Category Archives: Strategy

Get a business plan written – It is time

Continue strategic planning

Now is the time to start the business planning for next year and get a business plan written. Economists tell us we’re due for a correction in the market. In fact, we’re two years past the 8 years expected correction cycle!

Continue strategic planningSo, take the time now and plan your business future.

Just so you know, keeping a business plan in your head might work for awhile. However, keeping a plan in your head does not work long term, especially if you have staff and even worse if you want to grow.

Did you know…

  • 87% of all US businesses are under $5 million in revenue. *
  • 77% are under $500K in revenue. *
  • 32% are under $100K in revenue. *
  • 50% of all businesses are still in business after 5 years at about the same level after year 1 or 2.  **

*  US federal government statistics, 2017
** Bureau of Labor statistics, 1994-2015

Therefore, most companies float along in a very small way in their markets.

Owners spend their time fire fighting. They spend time doing the work of the business…they’ve given themselves a job in the business. And so, owners spend almost no time working on growing their business.

Why start now?

Starting early gives you time to get organized for the next year. You set expectations and goals for the next year. And it gives you a head start.

And, getting a business plan written starts the process of execution.

To get a business plan written forms the basis of all planning, however, that’s not enough.

Reasons why business plans fail

A number of reasons cause business plans to fail. A few from my experience and my client’s experiences (until they worked with me).

  1. Business managers view them as a one and done exercise. Spend a few hours or days and write it out. Done.
    • Over time build a continuous set of tasks around business plans. 
  2. Managers delegate business plans to another person in the company or worse yet to a consultant to write one for them.
    • This results in no ownership and therefore poor or non existent execution.
    • Owners and managers don’t feel ownership and they don’t build plans into projects and daily activities.
  3. Business plans exist only the head of the owner or manager. The owner does not believe to get a business plan written important.
    • It then results in bouncing around. Not firm on commitment to a direction. 
  4. The plans are too pie-in-sky. No one believes them.
    • Next, no one takes the plans seriously.  The Plan du-jour or plan-of-the-month starts happening. 
    • It can also result in deep disappointment and giving up when people miss goals and milestones. 
  5. Managers do not build business plans into daily activity expectations. Yes, daily.
    • This results in plans not followed even when everyone buys into them.
    • Plans don’t fit into operational activities and slowly get ignored. 
  6. Owners and manager do not build plans on strengths and talents of the company and people. They rely on weaknesses and sometime even blind spots for success.
    • Then, wasted efforts happen. You waste time. You waste money and your profit. 
    • Resulting in activities become too hard. Obstacles seem insurmountable.
  7. Managers do not tie plans tightly to values.
    • Prioritizing, saying “No” to non-productive activities does not happen. Decision making gets hard. Things go crazy with busy-ness. 
    • Then, people give up on the plans. “They don’t work anyway!”

So, what do I do to get a business plan written?

Accept, to get a business plan written starts a continuous planning cycle. And, you take several steps prior to writing a business plan.

  1. Business planning always starts with a clear assessment of where you are today. In many business plans a SWOT analysis starts the process. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats of the key people, culture, and company structures.
  2. Business planning continues with establishing a strong foundation of values, mission, vision, your role.
  3. Understand your opportunities, threats in the market.
  4. Establish your financial, market, sales, operational expectations.
  5. Then it goes into developing a goals structure for  monthly, 90-days, 1 year, 2 years and longer.
  6. Write the business plan.
  7. Next it establishes action plans and delegation plans with regular, frequent follow ups to track progress, make the always necessary adjustments and push to achievement.

You could download a template and fill it out. Nothing wrong with a good template. Just a template and a few hours doesn’t work without all the foundational skills and structures in place. It’s like a player showing up for football game with a helmet and a football and no skills or knowledge of the plays and hasn’t been to practices. Not gonna happen.

And, getting a business plan written forms a crucial stage in the business planning structure.

So, start one today. Get with someone to bounce ideas off. Involve people. Get professional assessments done on you and your key managers.

Need help with your business planning?

Phil Bride, Executive Business Coach.

Phil Bride, Executive Business Coach.

Contact us today to discuss more about getting your business planning in full swing.

We do business planning, executive coaching, manager training, professional assessments and help get those foundations in place.

Phil Bride, 503-753-9971.

How to measure business success

Business owners often ask how to measure business success.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for business are the stats of business.

First, let’s define KPIs

  • Key – Vital aspect to success
  • Performance – The manner in which your business behaves, operates
  • Indicators   – Draws attention to a condition

We use KPIs or stats in sports all the time.

  • Stats like FGM, FGA, FG%: field goals made, attempted and percentage in basketball. 
  • YDS – Passing yards, CMP – passing completions and dozens more.
  • Same thing in Baseball and every sport.

Business has stats too. ROI, DSO, AR, Expense Ratios, COGS, Sales, Profit, EBITDA, CLV (customer lifetime value), CAV (customer acquisition value) and lots more. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with these. Start learning the most important ones a step at a time.

Here’s a rundown on how to measure business success with a good set of 18 KPIs for businesses.

Top Five KPIs for every business

And here are five top financial KPIs every business needs to track from QuickBooks.

I always start with Sales.   Top line on a “Profit and Loss” or P&L statement.  QuickBooks skips this important business KPI of Sales. I’ve included it here.

  1. Sales   What are your sales this month, this year, compared to last month, last year, trends on trailing 12 months.
  2. Gross Profit Margin Your gross profit margin tells you whether you are pricing your goods or services appropriately. Here is the equation to calculate this: Gross profit margin = (revenue – cost of goods sold)/revenue
  3. Net Profit  This is where the rubber hits the road. Your net profit is your bottom line — the amount of cash left over after you’ve paid all the bills. You can figure out your net profit using simple subtraction: Net profit = total revenue – total expenses
  4. Net Profit Margin   Net profit margin tells you what percentage of your revenue was profit. The equation is simple:  Net profit margin = net profit/total revenue
  5. Aging Accounts Receivable  Also known as DSO or days sales outstanding. How long it takes customers to pay their invoices.
  6. Current Ratio   This accounting term describes the ability of a business to pay its bills. It can be calculated like this:  Current ratio = current assets/current liabilities.  The resulting number should ideally fall between 1.5 and 3. A current ratio of less than 1 means you don’t have enough cash coming in to pay your bills. Tracking this indicator may give you advance warning of cash flow problems, especially if your current ratio dips into the danger zone between 1.5 and 1.

Additional KPIs for most businesses.

  • Sales funnel:  Number of new prospects added to funnel per month. Time in Sales funnel. Average size of deal in funnel. Number of leads generated per month. % that convert into sales funnel. % that convert to customers.
  • NPS:  Net promoter score. Indicates the ratio of customers willing to recommend the company to others.
  • Customer lifetime value:  How much a customer on average spends with the company. How long an average customer stays with the company.
  • Customer care:  Issue count per month. Time to solve issue. Open issue rate.
  • Employee Engagement:   Ratio of management issues versus operations and customer issues. Indicates undercurrent of employee disengagement.

It is time to identify your KPIs

Take some time to work on your situation. Identify the KPIs for your business.

As an executive business coach I help clients identify their KPIs to achieve their goals.

Let’s see if I can help you too!

Contact me to set up a 30-minute complimentary time to discuss your situation.

Give me a call at 503-753-9971 or email me at

Continue Strategic Planning

Continue strategic planning

Now that you have your business plan in place (of course you do, don’t you?) it is time to continue strategic planning sessions.

Continue strategic planningIf you suffer from any of the following, it’s time to take strategic business planning seriously…

  1. “Feast or famine” business cycles.
  2. “Rise and fall with the tide” of the economy.
  3. Cash flow sucks.

Time to continue strategic planning

It’s best to think about strategic and business planning as a cascading series of increasingly detailed activities.

The following list, to continue strategic planning, is in order of most strategic activities. And when you hear strategic,  think “able to create the best results possible.”

  1. Leadership Foundations:  Yearly reviews of strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, biases of the key leaders in the company and of the company itself. It’s also smart to do …
    1. An employee internal survey.
    2. Customer, vendor partner survey.
    3. “Net Promoter Score” included in both.
  2. Strategic Planning:  Yearly planning and review sessions of Vision, Values, Mission, Target Markets, Top level goals, last year’s results.
  3. Business Planning:  Quarterly or 2x a year planning and review sessions of the following…
    1. Vision, Values, Mission, Target Markets, Top level goals, opportunities, threats.
    2. PLUS  operational, personnel, business development goals.
    3. Add Results of previous goals, challenges, and new goals.
  4. Goal Reviews:  Monthly or even weekly reviews of goals per operational area of your business (oh yes, and your life!).
  5. Status updates:  Weekly or daily 15 minute or less “stand up” meetings to cover progress since last time, challenges encountered, next steps planned.
    1. These work best if there is NO “problem solving” during the sessions
    2. And definitely NO “history lessons” or “story telling.”
    3. Defer problem solving to a separate time, preferably with the right people in the room.
    4. Avoid sit down meetings. They extend to an hour or longer as people get comfortable and the meeting covers topics other than the relevant business topics. Many meeting cover the salient information in 15 minutes or less then move into filler topics.

Armed with this information, all you need is the business plan as the starting point and the discipline to follow through.

It is time to work on it

Take some time to work on your situation. Whether it is creating a business plan or continue strategic planning.

Executive business coaches are trained and experienced in dealing with issues like these and have developed depth of expertise.

As an executive business coach I help clients through these issues continually. As they execute, excellent results follow.

Let’s see if I can help you too!

Contact me to set up a 30-minute complimentary time to discuss your situation.

Give me a call at 503-753-9971 or email me at

5 must dos to get practical results

Phil Bride, Executive Business Coach
Phil Bride helping professionals, businesses get practical results.

Phil Bride helping professionals, businesses get practical results.

We all want to get practical results this year.

Don’t you?

There are 5 simple must dos to get practical results.

It’s time, maybe even past time, and you know it.

With these 5 must dos you will build sustainable results in your business, in your profession.

5 must dos to get practical results

Know yourself well. Understand what drives your decisions, even the small decisions and reactions you do automatically throughout the day. These are indicated by your rants and what get’s you jacked up.

Understand your strengths.  Use your strengths and talents. Quit wasting time fixing weaknesses or blind spots. Develop your talents so you can get practical results fast.

Get a reason. What is the point of all the stuff you do without a reason. Nail down what you want to achieve. Be clear about where you see yourself in the future. Get clarity about what you want and why. Do you want to build a company, organization, profession, project or not? Nail it down. Write it down. Focus on it.

Focus on what you can affect. Use your strengths and talents and focus them on what you want. Use those talents and start moving toward what you want to achieve and get practical results.

Get a game plan and act to get the practical results.  Think through the game plan, change it as often as you need. Change the game as you run into obstacles and issues. Keep true to what you want and the reason you do what you do.


This is not rocket science. It is straight forward. However, it can take more time than you like. It can be tricky to get it to work. Sometimes we all need a little help to get it done or get going.

Don’t be stubborn. Instead get gritty, get focused to get practical results you want.

Time to take action?

For those who want to get practical results faster, I offer my experience and expertise.

Contact me today at 503-753-9971 or email at
Let’s talk. Take 30 minutes (don’t worry it’s free).

You are invited to this FREE Webcast

This Friday

“Up your game — get in control”  

In this complimentary webcast you will:

  • Learn the obstacles that lead to feeling out of control
  • Identify the situations that stop your progress
  • Get tools to help you get out of and avoid these situations

Perfect for:

  • Business people
  • Professionals
  • Managers
  • Aspiring managers


Friday January 27, 2017 10 am PT   Register

Up your game. Make things happen.

“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”

Building profits in each job

Building profits one job at a time
Building profits one job at a time

Define and put business and operations processes in place with standards.

Building profits means you have business and manufacturing processes in place and people committed to following and improving the processes.

Jason does it again.

Jason, knew he wanted to make sure every job was profitable. As GM, Jason ran a job shop. He disliked inefficiencies in all areas of his shop. He wanted to get jobs going quickly. Jason had jobs quoted mostly from repeat business.

Next, Jason figured he could use software to save him time on the floor and in sales. So, he put software in place. He didn’t take the time to prepare.

Next thing Jason knew, he found himself enmeshed in late deliveries, high DMRs, work centers with long set up times, and upset customers. The shop produced small profits, even though the shop ran at capacity. Jason wondered if the jobs he had really fit his shop’s capabilities. The jobs often needed rework by engineering, were small runs, and pushed his team’s ability to deliver on time.

Jason failed to plan. He failed to define and communicate processes. The shop accepted just about all customers willing to pay. Jason had no system to identify and qualify customers. And Jason tried to automate processes that were not well defined.

It turns out you can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist.

Building profits job by job implies

Manufacturing Business Plan insures long term success.

Manufacturing Business Plan insures long term success.

There’s a plan

Manufacturers who plan, know the types of jobs they want to work with. They know how match the job well with the capabilities of the shop floor, the skills of the supervisors and capabilities of operators and work centers. They know their processes are well tuned to the types of jobs they accept.

How does this work in a high mix job shop?

Since there are even more “moving parts” in high mix environment, it is even more crucial that shops have a plan: well defined standards, well defined processes, well trained people, and supervisors and leaders who are committed to the company direction and values. If not it will fall to the managers to “save the day.”

Processes are in place to track costs.

Tracking costs of your materials, direct labor, overhead, OT, down time, marketing and sales, and the cost of order-to-delivery time can be challenging. Understanding the processes and using the right tools to streamline can make a huge difference.

Shops who achieve their goals, feed the marketing, sales, and quoting funnel with the right jobs and number of prospects to fit the shop’s capabilities.

Driving efficiencies and profits start with defined standards (or KPIs) for all steps in processing a job. Key people can define standards for marketing, sales, order processing, engineering, down time, set up time, production time, quality assurance, packaging and shipping and delivery. Define standards and processes one at a time until you have a system that works.

dreamstime_l_50804631Employees buy into the plan and the processes

Employees who buy into the plan, that is, who are engaged, know how to manage and improve the processes. Technicians and supervisors can spot inefficiencies and propose standards and processes to improve.

Improvement rests in well defined processes, written and articulated with well communicated standards. There is no such thing as over communication. Engaged supervisors and managers back up the communication effort.

The shop floor staff then can handle issues that invariably pop up. When employees buy into the plans and processes, they take pride in their work.

This results in staff offloading many issues. Management’s firefighting and saving-the-day activities reduces.

With engaged employees shops can systematically drive profits up per job.

Processes exist to automate

With a plan in place, employees that buy in, and processes defined, it’s time to automate. The more planning and processes put in place the less “fixing” and “saving the day” happens later.

Automating processes can save a ton a time.  Shops can get a handle on costs and profitability through job cost reports, managing change orders, managing customer relationships better, allocating direct labor and overhead cost more accurately, managing processes to reduce DMRs and OTD, among others.

As the people, processes, and plans align to increase efficiencies, decrease costs, improve OTD and quality, profits will follow. Short term fixes and shortcuts mean just that—short term.

So, now what…

Manufacturing Business Processes InfoGraphic

Click on image above to get FREE InfoGraphic.

Building profits in each job takes initiative by the key people in the company.

  • It takes an engaged team and execution of the key business processes affecting success.
  • And it starts with management planning for success.

To wrap up, check out this complimentary InfoGraphic guide to business processes affecting building profits in each job.

Contact Phil today at 503-753-9971 or email at for a complimentary 30 minutes to talk about your situation.


Get unstuck. Make things happen.

“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”
< 2019 >
  • 21

    CFMA Webinar: Fraud & Embezzlement

    12:00 pm-1:30 pm

    Join us for this highly popular and complimentary webinar on “Fraud and Embezzlement: Lessons from the trenches.”  Angela Morelock, Forensic CPA presents.

    Every company and manager needs to be aware of this issue. Unfortunately, it’s more prevalent than we would like.

    This is a recorded course. And offers 1.5 CPEs.

    There will be pauses for a facilitated discussion by attendees. A requirement for CPE credits. The event will be facilitated locally at a live venue. The event will be presented to both the in-person attendees at the venue and webinar virtual attendees.

    Fraud can wreak havoc on an organization’s financial performance and undermine business objectives. No business is immune from the risks associated with fraud, and education is the key to prevention. Hear from industry expert, Angela Morelock about insights into the world of internal embezzlement and learn about frequently overlooked prevention tips in this unique, one-hour webinar.

    Participants will learn the following:

    • Realize the red flags warning of embezzlement and fraud
    • Understand the criminal methods used to embezzle from and defraud organizations and tips to protect your business
    • Steps to take if fraud is suspected

    Level: This is a group-internet based program at the Overview Level. No prerequisites or advanced preparation required.

    Who Should Take This Course?  Executives, CFO’s, CPAs, Managers or anyone who may be interested in attending.
    For questions please contact:
    Phil Bride at Co-chair CFMA education committee.

  • 22

    HillHub Guest Speaker Aug

    1:00 pm-2:00 pm
    Hillsboro Chamber
    Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce 5193 NE Elam Young Pkwy, Ste A Hillsboro, OR 97124
    Introducing Office Hours @ HillHub!
    HillHub has grown rapidly since opening in April and we’re excited to announce new programming this month!

    Starting August 21st, we will roll out HillHub Office Hours. Twice a month, we will host a group of business owners and professionals who will provide 1:1 support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Our office hours providers are experts in various topics, all essential to growing a business.

    Providers will be available during a 1.5 hour window from 10am-2:30pm. You do not need to be a HillHub or Chamber member to attend. All small businesses and entrepreneurs are welcome to attend! We do ask that you register ahead of time to ensure guaranteed time with your chosen provider.

    To attend, please register below with your preferred provider and what time you plan to attend. 

    Register For Office Hours
    Below are our upcoming service providers, a little bit about them and their areas of expertise:

What Clients Say

“After working with Phil, from just one process we cleaned up, we reduced mistakes by 70% and are stacking up cost savings.” —Stan, Construction Business Owner.

“Going through the decision framework helped make a very big decision that was stressing me out. After the decision, I felt a huge sense of relief and our revenue jumped due to better focus.” —Jon, Software Construction Business Owner

“We’ve improved our sales per FTE by 30% once we clarified the gap through the SMART goals and I’m not yet done with Phil’s program!” —Tim, Business Owner

“I recommend that if you want to increase effectiveness, sit down with Phil.” —Michelle, small business owner

Coach Phil

Phil Bride

Professional Business Builder

Executive business coach

It's all about business, development, and execution

Phil Bride, MBA, AIC

Sharpen up

Clarity of direction, confidence in next steps

  • Get a plan you can execute
  • Prioritize like a pro
  • Get control over time

Push to the strategic

Up your game. Make things happen.

  • Set, execute a vision of accomplishment
  • Up your game on leadership
  • Get accountability in place

Align (new) managers

Team alignment—Up to speed quicker

  • Skills development
  • Collaboration
  • Project management


Coaching, training, development, facilitating

  • Professional Development
  • New manager training and development
  • Seasoned manager tune up
  • Strategy and execution
  • Business, Market, Sales planning and execution
Workshops, Classes, 1-on-1