International Ambitions?

We have assisted in 20+ M&A transactions over the last couple of years in Europe and USA, had numerous partnerships with international companies, and have a continuously growing list of international clients.

It is the best job in the world, but our spouses and kids still love us, so we are looking to expand our global network of Junior Business Converters.

We are looking for young, dynamic people who don’t have to be told that knowledge, hard work, risk taking and commitment leads to results, and who know that performance and effort comes before rewards.

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Ugly Baby Syndrome

It is almost impossible to tell parents to a new baby the whole truth about the actual look of the baby. We will all say it is a cute, beautiful baby no matter how ugly, bruised or strange looking the baby really is.

As a consultant it can also be challenging to tell business leaders, project managers and product owners the whole truth about their situation.

Many committed business people love their company, work or product so much that they deny seeing the reality or the problems.

It is their little baby and it is almost an insult to tell that their company or product has serious flaws.

A professional board, user groups and well planned internal seminars can often bring some reality on the table, but the ugly baby syndrome is alive and kicking in many companies.

The experienced consultants at Converzion admire business people and their commitment and passion but we strongly believe that first step in ensuring major growth is realizing and accepting flaws, problems and mistakes.

This is easy on paper -This is easier said than done.

Owners and managers are with good reason focused on the positive, the good results and they prefer celebration to evaluation.

They want good vibrations, positive feedback and encouragements, not a lot of negative talk and focus on the few problems and mistakes.

“Past is past …. Let’s just work harder, smarter and faster and get some new sales” is a great motto and we understand that priority.

To allow analyzing, evaluation and questions on the entire business model can however change the reality. Straight, honest, direct, unwrapped feedback, suggestions and proposals can make a sweet but ugly baby perfect in all aspects and produce great results.

Don’t let the ugly baby syndrome slow your company down!

The Death of Business Plans

It seems like we are all addicted to business plans, strategies and action plans, and we seem to love to write, discuss, approve and implement them.

A quiet revolution is however brewing; especially in retail and tech startups.  Flash Business, Pop Up Stores and Lean Startup are concepts that are here to stay.

Concepts where market feedback is more important than assumptions; where experimental trial and errors have more benefits than detailed planning, and where “Just Do It” mentality wins over “Let’s Have a Meeting”.

Markets, products, technologies and companies are growing and disappearing at an amazing speed, which makes it very challenging to predict, assume and plan efficiently.

Best proof is actually the number of business plans and strategies needing adjustments, changes or that become outdated and seem irrelevant after just 6-12 months.

In many scenarios the time and resources spent on planning would be more wisely spent on actual testing of the idea, product and service with real customers.

In Flash Business you don’t overanalyze market potentials, don’t wait for everything to be perfect, and don’t try to predict or plan every possible scenario. Flash Business is active, direct and a targeted test with real market knowledge and real insight to what works and what needs to be changed.

Besides obtaining real know-how it is amazing how much interest a pop up store gets, and how much buzz a Flash Business market entry creates.  Maybe you are at the right place with the right thing at the right time, but even if you don’t make money instantly on Flash Business it is real, it is more than paper, it is facts not words, and managers, boards and investors love that!

We like directions, budgets and priorities, but knowledge, real data, speed, action and actual market and customer feedback are so much more beneficial than even the best business plan.

Best trips, best parties, best homemade meals are often not planned but are spontaneous, intuitive and we are just doing it. Often that will work in business too.

 

To discuss this blog contact Johnny Killerup Pedersen at jkp@converzion.com

The Eternal Entrepreneur

There’s an entrepreneur in every successful leader.

Leaders have that restlessness that makes them constantly looking for improvements, new options, new markets, and more growth. They’re eager for change and development and have respect for but lack interest for basic operations, reports, long intern meetings and traditional operation assignments.

It is the entrepreneur with the sense for scaling and growth that will become a successful leader.

Sense for scaling is the key phrase, since many talented entrepreneurs don’t become leaders of a company with constant growth only because they haven’t mastered the scaling. Many entrepreneurs focus on being the ‘man of the house’ and being a part in every aspect of the business; knowing all the customers and employees and to be the center of attention.

This classic entrepreneur will not be able to achieve growth in the long run or on a larger scale. There are many healthy things in being the initiator, the motivator, the center of attention and understanding all aspects of your business, but the change from being a successful entrepreneur to a successful leader is founded on clear principles and a continuous understanding of your own role and function.

A powerful growth isn’t the objective for all, but if you want to grow from 10-15 to 100 employees in 1-2 years, not knowing the names of all your employees, having customers you didn’t even realize you had, experience the bank beginning to recognize you as a legitimate customer, and suddenly talking about a market value in the millions, then you can’t change paths or principles often.

The bridge between being an entrepreneur and a leader is to keep your entrepreneur mind, but focus on:

  • Having a joint goal and vision- Have a clear goal set, vision for the company, and being sure that everyone understands and shares it
  • Creating a culture and atmosphere of change- Growth means constant changes. Employees, procedures and routines should be constantly changed, so build windmills and don’t fence in or exploit change. Motivate and reward reconstruction and renewal. Challenge habits and routines. Experiment, test, take chances and try something new
  • Ensuring talented people around you- Growth shapes new needs and no entrepreneur is the best at all positions (even if we often think we are), so employ better people than yourself for specific functions and have confidence in their work
  • Hiring carefully, but fire confidently- It’s expensive and harmful to get the wrong employee in, so even if there’s specific needs, you need to hurry slowly. On the other hand, there isn’t time for many chances or hope for change if the employee isn’t prepared for the changes that come with growth
  • Simplifying the organizational operation- Many non-essential functions can advantageously be outsourced, and a lot of marketing , PR , customer care , knowledge sharing , reporting and information can be automated and done in the cloud rather than in the meeting room.
  • Accept failures – Change Culture is accepting failures. That you test and fail, that you have more faith in the market and customer response than long analyzes and reports. It also means that you have to forgive more than you have to grant permissions. Growth-orientated employees and talented management teams must dare to find new and original ways to achieve the common objective
  • Management By Walking Around (MBWA) – Be visible, direct and committed. Have team meetings outside, come uninvited to meetings, have an open office and meet employees in informal settings.
  • Celebrate successes – Preserve the joy of small and large successes. Share the good stories and celebrate them!
  • Maintain open and direct dialogue – Investors, advisors and professional boards are often a prerequisite for growth, but they must not destroy the open and direct dialogue from your entrepreneur days. Provide updates on large screens, share information, give the opportunity for input, criticism and dialogue and remember changing culture rule number 1: The leader must lead the way of change. The manager must continuously change his or hers format for involvement with employees, but always with a focus on openness Sounds easier than done in practical terms but these objectives are key for growth orientated companies

Want more inspiration and help? Contact Converzion

Change Culture

In our fast moving economy owners, managers and staff are all constantly facing need for changes.

Only problem is that most people want changes but don’t want to be changed. We are creatures of habit and very few people wake up every morning and want to be changed.

We like stability, known procedures, clear tasks, specific role and most people prefer minimum changes to work functions, office structure, technology and routines. Even privately we tend to live in the same house, have same friends, same habits and same interests for very big part of our lives.

With a business climate where products, services and technologies from last year already are being replaced, copied or outperformed, owners and managers are constantly faced with the critical problem of needing changes in a company where most people are uncomfortable with changes.

The key is to ensure that the managers are aware of the change challenges – That they handle changes efficiently and create a change culture. Changes are a constant process so it has to become an integrated part of the company culture and so normal and acceptable that changes are expected not feared.

This can only be ensured by managers that

  • Acquire input on needed changes through professional board, advisers, networks etc.
  • Focus on objectives and not roles, tasks and procedures
  • Establish – and respect – team and individual empowerment
  • Encourage and reward questions, ideas and experiments
  • Believes in relational management with dialogue and relationships
  • Want to be visible and available (manage by walking around)
  • Accept criticism, failures and mistakes

Managers can only succeed if they handle change in a productive manner and the biggest challenge is often they have to change themselves. Great managers know when things are great and they feel things are perfect, it is time to change – I love it. It is perfect. Now change it