Monday, November 3, 2008

Watch These Companies Grow

Greater Richmond Companies To Watch is Richmond’s annual event to showcase a select group of innovative companies with high growth potential. Companies To Watch is a program of the Venture Forum.

Three of the ten 2009 Companies To Watch are led by Virginia Council of CEOs members. Congratulations to:
Jim Slabaugh of nHealth
Seth Schmidt of Smash Direct
Jim Fitzgerald of Taradel.

Watch them grow!

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 5:18 pm
Monday, November 3, 2008

Cut Costs

Two dozen small company CEOs who belong to the Virginia Council of CEOs gathered last week to share ideas for cutting costs in their businesses. Here is a summary of the ideas they generated.

It Takes A Village

  • Give immediate rewards to employees for cost savings or streamlining processes.
  • Incent staff on cost savings and profitability.
  • Link paychecks to productivity.
  • Ask staff to rethink the steps in everything they do.
  • Communicate frequently and openly with staff, placing your business challenges in the context of what they read/hear in the news.
  • Three questions to open up dialogue with staff, customers, vendors:
    • What should we start doing?
    • What should we stop doing?
    • What should we keep doing?
  • Make a list of things your people can do if things are slow and they have time on their hands.
  • Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

Look for Savings

  • Telework eliminates overhead. Telework VA provides grants for consulting and hardware.
  • Use utility and telecom auditors to find savings and overcharges.Their fee is usually paid out of any savings they find.
  • Put out new RFPs for everything you think you can get cheaper – e.g. freight, printing, employee benefits.
  • Tighten the belt and cut services that are nice to have, but don’t contribute to the bottom line.
  • Consider smart investments in equipment that is more efficient, uses less energy or is cheaper to maintain.

Cash is King

  • Work your AR – the squeaky wheel gets paid.
  • Use (even suggest) early payment terms to save on purchases.
  • Ask your landlord for a break(being a good, stable tenant must be worth something), or consider moving to save overhead.
  • Consider not accepting credit cards for some or all business.
  • Study your company’s credit cards and eliminate those that charge daily interest.Consider lines of credit if cheaper.
  • Tighten discount and return policies.
  • Tighten credit terms.
  • Fire unprofitable customers.
  • Incent your sales staff to collect promptly – reduce commission after 30/60/90 days.Don’t pay commissions at all until bill is paid.
  • Court your vendors for coop marketing funds./li>

People Cost A Ton o’ Money

  • Measure revenue per head and utilization.
  • Consider outsourcing where it makes sense.
  • Now is a good time to cut the deadwood.
Posted by Scot McRoberts at 5:11 pm
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Capture Stuff with Jott

One of the coolest productivity tools I have adopted recently is Jott. Using Jott, you can record a 30 second voice message to yourself or others. Jott transcribes the message and sends it via email or text message to whomever you wish.

Every time I describe it to one of our CEOs, they jump on it.

Get a free account at and start Jotting. Set up the “J” speed dial on your mobile phone to dial the toll free Jott number. You designate anybody you want to Jott back at the web site.

Here’s what happens.
Hit “J” on you speed dial. Jott recognizes you by caller ID.
Jott answers and asks, “Who do you want to Jott?”
I most often Jott myself, so I say “Myself.”
I speak clearly and hang up.
Before long, I have an email containing my message in text. The voice file is also attached, just in case the transcription is confused.

Jott keeps me from typing on my Blackberry while driving! Aren’t you glad?
I use Jott to record ideas, tasks, reminders (it allows you to set a reminder for a specific date and time), mileage … whatever. I also Jott my wife and my administrative assistant. Believe it or not, they love it.

Jott helps me get stuff out of my head (unreliable) and into a trusted system (my email inbox).
Did I mention that Jott is free? Happy Jotting.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 2:05 pm
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

CEO Retreat Podcast

Thanks to our talented Retreat Chairman, Keith Warman, we have a terrific podcast containing highlights of an interview with our Retreat presenters, Bo Burlingham and Doug Tatum. Hear directly from them why you can’t miss this Retreat. Bo and Doug will tell you how they are going to use the “Four M’s” to structure the Retreat and guide you through keynotes and small group discussions to develop a strategic map for your business. To download or listen to the podcast, go to:

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 1:32 pm
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

CEO Retreat Registration

Registration has begun for CEO Retreat 2008, to be held at Kingsmill Resort on April 15-17. For the complete brochure, or just a registration form, go to

Register by March 14 and save $100!

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 1:30 pm