CEO Advisor Newsletter™
May 2010

         Grow your business to the next level™           

In This Issue

Contact CEO Advisor, Inc. today for a FREE Initial Consultation on growing your business to the next level, and receive a FREE copy of the Business Briefing of the 2010 Hiring Incentives Act. Call us at (949) 759-8676 in CA, or (301) 580-9071 in the DC Metro area.

Tips for Growing Your Business to the Next Level
CEO Advisor can help you today! 
  1. Have a Clear Vision.   Know where you want to go and be very clear about it. This involves strategy and defined goals to realize your vision. Without this, there is a tremendous loss of time and money.
  2. Do Your Homework. Understanding your market and your competitors is critical. Do the necessary research to know what's important to your customers and prospects in your target markets and know what the trends are.
  3. Forecasting. When forecasting, refine your business model, your pricing and gross margin targets. Relook at operating expenses and targets for the right level of profitability. Get objective expertise in this area, if needed.
  4. Select Your Team. Don't do it all on your own. Make sure you have a reliable and competent management and support team around you to complement your own skills and expertise. If you cannot afford the management team you need, bring in a seasoned business advisor that can do some heavy lifting for you.
  5. Put Systems in Place. Document your processes and procedures. This will make it easier to run your business, easier for new employees to get trained faster, will make the business more profitable, and will make your business more valuable and attractive to investors and acquirers.
  6. Innovate. Innovation is important for all businesses. Ask how you could do something differently to generate a higher ROI for both you and your customers, make your customers happier and more profitable, take less time, be better than your competitors, or develop a more effective business model.
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 for a free initial consultation at (949) 759-8676 in CA or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, by email at or visit us today at

Quick Links
    Words of Wisdom
    "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

    Peter F. Drucker
    Business Author and Management Consultant
    Member of Accredited Organizations:
    • Tech Coast Venture Network
    • Technology Council
    Visit us at

    Call (949) 759-8676 in CA or
    (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro Area
    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
    Small Business Strategy is More Than Putting Out Fires   
    CEO Advisor can hlep you grow your business.
    Day-to-day problems are nothing new to businesses, especially small business owners. Putting out fires, although critical at times, cannot be what your small business is all about. Meeting the weekly payroll, collecting payments from customers on a timely basis and making the next meeting are clearly important issues.
    When small business CEOs become consumed with mere survival, your ability to thrive and prosper as a strategic, focused company ceases to exist.
    The fact is, people who create businesses often do so to respond to an opportunity. They often do little or no planning to capitalize fully on that opportunity. Overcoming obstacles to growth and adapting to market and economic changes become difficult without sufficient strategic planning.
    Strategic planning and focused execution create an improved competitive position, as well as, short-term and long-term profits to the company. Unfortunately, many CEOs of small companies move in too many different directions at the same time. A well-defined plan can give clarity, focus, accountability and purpose.
    The lack of strategic thinking seems to go hand-in-hand with a lack of marketing, planning, execution and strong sales management which leads to stalled growth and many missed opportunities for sales.
    Lack of strategy and planning is common among smaller firms for the following reasons:
    • Strategic planning is not a function that the owner/CEO is comfortable with or sees the true value.
    • The owner/CEO fails to create a culture within the company that fosters strategic thinking, new ideas and innovation in a focused, disciplined manner.
    • Daily operational concerns have a high priority and therefore leave little, if any, time for looking into the future, working on the business, or growing the business strategically.
    • Owners/CEOs often believe that planning is too time-consuming, not measurable and not results-oriented.
    • Lack of a mature functioning management team or board of directors.
    • Ineffective priority-setting process and lack of management discipline and focus.
    • Lack of focus on pricing, profitable products and services and gross profit margins.
    How do you initiate strategic thinking and planning? 
    The first step is a discussion and review of the current situation, as well as, the development of an action plan. Once you have a better understanding of the real needs of the company, you can develop the appropriate actions to be taken. The review and assessment should include a complete evaluation of both internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as, the external opportunities and threats. You must develop the needed marketing plan, sales management, accountability and tracking to measure and ensure success. The owner/CEO should also consider seeking outside professional assistance in this area.
    How do you know if you have a problem?  
    • Sales are increasing satisfactorily. Profits, however, have leveled off or are on the decline.
    • Gross profit margins have been steadily on the decline.
    • The company is in a growing market, but sales and profits have leveled off or are declining.
    • The market has been projected to decline.
    • The company is about to acquire another operation in its plan to increase sales and profits, but some key managers are not sure that this is a good move and that it has been carefully planned.
    • There are no new products or services planned or introduced recently.
    • Your sales team is not productive and turn-over is high.
    • Marketing is done inconsistently or rarely, with little or no tracking of results.
    The building of a strong management team becomes the number one task of the growth-oriented owner/CEO. It is hard to achieve profitable growth without a strong team in place. Often the owner/CEO believes he or she can do it all. Not so - this belief can be a destructive force and must change. Bringing in interim management in the form of a seasoned business advisor can be a critical step for you.
    We have helped many CEOs and small business owners confront their issues, and grow their business to the next level. Contact CEO Advisor, Inc. today for a free initial consultation at (949) 759-8676 in CA, or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, by email at or visit us at
    Client Testimonial 
    "Over a one year period, Mark helped me to understand what my role entailed. Together, we segmented my numerous headaches into achievable goals. I learned to focus on specific issues and predict obstacles by looking at my business in monthly and yearly models. Mark taught me how to understand financial reports as well as the implication of spending. I now understand how to measure the performance of my company and profitably grow my business."
    CEO, Web Service Company