effective implementation plan may not solve all of your problems but those companies that do plan and strategize enjoy a much stronger track record, greater profits, substantially higher valuations and achieve their exit strategy. Plan well, beware of the pitfalls in implementation and you can enjoy your best year yet in 2018.

CEO Advisor, Inc. has helped many CEOs and business owners of small and mid-sized companies achieve results and success through planning and effectively implementing their strategy. We address your specific needs with hands-on action, expertise and seasoned advice. Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, President of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 629-2520, by email at or visit us at for more information.

Marketing Strategy - Make it a Home Run

When it comes to the marketing strategy, too many CEOs and business owners throw up their hands and resign themselves to guess work. "In today's business climate, we won't even propose a marketing strategy to our clients unless we can easily measure and track its success," states Mark Hartsell, President of CEO Advisor, Inc.

Here are seven ways to benchmark your marketing strategy and plan without breaking the bank or overburdening your staff:

  • Interview and Survey Customers. Customer input and opinion is invaluale when developing your markting strategy and plan. Entice customers to open up to you about their likes/dislikes and needs. Resesarch demographics and psychographics and develop personas for each customer type. A well designed and tallied survey will reap big rewards by bringing customers closer to you, by increasing loyalty and enabling you to upsell and cross-sell products and services at the approriate time.
  • Competitive Analysis. Conduct a complete competitive analysis to ensure you thoroughly understand what your market forces are and are not. This will also help yu to fine tune your product and pricing.
  • Set Clear Goals and Define Success. Formulating a marketing strategy that articulates a set of outcomes has to be the starting point. Track results and ROI for every marketing program and cost incurred. Having goals and tracking results will enable you to increase focus on marketing programs that generate desired results and pull back or discontinue programs that do not.
  • Create a Focused Marketing Plan and Budget. A critical part of your Business Plan and Forecast is a well thought out Marketing Plan and Budget. Do not initiate spending your marketing dollars if a marketing strategy and plan is not in place to track the results and Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Stay Disciplined, Focused and Target Your Market. Before implementing any marketing strategy, it is paramount to clearly understand who you are targeting. Defining target markets by industry, geographic region, etc. is critical for smaller and mid-size companies given limited marketing budgets. Without this focus and knowledge, even the most creative and powerful marketing strategy will miss your target and lack the impact, lead generation and ROI.
  • Monitor Customer Communication Throughout the Process. At any given time throughout the sales process, your customers' needs or attitude towards your product or service may change. You need to constantly be in-tune with your customers' expectations and do whatever you can to meet them. Implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to track and collaborate on all sales activity and customers' needs.
  • Execute and Keep Testing. Don't simply put a campaign into place and move on. Instead, keep measuring results. Try low-cost tests and then put resources behind what works and eliminate the low ROI programs. Besides the details you gain from tracking and reporting, the real test of marketing is very straightforward. If your marketing is not increasing sales and customer satisfaction, change your approach.

To learn how to more effectively reach your target market, call Mark Hartsell, President of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 629-2520 for a no cost initial consultation.


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Whether it is growing a business to the next level, turning a distressed company around or preparing a company for an exit, Mark's firm, CEO Advisor, Inc, provides a broad range of services and Mark is there for the CEO every step of the way."



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Words of Wisdom

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogon "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
Calvin Coolidge

Prime Minister of the U.K.