Business Infrastructure - Curing Back Office Blues
By Alicia Butler Pierre
Business Infrastructure - Curing Back Office BluesFeb 10, 2019
039: Using Processes for Structure & Consistent Results
In this first episode of Season 4, Paul Nicholaides shares an example of how he used processes to help a fast growing company scale without compromising their culture. He specifically explains how he helped shape his client’s business infrastructure based on their value chain and processes. Processes are a valuable component of business infrastructure because as Paul says, “Without it, there is chaos and people will produce different results.” He also debunks the popular belief that processes are only for large enterprises and stresses that, to be effective, processes must be purposeful, relevant and continuously improved. Discover the important lesson Paul says he learned from this experience as well as the two fundamental things he says are needed to sustain processes.
038: Building Business Infrastructure for Scale
Alicia is the founder of Equilibria, Inc. – the world’s largest repository on business infrastructure for small businesses. And it happened quite by accident. In this episode she candidly shares the story of how this came to be by weaving together the messaging of each expert featured in Season 3 while acknowledging the mistakes she’s made along the way. In doing so, Alicia candidly describes how she created a methodology for business infrastructure and how you can implement it to position your company for growth that is manageable, sustainable and profitable. Also included are highlights from a conversation with fellow business infrastructure expert, Paul Nicholaides who confirms the benefits of business infrastructure. Together, they are doing their part to eliminate the knowledge gap prevalent with this unseen, yet vital business area.
037: Leveraging Culture to Drive Business Transformation
Just because the word “cult” is a part of “culture,” it does not mean that your company has to function like one in order to attain sustainable success. As small businesses grow larger, the transformation into becoming more corporate can be jolting and founders and employees alike may fear losing the very essence of what makes a business so special. In this episode, Lakeisha Poole, a workplace futurist and expert in company culture, explains how a culture rooted in open communication and fairness can actually drive transformation in a positive direction. Culture does not have to be cult-ish, nor does it have to be toxic or adversarial to get things done. Listen as Lakeisha shares her insights as an employment lawyer in defining the: 1) “untouchables” in an organization, 2) the 3 main issues that lead to workplace breakdown, and 3) how to make ethics and inclusion-focused leadership practical and tactical.
036: Executing Strategy with Project Management
Visionaries, whether executives or entrepreneurs, are great at developing and articulating strategy but may find difficulty in execution. This is where Kim Farmer comes in. As a certified project management professional with 30+ years in corporate business experience, she knows how to get stuff done! In this episode, Kim graciously gives us an excellent primer on project management to help you take specific actions to achieve your company’s growth strategy. No fluff, no B.S., ...this is where the rubber meets the road and this episode is one of the most important to-date because it’s all about action! Learn the 5 major questions to answer prior to beginning any project as well as the triple constraints you'll have to balance throughout a project. You’ll also learn how to identify, assemble and coordinate the people, processes and tools you’ll need to ensure your project’s success as Kim explains the Waterfall and Agile approaches to project management. Be sure to check out the show notes at BusinessInfrastructure.TV to access the resources you’ll need to plan and organize your next project.
035: Positioning Front Line Leadership for Success
As your small business grows, it will eventually need a layer of middle management. These front line leaders are the change agents who ensure the execution of your company’s growth strategy. But they cannot live their proverbial best life unless you, as the top leader, help them realize their best work. In this episode, leadership consulting expert Victoria Rodgers stresses the importance of putting “people before business.” Discover the mindset shift required of both entrepreneurs-turned-executives and individual contributors-turned-supervisors-managing-others to cultivate operational excellence. Victoria even makes the case for why business infrastructure is key to ensuring the right people are in the right roles and why even the best business processes aren’t always enough to keep good people around. This episode is jammed packed with information so you’ll definitely want to download it for ongoing reference!
034: Developing a Business Strategy for Sustainable Growth
Strategy represents the vision, purpose and long-term position of a company, but it does you no good to develop one unless you “plan your work and work your plan.” So says strategy expert Mark Pegues. In this episode, Mark compares the relationship between strategy and execution to a camera – zoom in to execute and zoom out to strategically plan. However, he warns, like business processes, a strategic plan is not meant to be shelved once developed but must be consistently leveraged to accomplish your company’s mission. Learn Mark’s 12-point guide to developing and defining your business strategy and why you should never change it unless your business’ fundamental values change.
033: Pricing for Profit
“Kill Bill.” Kill the hourly bill to be exact. This summarizes the sentiment of investment banker turned CFO-for-Hire and pricing consultant, John Ray. John reminds us that our clients care most about results. Therefore, charging the right price means having a value conversation with your clients to understand how to price. In this episode, John unpacks the psychological factors involved in pricing, validates why pricing is the most important factor in profitability, and explains why you should stop billing your clients by the hour. Listen as he also outlines the process for figuring out your client’s desires and charging a price that aligns with the premium experience you create for them.
032: Running Your Business By the Numbers
“Don’t be flashy” when operating your business warns seasoned commercial lender, Charles H. Green. Armed with 38 years of experience in funding small businesses, Charles knows plenty about running a business by the numbers and not by hunches. In this episode, he stresses the importance of being able to interpret your financial statements to understand your company’s financial story so that you know where to focus on improving. Discover what the 3 big categories of financial health metrics are, how it’s possible to be profitable but not have any equity or cash flow, and why an Excel spreadsheet can be more useful than bookkeeping software. As a former president and CEO of a bank and the author of several bestselling books on small business finance, you definitely don’t want to miss the sage advice Charles offers!
031: Brainstorming Your Million Dollar Idea
Kymone Hinds is in the business of helping people get stuff done! As an implementation strategist, he prides himself on bringing ideas to life. Every solution to a problem and every business starts with an idea, so its important to jot them all down no matter how far-fetched they may seem. In this episode, Kymone explains his 4-stage ideation process for vetting and focusing on which ideas will yield the best results. Find out how ideas are like Now & Later candies and why you should start small with a big vision when executing. You definitely don't want to miss this episode - you could be sitting on your million-dollar idea.
030: Connecting Your Software for Maximum Productivity
There’s nothing more frustrating than to invest in a newer software technology only to discover that it does not “play nicely” with your existing software. In this episode, software and web developer Garret Massey talks about the benefits of middleware as a cost-savings solution to facilitate communication between software. Listen as he reveals a 4-step process to guide you through mapping how information should flow in your service or product delivery. This will empower you in making wiser decisions before you invest in that next shiny new piece of technology you’re considering. Hint: evaluate before you automate!
029: Minimizing Risk with Decision Science
Making decisions is risky business. As a small business owner, you might not have the deep pockets of a larger enterprise, so making the right decision the first time around can be critical. Decision science gives you the ability to compare multiple ways of solving a problem with the opportunity to add value while minimizing risk and bias. This is what Rob Brown specializes in. In this episode, Rob shares a four-step process to follow that will help you make decisions based on logic and not emotion. Through specific examples, he describes how to use this four-step process to yield the best outcome. Tune in to learn the difference between a decision and an outcome and why, as Rob says, “risk is always in season.”
028: Managing Virtual Teams in a Freelance Economy
According to global freelance matchmaker, Upwork, 57.3 million people freelanced in 2017. In 10 years, they predict that the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers. As a small business owner, this means you will likely have more freelancers rather than employees performing work for you. Managing these dispersed, virtual teams can be challenging. This is where Sherry Heyl comes in. In this episode, Sherry shares how she was inspired to start Amplified Concepts as a share economy solution for freelancers. By pooling freelancers, she’s able to provide them back-office support resulting in reduced overhead for them and reduced project costs for you. She also shares best practices for managing virtual teams of freelancers so important deadlines are met without sacrificing quality. You’ll definitely want to download this episode!
027: I.P. Protection for Your Business Processes
Can you keep a secret? Your answer to this question can determine your ability to capitalize on your company's intellectual property (I.P.). In this episode, seasoned patent attorney Steve Wigmore breaks down the different types of I.P. using examples of well-known brands. There is both monetary and intrinsic value in your ideas and Steve offers guidance on how to choose among trademarks, trade secrets, patents and copyrights to protect your ideas. In fact, your I.P. is part of your small business' asset portfolio. Even intangible assets, like business processes, can be protected, especially if tied to technology. If you own a service-based business, you'll definitely want to hear what Steve has to say!
026: Finding Your Niche to Build an Empire
Do you have the audacity to take your business to the next level? Listen as staffing and recruiting expert, Dee Williams describes how to identify your niche and expand it into an empire. With a combination of laser-like focus, determination, and investment in continuous education, Dee identified a niche within the staffing industry and her aptly named company, Identifize Consulting, now serves as the world’s premier advisory firm for starting and scaling staffing and recruitment businesses. Her company’s portfolio spans across several divisions and leverages cutting edge media and software technology to deliver products and services. Dee kicks off Season 3 sharing how she accomplished this and more through a solid business infrastructure.
025: Promises vs. Goals: Season 2 Reflections
024: Driving Faster with Business Infrastructure
023: Attracting Top Talent to Your Small Business
022: Foundation & Maintenance – Business Lessons from Cuba
021: Improving Quality in Healthcare Operations
020: Striking the Perfect Balance Between Marketing and Operations
019: Who Said Operations Isn’t Sexy?
018: How AI Technology Can Scale Your Small Business
017: How Traveling Can Lead to Self-Discovery & Business Evolution
016: Demonstrate, Duplicate & Delegate: Nia Imani’s Formula for Success
015: How I Use Business Infrastructure in My Restaurant
014: Dispelling 4 Common Entrepreneur Myths about Business Growth
013: The Process of Networking
012: How to Find the Right Person for Your Process Improvement Initiative
011: The Benefits of Backpacking on Your Small Business
010: Cybersecurity & Small Business: What You Need to Know
009: Business Coaching vs. Consulting – 9 Tips for Choosing the Right Type of Guidance
008: The Lean Methodology: What It Is & How to Apply It to Your Small Business
007: Staffing Up While You Scale Up: Tips for Getting the Help You Need When You Need It
006: How Can I Implement Business Infrastructure in My Company?
005: Where is Business Infrastructure Needed in Small Businesses?
Such was the case when a young inventor named Frank Sprague was inspired to create the first self-loading electrical motor designed for streetcars. Not only did his invention help clear congestion on the streets of Boston, but it provided a cleaner alternative to the coal-powered engines used at that time. Discover the similarities of how this story about building Boston’s early transportation infrastructure applies to the business infrastructure you can implement in your company.
004: When is Business Infrastructure Needed?
Find out the impact the Oprah Effect can have on how you manage and operate your business and why it’s imperative that you do your due diligence before partnering with others and accepting customer work or orders you may not have the capacity to deliver.
003: Who Exactly Is Business Infrastructure For?
Through a compilation of sage advice and cautionary tales from other interviews of Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems, you’ll discover not only who business infrastructure is for but why as a business owner you must use a “systems approach” to solving your business’ problems.
001: What is Business Infrastructure and Who Are You to Tell Me About It?
That’s what this show is all about–the often overlooked and rarely talked about subject of the nitty gritty details of your business’ proverbial back office.
In this first episode, Alicia Butler Pierre explains exactly what business infrastructure is. She also shares her journey from Chemical Engineer to advocate of operational excellence in small businesses and how it led her to begin spreading the message of
002: My Business is Small...Why Does It Need Business Infrastructure?
Learn two real-life examples of how the original founders of now popular business software products not only recognized the importance of business infrastructure in scaling their businesses, but actually made strategic moves to ensure it happened. Both are to be admired for this recognition and decisive action.
But one founder enjoyed success unparalleled and the other, well, you can be the judge of that.