April 2015 - Vol 10, Issue 4
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The art of getting things done....
Nope, I haven't mastered getting things done at all. Have you? Has anyone? We all know that one person that seems to get a lot done. We also see folks that are busy doing a lot of things.

Lately I have been working harder on doing more of what needs to be done and avoiding "shiny objects." My clients all know that shiny objects is another name for distractions (SQUIRREL!) and that only by understanding what's truly important can we identify what isn't.

I use notebooks, sticky notes, and my Simplenote program to quickly store ideas so that I don't fall into the trap of letting a good notion sabotage ongoing work. Just capturing the thought allows me to refocus on the task at hand.

All of this to say that I found this nugget in my notes:

The Evolution of Clarity 
Be few things to a few people...
Be more things to more people...
Be all things to all people...
Be more things to few people...
Be all things to few people.
Push one thing a mile instead of 100 things an inch.

Stop doing unimportant things.

Balance is important. This month I posted a blog piece on the delicate balance of business processes and how they affect growth.

The question business owners ask me most often is "Why can't my company grow?" Good question. You are not going to like the answer. It's because you dear business owner are good at something and you need to be good at three things. Let's examine how to rebalance your business processes and learn how it [...]...

I also wrote about shrinking margins and how they are self-induced. Blaming competitors, customers, or the economy for your margins is self-indulgent and well...wrong. Blame is a shiny object.

I am having a visceral response to a recent blog post by Christopher Maione, a well-respected AV Industry professional and thought-leader for the Design segment. I don't know Mr. Maione personally, but I respect his Industry work and therefore offer my reply in the interest of furthering this discussion - in which I respectfully disagree. If the [...]...

Scheduled: Friday April 17, 2015 / 2:00 EST / 1:00 CST
This month's webinar is an update on Introduction to Pre-Job Costing: How to Curb Price Erosion.  The impetus for this topic is that Rental-Stagers make two growth-inhibiting mistakes: 1. They undervalue project elements when selling to existing clients and 2. They often walk away from profitable projects because they use the wrong approach to job cost analysis.

As a Consultant I have helped companies use these insights to sell smarter, win new business, and improve margins with existing customers  REGISTER NOW

If you have missed previous webinars, then just check out the archives at AV-Matters.com. Click on the link, create an AV-Matters Member login, and off you go. Members get access to exclusive content like archived webinars and free episodes of Around the Table with Tom Stimson.

Thanks for Reading!


214-553-7077 direct

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InfoComm 2015
I wanted to slip in a quick note about InfoComm 2015. It's in Orlando this year and the exhibits are open June 17-19. but I know you will be there sooner than that.
For all the Rental-Stagers out there, InfoComm has put together some important events and classes you won't want to miss. I have compiled them with the help of InfoComm staff into this
handy PDF that you can print and reference as you build your calendar for the week.

FYI - I have two workshops this year:
Systems Integration Business Roundtable      Wednesday, June 17      12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Live Events Business Roundtable*                   Wednesday, June 17        2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

*This event will be immediately followed by the Live Events Reception in the same space.


That's right... The Live Event RECEPTION is BACK! Check the date and time here.

I will be in Orlando Monday through Friday and look forward spending some time together. Be sure to email me to set your appointment times! -Tom
FREE Video



Referrals, testimonials and online reviews. Hear what top CEOs in the Live Events Industry have to say about using these tools in their marketing plans. This video covers three distinct views on the importance of referrals and recommendations as part of a complete marketing plan. Your host Tom Stimson sums up the discussion and shares his recommendations on how to use referrals in your business.


Click on the image below to access the full video. A free AV-Matters registration is required.  



bestpracticesBest Practices Blog

Investing in Classic Businesses

How to be more valuable to yourself and investors 


A few years ago I wrote this piece about classic cars and how they reflect some business models. Today there is an entire cable network devoted to cars and dozens of additional shows on other networks that rebuild, customize, or trade in automobiles. Let's explore the three ways you can add value to your classic business.


Some of you will remember that Hyundai sent over a batch of really cheap cars in the 1980's. The Korean manufacturing giant (they build just about anything you can imagine) decided that Japan had too much of the automobile market and set about to use inexpensive Korean labor and factories to compete. They got the price right, but the cars were junk. The market had shifted from price-only to reliability at a good price. Hyundai's CEO challenged the auto division to completely retool with the goal to exceed the Japanese model - and succeeded.


Hyundai didn't just retool their factories; they tore them down and re-invented how cars are made.


Most small businesses need retooling of some sort. Rarely will an owner start over like Hyundai did. More often businesses will try to compete with the innovators - without actually innovating. Imagine updating a 1968 Triumph to compete with a modern production sports car. No amount of tinkering or re-engineering will change the fact that the chassis wasn't designed for the speeds and agility of today's engines and suspension systems. If you want a competitive sports car that you can add value to, then you have to start with a competitive sports car. Paint, body work, and tune-ups are easy to add.


What Are Business Investors Looking For?


It's all very simple. Investors need you to have something of value to them to begin with. In the end, they want to create more value, but its easier to build from something than nothing. Here are the three things most consider good starting points:


Good Work


Not every company is as good as they think they are, and many are good at things they don't necessarily recognize or value themselves. A good investor will find the hidden excellence in a potential acquisition. It could be employees, infrastructure, inventory, or intellectual property. Does the company do good work or, are the elements that should produce good work present?


Market Niche


Sure, market domination is nice, but few companies are truly dominant in anything. However, it is not difficult to discover companies that have a foothold in a segment, an expertise in a valuable technology, or a great geographic location. Microsoft bought Youtube to compete with Google Hangouts for video conferencing share.


Brand Value


US Airways bought American Airlines. The new Brand will be called American Airlines and the look and feel of the merged business are clearly AA. US Air may be a tainted brand with some market baggage, but they had enough money to buy a bigger airline. Go figure. Brand may be the least valuable thing to an investor (watch Shark Tank), but if the investor's brand sucks, then what's wrong with buying a new one?




Companies with strengths in all three qualities will achieve greater returns and therefore have higher value to investors (not to mention the current owner). If you take away one strength, then what's left is the need to add value. A firm with strong Brand and Product will need to add Sales. This might mean added resources, additional training, or a change in approach. A weakness in overall Product will trigger a need for inputs into Process either through infrastructure, personnel, or methodology - or all three. Undefined Brands need better marketing or to be rolled into a brand that is already established.


Not every investor is skilled at filling in all the gaps. Some are just looking for acquisitions that need Marketing for instance. The best way to attract those buyers is to be exceptional at something else. Think about the kinds of folks that buy classic cars as an investment: The buyer that is good at bodywork will be more inclined to buy a car with bad paint but a great engine. When you are good at something, you will increase your value.


AV-Matters Blog is written by Tom Stimson, MBA, CTS, President of Stimson Group LLC, a Dallas-based management consulting firm specializing in strategy, process improvement, and market research for the Audiovisual and Communications Services Industries. Tom is a Past-President of InfoComm International and a current member of InfoComm's Adjunct Faculty. Email Tom at mailto:tom@trstimson.com


Closing Thoughts

Here's a few scribbles from the margins:

"The person that listens the best can win more business at a fairer price and write fewer DOA (dead on arrival) proposals in the process."
Tom Stimson - June 2013

See you next month, - Tom   

Who's Tom Anyway?
About Thomas R. Stimson, MBA, CTS

Tom Stimson consults with organizations to improve their performance through strategic planning, process improvement, and team development. The Stimson Group provides coaching and tools to companies in the Audiovisual Industry that enable them to define and reach their strategic goals.

Whether you work in the Live Events or the Systems' Integration segments, or serve those companies as a manufacturer or distributor - The Stimson Group provides unparalleled expertise, industry insight, and market research that drive operational efficiencies and increase profitability. 

For more information visit the website.