CEO Advisor Newsletter™
Jan/Feb 2008
Practical Advice to Accelerate Growth and Profits

In This Issue

Your Marketing Bang: Make it Worth the Bucks

How to Manage Your Cash Flow

Client Testimonial

Words of Wisdom

CEO Advisor, Inc. - Member of Accredited Organizations


Your Marketing Bang: Make it Worth the Bucks

When it comes to getting a bang for marketing bucks, too many business owners close their eyes, throw up their hands and resign themselves to guess work. "In today's business climate, we won't even propose a marketing strategy to our clients unless we can easily measure and track its success," states Mark Hartsell, President of CEO Advisor, Inc. Here are seven ways to benchmark your marketing campaigns without breaking the bank or overburdening your staff:
  • Create a Focused Marketing Plan and Budget. A critical part of your Business Plan and Forecast is a well thought out Marketing Plan and Budget. Do not initiate spending your marketing dollars if a plan is not in place to track the results and Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Get a Handle on Costs and Customers. Sometimes the more you sell the more you lose. Keep track of gross profits, gross profit margin and net profit, not just sales. For instance, know how much it costs to acquire each new customer and monitor gross profit margins carefully.
  • Set Clear Goals and Define Success. Formulating a marketing strategy that articulates a set of outcomes has to be the starting point. Track results and ROI for every marketing program and cost incurred.
  • Stay Disciplined, Focused and Target Your Market. Before implementing any marketing strategy, it is paramount to clearly understand who you are targeting. Without this focus and knowledge, even the most creative and powerful marketing campaign will miss your target and go unnoticed for the most part.
  • Survey Customers by Offering a Benefit. Customer input and opinion is invaluable when building your business. Entice customers to open up to you about their likes and dislikes by offering them some type of reward for their time. A well designed and tallied survey will reap big rewards.
  • Monitor Customer Responses Throughout the Sales Process. At any given time throughout the sales process, your customers' needs or attitude towards your product or service may change. You need to constantly be in-tune with your customers' expectations and do whatever you can to meet them.
  • Execute and Keep Testing. Don't simply put a campaign into place and move on. Instead, keep measuring results. Try low-cost tests and then put resources behind what works and eliminate the low ROI programs.
  • Besides the details you gain from tracking and reporting, the real test of marketing is very straightforward. If your marketing is not increasing business, change your approach. To learn how to more effectively reach your target market, call Mark Hartsell, President of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 759-8676.


    Happy New Year!! Our mission is to provide CEO's and business owners of small to mid-size companies the needed focus and expertise, coupled with hands-on advice to grow your business. To take your business to the next level, call Mark Hartsell, MBA, President at (949) 759-8676 or visit us at for more information.

  • How to Manage Your Cash Flow
  • Even profitable companies can go broke. That's a difficult truth for start-up, early stage and mature business owners to swallow. But when you're operating at a negative cash flow your risk of business failure increases tremendously by the month. Profit is an accounting principle. You need cash, not profit, to pay bills or loans. If you must pay bills each week - but your customers don't pay you for 30, 60 or 90 days - your business has a cash-flow lapse for which you must plan. Otherwise, the company will hurt its credit rating, become insolvent and eventually go bankrupt. Want to take control of your cash flow to protect your company's short-term viability and position it for long-term success? Here's how:
    1. Have Three Forecasts/Budgets. The first is the Aggressive Profit/Loss Forecast which forecasts high sales, low expenses and things going better than expected. The second is the Most Likely Profit/Loss Forecast, which is based on achievable sales and honest expenses. The third is the Worst Case Profit/Loss Forecast, which specifies the worst possible scenario and should trigger alternate plans of action.
    2. Do Cash Flow Forecasting. Business owners must plan for how much cash the business needs throughout the year. Also, business owners must forecast expenses that aren't due monthly, such as annual insurance premiums. Forecast monthly cash flow needs for the next twelve months at a minimum.
    3. Control Spending. Keep an eye on spending and use Purchase Orders to approve expenditures. Practice cost cutting strategies such as soliciting price quotes from several vendors to find the best value, stop selling products that are low gross profit margin or losing money and avoid buying assets that require substantial cash outlays. Also, manage projects within estimates by tracking hours of all direct labor and project management.
    4. Accelerate Receipts. One of the simplest ways to improve cash flow is to get customers to pay your invoices more quickly. You might offer a discount if they pay sooner (2/10, Net 30) or charge a late fee if they're past 30 days.
    5. Monitor Salaries. If necessary to maintain a positive cash flow, you may have to go without a salary temporarily or cut excess personnel.
    6. Keep Inventories Lean. Do not buy inventory based on hopes and dreams. Buy what you can realistically sell based on Number 1 above (Most Likely Forecast). Keep your inventory as low as possible to conserve cash.
    7. Add Employees Cautiously. Delay hiring workers as long as you can. Instead, look for ways to maximize your own productivity and that of any existing employees or consider outsourcing to independent contractors.
    8. Lease Rather Than Buy. Equipment such as computers can increase productivity, however, lease rather than buy to conserve cash.
    9. Sell Unnecessary Assets. This "garage sale" can include company cars, inventory or equipment.
    10. Recycle and Reuse. Never throw away something you'll need again. Reuse items and keep within your company budget.
    If you want to be successful, you need to exercise management discipline and utilize your financials to stay within your budget. A lot of small business owners lack financial knowledge or discipline and get into trouble down the road. CEO Advisor, Inc. provides extensive expertise and services to strategize, plan and forecast for the coming year. Visit us at for more information, or call Mark Hartsell at (949) 759-8676 for a free consultation.

  • Client Testimonial
  • "I want to start by telling you that I am very pleased with what we've accomplished. Although, it would probably be more accurate to say that I'm pleased with what YOU have accomplished. You have done what you said you would; actually DOING things instead of just telling me what I needed to do. This is always my big concern when working with consultants. So many times they offer sage advice but fail to actually do anything more than talk. You have produced a good volume of tangible work that will be useful to me and my management team as we work hard to build the company in 2008 and beyond. Thanks for driving us forward." CEO, Media Services Company

  • Words of Wisdom
  • "Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."
                                            - Will Rogers

  • CEO Advisor, Inc. - Member of Accredited Organizations

    • Tech Coast Venture Network
    • Technology Council of So. Cal.
    • Orange County Venture Group
    • Irvine Chamber of Commerce
    • Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce
    • Institute for Independent Business

    Or call (949) 759-8676

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