Business Analysis

I remember when I was fresh out of my graduate degree, an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati. I had a friend named C. Thomas Clifton. He was one of the brightest minds I had ever met. He was retired and helping small businesses through the Senior Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE).

I remember talking with him and telling him how I would like to do consulting for businesses. Now, I don't remember if he laughed before he sat me down and explained to me that a person ought not get into consulting until they had a great deal of practical workplace experience.

He had a tie clasp he wore that had the acronym on it, YCDBSOYA. That stood for, you can't do business sitting on your ass.

I took his advice and off into the business world I went to experience the real world, not the halls of academia. Now, decades later, I do have some experience, experience that focuses on smaller companies.

Recently I was talking with a motivated young man wanting to rise up in the ranks of Nike. I suggested to him that he watch every episode of the television program The Profit. I will recommend that to you also. It is a master's level course in business analysis. I have watched every episode.

Does your business need analysis? Only you would sense whether or not some observations and calculations would be worthwhile. It takes me time to understand the operations of another business and it is important to know that each business has pecularities that must be understood and considered. Generally, a business needs outside analysis if it is not being profitable enough or if there are ongoing issues with meeting deadlines, retaining employees, or not meeting customer expectations. Being the owner or manager of any business comes with blind spots that limit the companies growth or profitability.

One more story: When starting Designedge back in 1999 I went to the Olympia SCORE office and met with a volunteer. I told him about the plan to start Designedge sketched out on a napkin. He was not pleased. He wanted to see a business plan, projections, marketing plan, cash flow analysis and so on. I told him we didn't really need any of that as it was self evident to me that with the skill set of my partner and my work ethic that we would be sucessful. He couldn't agree less with me. However, sometimes complicated business analysis and planning is not necessary. For those of you that follow football, getting a seasoned quarterback like Tom Brady to manage your on field team is a no brainer. From such understandings superbowls are won.