Uncovering Opportunities for Business Growth

ceo-club-feb-14-photo-4Our first meeting of the year got off to a swift start with a rapid-fire session on sales growth and business expansion. We had a great turnout as many eager minds joined us to learn about new ways of thinking about growing their businesses. Through a series of contemporary examples, Sandra illuminated some of the high-impact ways to strategically grow revenue and expand business in competitive markets.

According to Sandra, there are several key developments and trends to watch for to increase revenue, such as:

B-Corporations

B Corps (Benefit Corporations) are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 2,035 Certified B Corps from 50 countries, 30 states, and over 130 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business. Laureate Education is the first B-Corp to execute an IPO this year in January, and investors are lining up to invest in companies with a strong triple-bottom-line.

ceo-club-feb-14-photo-1Multi-stakeholder Models

Focusing on the power of collaboration, representatives from every facet of a project or undertaking get together for a shared purpose, leverage resources, and drive powerful results. The first successful example of this was a coalition between Fair Trade USA, the Government of Brazil, the university (Minas Gerais), executives from Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart, and the coffee farmers (Marquez de Paiva), who worked together to achieve revenue and social responsibility goals, resulting in rapid growth, industry awards, and long-term sustainable practices.

Strategic Partnerships

The right partnership at the right time and place can stimulate growth at unprecedented rates, by providing new direction and energy to companies and their expansion campaigns. Parties can share expertise, resources, co-branding, promotions, and distribution into new markets. And what better example of this than our very own Lagunitas Brewing Co., who teamed up with Heineken to roll out to 10 new international markets in 6 months – a feat that would otherwise be insurmountable for the boutique brewery we’ve always known and loved.

ceo-club-feb-14-photo-2In today’s business landscape, successful leaders need to be nimble and adaptive. They need to keep a watchful eye on trends and promises of the future, and in some cases, even come to terms with the changes around them before their businesses fade out of the market.

The US Census bureau reported that as of July 2014 Latinos as the largest single ethnic group in the state of CA  at 39%, projected to hit 49% by year 2060. Demographics are changing; accelerator models are picking up steam; biodynamic food products are hitting the market feverishly, and direct-to-consumer channels are growing momentum via new and improved technologies.

Now more than ever, business opportunities are democratized and it’s not unusual for a small new player on the scene to take on an industry giant through innovation, social advantage, or added value to customers. Companies are investing more time and resources on innovation and new roles, such as Chief Growth Officers, are taking leadership of marketing and innovation departments in fast-growing companies.

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How will you think about growth this year? What are the steps you’re taking in your business to propel into new markets and capitalize on new opportunities? Do you recommend other notable/novel growth strategies you’d like to share with our group?

Big thanks to everyone who was able to join us this week, and our utmost gratitude goes out to Sandra Beaton for a dynamic presentation that engaged everyone, instilled new perspectives, and made sure everyone learned at least one new thing at the breakfast meeting.

And if you missed your lesson of the day, here’s the Beaton Growth Model you can follow on your next strategy session!

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To learn more about some of the topics Sandra spoke about, check out these resources:

sandra-beatonSandra Beaton is the Founder and CEO of a unique bi-lingual (Spanish), woman-owned consulting firm, Beaton Global Connections, based in Northern CA. Her mission, vision and values are aligned to make a difference and support authentic impact on a global, national or local scale. We drive results in both for profit and non-profit organizations based on innovative and strategic approaches. Her expertise incorporates driving significant revenue and brand growth, with simultaneous improvements in economic, social justice, and environmental issues.

On the Beaton path”, we walk together, collaborate and focus to achieve new levels of success. We lead growth with a wide range of clients for strategic planning and partnerships, business development, brand development, corporate philanthropy and social responsibility (triple bottom line results) and customized programs and promotions. Her success has been driven by a deep passion for helping others achieve their goals, developing authentic relationships which result in new business, and creating strategic and effective multi-stakeholder partnerships. She has experience working in the Food and Beverage, Wholesale/Retail, Hospitality/Tourism, Wine and Spirits and Technology industries.

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Thank you Sandra!

Annual Holiday Party hosted by Stanton Chase- San Francisco

Thank you to everyone for joining us for annual Holiday Party! It’s delightful to be accompanied with so many great personalities and warm smiles. We enjoyed seeing our long-time friends and making a few new ones too! We appreciate your company, generous contributions, and above all, your friendship.

Many of you expressed gratitude for the party and appreciation for the new friends you made. This is really the essence of our mission… bringing people together as professionals, building trust and kinship, learn together, and nurturing our network.  We do this to encourage one another, grow and succeed together, and celebrate the good times hand in hand, year after year. The holiday party was a manifestation of this and the credit goes to everyone in attendance and our trusted vendors, partners, and the Stanton Chase team!

It’s been a very successful year for the CEO Club of Marin, focusing on “Executive Challenges” and for the COO-Forum’s Marin chapter. We are very excited to continue our growth in 2017, and invite you to participate in our leadership and programming.

Enjoy these photos and Happy Holidays…see you in the New Year!

 

How Does a Business Keep a Promise

img_0175On Tuesday, the CEO Club of Marin met in conjunction with the North Bay Leadership Council and Dominican University of California to produce the Business Edge Briefing Breakfast for November 2016. Our featured speaker, Elizabeth Doty, gave a stimulating presentation on “How does a Business keep a Promise.”

Ms. Doty, a graduate of the Harvard Business School and a member of Harvard’s thought leadership community, is an active business consultant in her own practice, entitled Leadership Momentum. The audience was a mix of local business leaders, community leaders, and faculty, staff, and students from Dominican University looking to learn and improve their business acumen.

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Elizabeth’s presentation started off with a reminder of the promises that businesses make. Every slogan is a promise! Brands are promises of an experience. Company culture statements are promises. Most companies believe that they keep their promises to customers 80% of the time, while customers would score them at 8% on living out these promises. The type of promises companies make depends on what is going on in the economy, society, product development cycles, etc.

img_0165Ms. Doty went on to reveal six challenges companies face in keeping promises, and had the audience complete her survey of the 6 challenges within their own firms. The results revealed that People and Processes & Systems were the top two of the six factors across all companies represented by the audience today.

People challenges include gaining clarity and commitment to the company mission, having managers who support and challenge front-line staff, and listening and learning from front-line employees.

img_0239Processes & Systems challenges include creating systems that can be consistently and easily followed, that support the company’s promises, and provide for accountability across internal groups.

The other four challenges include Strategic Clarity, Leadership, Culture, and Measures & Feedback Systems. If you want to learn more about these six challenges, Ms. Doty has graciously agreed to share her presentation with our members who could not join us on Tuesday.

img_0217You can review Ms. Doty’s slides below, and follow the links to further your knowledge on the secrets of success in keeping brand promises.

In closing, we’d like to thank Elizabeth Doty, Dominican University’s Business Edge Briefings, and the North Bay Leadership Council for putting together such a great and successful event.

Looking forward to partnering on future events again!

Elizabeth Doty’s Presentation 

Further Reading

How to be a Great Board Member

Walt RoseOur September speaker, Walt Rose, gave an insightful and personal recap of his 30+ years of service on Boards of Directors. His experience ranged from private, public, and non-profit boards to advisory boards and school boards. He served on most major committees, and chaired both committees and boards. Some board terms were great successes, and others were terrible failures!

Here are some of the learnings Walt shared with our Club members in attendance:

Lesson #1 – Board service is more of an Art than a Science

Be of service to the organization, over yourself. Be informed. Be judicious. Exercise good judgment. Know when to speak up, and when to let it rest. Don’t be timid. Use your instinct to decide what is important, and to fill in the data-gaps when making decisions.

Lesson #2 – The most important relations is between the Board and the CEO

Hiring, evaluating, mentoring, and firing, but not micromanaging. Be careful mixing friendship with Board-ship.

Lesson #3 – When on a non-profit board, then be a great fundraiser!

Be prepared to give of both time and treasure. Own the fundraising campaign…don’t delegate. Be an active member of the campaign. Takes money to raise money. Thank your donors.

Lesson #4 – Know the attributes of your desired Board member

Judgment, experience, motivation, interest, values, style, ability to mentor/coach, ask the tough questions, strong network, willingness to make the tough calls.

Mr. Rose shared beautiful examples and explained each lesson in an engaging, witty manner meant to arm and educate each one of us to be successful in our board work today and tomorrow. His passion for boards was palpable, and attendees could tell that he added much value to his organizations and treated each board role as a privilege.

Thank you, Walt Rose, for your contribution to the CEO Club of Marin!

Failures – Opportunities in Disguise… When Embraced Properly

DSC_1200You know the old adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” It refers to the importance of keeping a vigilant eye on things that may be a threat to you. The same applies to business and failure; as a business leader, how you deal with failures can be the downfall of your business, or can result in opportunities for subtle improvement, or even disruptive positive change.

DSC_1211Who better to speak on this topic then long-time CEO Club member, Mark Coopersmith, an accomplished Entrepreneur, Executive, Educator, and Author of THE OTHER F WORD: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to WorkAs an award-winning professor at U.C. Berkeley’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, Mark enlightened us with his learnings on how to leverage failure to drive innovation, growth, and employee engagement in your organization.

DSC_1207Mark shared a series of study cases that illustrate this concept. Ever heard of the app Burbn? Not many people have… it was first launched as a full-suite app that  let users check in at particular locations, make plans for future check-ins, earn points for hanging out with friends, post pictures of the meet-ups, etc. This app wasn’t very successful; users thought the app was too complicated and weren’t using most of the features. The company began to delve deep into their failure, asking users for feedback and focusing on giving their customers what they wanted. It quickly became clear that even though the app did not gain much traction, there was one feature that users loved – and that was the photo sharing app. Founders of the app decided to scrap 90% of the product and keep only the photo app, aiming for the utmost simplicity. The new app was called Instagram and was sold for $1 billion to Facebook in 2012.

DSC_1215There are countless examples of companies who were cognizant of their failures and set out to learn from their mistakes, and plenty others who failed to do so. Mark’s insights on how to leverage failure to discover new opportunities resonated deeply among the attendees, who’ve all faced failure at some point in their careers and learned to turn downfalls into chances to learn and do something new and different.

How can you leverage failure for innovation? Mark Coopersmith and co-author John Danner have identified the 7 Steps of The Failure Value Cycle and created a model that can be used to dissect and re-purpose failure.  Here are some key elements:

The Failure Value Cycle Diagram

The Failure Value Cycle

  1. Respect | Accept that failure is a natural part of business; no risk = no innovation
  2. Rehearse | Prepare for different circumstances
  3. Recognize | Identify the mistakes that were made
  4. React | Act swiftly to acknowledge the issue and resolve it before it grows and spreads
  5. Reflect | Look back to understand what went wrong and why
  6. Rebound | Re-craft your approach based on your learnings from the failure
  7. Remember | Carry these lessons with you into your next mission and objectives

Our gratitude goes out to Mark Coopersmith for a thought-provoking discussion on how we, fellow CEOs and Business Owners, can be more successful in business.

A Lovely Evening with CEO Club of Marin, COO Forum, and friends of Stanton Chase

Our biggest turnout yet at this year’s Annual Summer BBQ -72 people were in attendance! We had a wonderful time meeting interesting folks from different walks of life. The night was filled with interesting stories, engaging discussions, and new connections that will hopefully grow into new friendships and partnerships.

Special thanks to John Stewart of Cast Winery who kept the drinks flowing all evening and shared his extensive knowledge of wine with our guests. Also a big Thank You to Jack Seifrick, owner of Cast Winery, and to Thumbprint Cellars for sponsoring our events, sharing their wines, and helping make the event a great success.

Many thanks to our guests who were able to join us on Tuesday, and for the delicious food, drinks, and thoughtful gifts you all brought!

The mission of the CEO Club of Marin and the COO Forum is to bring together business leaders in spirit of camaraderie, networking, and education – to create an environment in which our peers and colleagues can meet new friends, explore new opportunities, and support one another in confidence and goodwill. The summer social was an exemplary manifestation of this and the credit goes to everyone in attendance and our trusted vendors, partners, and the Stanton Chase team!

Cast Winery LogoThumbprint Cellars Logo

 

 

 

Testimonials from the event:

“That was a wonderful event–I am so pleased that I was on the invite list –and so pleased that I accepted.”

“[We] very much enjoyed the great weather, fine food and excellent company at your home.”

“Thank you for creating such a lovely evening for us all! I met many new and remarkable people.” 

Enjoy the photos from the event and we hope to see you again for our December Holiday Party!

When Every Business Challenge Seems Important AND Urgent

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This month’s CEO Club meeting featured Sandra LeDrew, formerly President of Americas for Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) and also former President of beverage giant Diageo Chateau & Estate. She joined us to share her experience in overcoming an “Executive Challenge,” our 2016 theme.  Sandra’s selection as speaker reflected the influence of Stanton Chase’s newly-launched North Bay Office, focusing heavily on Consumer Products/Food/Wine.  Sandra has run top-line growth for arguably two of the world’s top wine companies located in the North Bay, and focused her presentation on the challenges and solutions when facing many priorities at once…her immediate case when she attempted to increase sales volume for Treasury Wine Estates’ portfolio of 80+ brands in North America.

20160614_080407After missing targets for the last 7 periods, TWE asked her to first uncover the variables affecting revenue, and then control those variables to drive significant increases in revenue and meet their goals.  She inherited a company whose Board of Directors resided in Melbourne, Australia, and had a four-year, complicated, and multi-tiered strategic plan for TWE North America. Sandra uncovered an overwhelming number of variables and desired changes, all of which were deemed important AND urgent! Though a turnaround was necessary, where to begin?

LeDrew created a strategy for tackling a multitude of “Top Priorities” at the same time, and also created an internal review committee key department VP’s who would serve as the TWE transformation team going forward.  A new vision was needed and it needed to be communicated to company employees, vendors and disenfranchised wholesale partners to make the plan work. To keep the committee on task, they met monthly to report progress in their “Seven Workstreams” of re-alignment and reported annually to the Board for updates.

20160614_080209As is always the case, a review of whether the company had the best talent in the right roles was critical to the success of this culture change. Significant EBITDA improvements, inventory adjustments, and positive morale resulted from her four-year tenure at the helm of TWE, North America. LeDrew finally helped to arrange the purchase of competitor Diageo’s wine portfolio in December of 2015 for $600MM, making TWE the world’s largest wine company.

For any business leader battling with multiple priorities where everything seems important AND urgent, LeDrew had some key learnings to share:

  • Executive Team Must Be Committed
    • Effective delegation is paramount to the success of a leader.
    • Each member of the executive team must take full responsibility of his/her workstream and reflect a common mindset for growth and success.
  • Best Talent in Key Roles
    • Finding the right people for the right-fitting role is a real difference-maker when it comes to motivating your team and expecting the best results.
  • Culture Changes with Improved Performance
    • Culture and performance create feedback loops that influence one another.
    • It is very difficult to change culture, but improving performance not only creates the opportunity for actionable strategies but in return changes the culture and how your team sees themselves.
  • Expect the Unexpected
    • No matter how thorough you may be, expect that things will come up that you did not anticipate.
    • Stay nimble, adaptive, and ready to re-prioritize tactics at any given time (just don’t change the goals as often!).

20160614_085935Thanks to Sandra LeDrew for an informative and engaging presentation on “Overcoming an Executive Challenge,” our 2016 theme for the CEO Club of Marin!  See everyone July 12th at the CEO Club BBQ!