middle market companies

Are You Ready to Succeed? Mindfulness Training for Professionals

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I have the easiest job in the world. Perhaps “easy” is not the right word. After all, my work involves constant travel, detailed analysis, crushing deadlines, and enough pressure to make a pair of diamond stud earrings. But it’s still easy, in that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I shudder to think what […]

Nepotism Rules!

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If you own or run a company, you probably have been tempted by the siren song of nepotism. Nepotism refers to the high art and common practice of hiring your relatives. Interestingly, if you search for the terms “nepotism” and “rules” you are likely to get a number of documents that purport to limit the […]

The Turnaround Assessment Test

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In 1968, Edward I. Altman formulated a simple, path-breaking scoring mechanism that could predict, with high confidence, the probability that any one corporation would enter bankruptcy within two years. He called the mechanism the Z score and, by publishing in academic journals, allowed it to enter the public domain. It has been, for many years, one of the most-studied […]

The Guaranteed Middle Market Employment Stimulus Plan

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Further stimulus of the economy is required. The 9.2% national unemployment rate, leaving 14 million able workers at home, demands it. But there is no appetite to revive the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus, which apparently intended to give states block grants to keep doing what they were doing, or to provide nimble political ear-markers with […]

Intern-ist

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My son has a great manufacturing internship. He really enjoys it. In many ways, he is living the life that his Wisconsin schooling prepared him for. He sent out four e-mails requesting a spot, and got an offer after a few weeks. The family-owned company that made the offer is doing well, so they agreed […]

What it REALLY Takes to Turn a Business Around

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I have been doing turnarounds for over twenty five years, and along the way, I’ve accumulated certain prejudices about what types of businesses are easiest to fix. Wholesale distribution and retail/restaurant chains are among my favorites, because there are usually enough profitable parts of the business — a core product or very profitable locations — […]

What it Really Takes to Turn a Business Around

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I have been doing turnarounds for over twenty five years, and along the way, I’ve accumulated certain prejudices about what types of businesses are easiest to fix. Wholesale distribution and retail/restaurant chains are among my favorites, because there are usually enough profitable parts of the business — a core product or very profitable locations — […]

The Five Rules of Workout

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Because last year’s recession caused such a sudden depression in demand, some middle-market businesses have seen revenue declines of as much as 30-35%. Many of these businesses are still losing money and are close to exhausting their financial reserves. These companies’ banks are receiving the end-of-year financial reports and deciding whether the results meet contractual […]

Sales and Power

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My wife has a book on her office shelf called Sex and Power. Big disappointment. No sex in it. On sales, I do have some hot advice — the best advice. And that is: Sell. Sell. Sell. Not your business; your product. I am always surprised at the number of very sophisticated executives who think […]

Can troubled companies “grow out” of their cash flow problems?

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  When I meet managers of companies who have been having problems with the bank—as in, “we-want-our-money-back-now” problems—often the CEO will take me aside and confide that the real problem is that the bank “distraction” is preventing the company from executing the firm’s long-contemplated growth strategy.   The CEO has a geographic expansion in mind, or […]