CEO Advisor Newsletter™
February 2010

Grow your business to the next level™           

In This Issue
5 Key Things For Your 2010 Planning 

CEO Advisors, Inc. - Grow your business to the next level.

Numerous studies indicate that small businesses have had a gradual uptick in optimism about the economy in Q4, 2009. 
The Enterprise Council on Small Business (ECSB) has tracked a series of metrics throughout the recession and a particularly compelling statistic has just emerged: Pessimism among small businesses has dropped a staggering 54% from early in 2009. 

Fewer than one in five small business owners believe the economy will continue to decline.  These changing attitudes suggest that small businesses should begin planning for a recovery in 2010. In fact, latest statistics show the economy grew at 5.7% in Q4, 2009.
In preparing your business and marketing plans for 2010, consider these key things to place your business in a stronger position: 
  • Plan Now for a 2010 Rebound. With signs of growing confidence about the economy, small businesses should embrace a sense of "cautious optimism" in both their own planning and in their marketing to prospects and customers.  While no one expects recovery to be easy or immediate, preparing for recovery will position you to optimize your growth. This takes strategic thinking and should involve professional help.
  • Think "Customer Centric." Instead of thinking in terms of providing "customer-service," adopt a mindset of being "customer centric." Matthew E. May, author of "In Pursuit of Elegance," just wrote an outstanding blog about this topic, explaining how successful businesses watch the customer, become the customer, and involve the customer.
  • Leverage Technology Efficiencies. An ECSB survey found small businesses are, for the first time, widely re-evaluating their suppliers - and the reason they're doing so is important: They aren't looking just for cost savings but for greater efficiency, so they can serve their own customers better.
  • Collaborate Online.  Making and maintaining connections with customers and partners does not only take place in a face-to-face setting anymore. Small business owners and managers are spending up to three hours a day on social networks - such as LinkedIn - a dramatic increase from even a year ago.
  • Get Committed!  Take the steps you need to make needed changes. Get help now to ensure you will get the proper start in 2010 and realize your opportunities in the beginning of the year. Ensure you have the proper planning, strategy, operations, sales and marketing expertise to make 2010 a success!
    CEO Advisor, Inc. has the expertise, coupled with hands-on advice to help you increase sales and profits for a growth year in 2010. Contact us at (949) 759-8676, by email at or visit us today at

Quick Links
  • Greetings!
    At CEO Advisor, Inc., our mission is to provide CEOs and business owners of small to mid-size companies the needed focus and expertise, coupled with hands-on work and advice to grow your business to the next level.
    With 30 years of business experience from corporate America to funding, growing and selling a software company to a large NASDAQ company, I have the experience to drive your company forward. I have a Masters Degree in Business (MBA) from Loyola University and a certification in Mergers and Acquisitions from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
    To grow your business to the next level, contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO at or visit us at for more information.   
                                Mark Hartsell, MBA
    Increasing Revenue:
    CEOs Share Best Practices 
     CEO Advisor can help you increase revenues

    Small and mid-size company CEOs were recently asked to share their best practices on increasing sales and profits. Below are a few of the ideas that emerged from that strategy session.
    • Re-evaluate Sales Compensation Plans. The CEO of a company that sells software and services stated, "We were amazed at the effect improving our sales compensation plans had on incentivizing our salespeople to achieve their goals." The result: an increased level of motivation, creativity and focus from salespeople with projected sales growing above the industry average.
    • Reconsider Focusing on Vertical Markets. We've heard the case to focus on vertical markets. This case is stronger than ever. However, some markets are recovering faster than others. There's more distinction in performance between markets. If you can, it helps to go where the money is. Also, customers are more apt to buy when you really understand their business. A vertical approach gives you the expertise that customers appreciate by speaking in their own language and adding value.
    • Focus on Strategy. Partnerships ranked first in our survey of what CEOs wanted to talk to other CEOs about. Finding the perfect partner for manufacturing, reselling, or distributing your products or services can increase sales dramatically. Researching and teaming up with a partner to develop a sales channel can be challenging. There's no science to what will work. On a positive note, what's different about today's economy is that there are a lot of companies that are willing to talk. It's a good time to get out there.
    • Implement Social Media. CEO Advisor, Inc. has created best practices for gaining meetings and customers using LinkedIn, the number one business social networking site. As of May, 2009, LinkedIn has over 40 million users. Even one percent of that is a large pool of potential partners and customers.   
    • Sales Promotions. Boost your sales by offering a sales promotion by bundling services or special pricing for a determined period of time.  Running a sales promotion not only can boost sales in a targeted time, but can also help in generating cash in times of need.
    • Focus on Recurring Revenue. Project work will not grow your company into a sustainable business. Offer your products and services in a manner to provide value over time. Create a range of services bundled in a monthly service with annual contracts. It is your expertise that your customers require and value each month. With each customer interaction ask their needs and offer additional products and services to meet these needs.
    • Discipline. The best companies are analyzing data and refocusing their sales efforts. One CEO noted that his company's new product launch focused on the most essential targeted customer segments. It has helped to focus the sales staff and identify where there are sales performance issues.

    CEO Advisor, Inc. has helped many CEOs and small business owners confront their issues, and grow their business to the next level. Contact us today at (949) 759-8676, by email at or visit
    Client Testimonial 

    "As a CEO of a security software company, I found the services offered by Mr. Hartsell at CEO Advisor very valuable in everyday work. By focusing on key components of the business, we were able to eliminate unnecessary paths and variety in the business model which enabled us to reach specific short term goals and aim the company forward. I would highly recommend his services to any business, not just software. His model, experience, and thinking procedure can be very beneficial and a key to success."
    CEO, Security Software Company 

    Words of Wisdom
    "Planning is an unnatural process. The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression."

    Sir John Harvey-Jones

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