Helping nonprofits and privately-held companies become better at what they do
is what I do best.
Brief descriptions of current and previous projects:
The owner of a small technology business was experiencing terrific growth in number of clients, revenues, and employees. He knew he needed help ensuring that his growth was productive and profitable and that his management structure was sound enough to scale his company.
I came in to assist him in (1) improving his company's process of pitching and quoting new business; (2) ensuring that his pricing strategy was sound; (3) thinking about ways to expand product and service offerings; (4) considering whether he had the right employees in the right positions; (5) thinking about ways to source additional talent, (6) establishing policies and procedures for his employees; and (7) determining when the company would be ready for new office space.
At this point we have made material progress on several of these items, including making a couple of key new hires, moving into new office space, outsourcing the CFO function, changing his sourcing and hiring process; and reworking his employee policies. And we have a number of additional projects still underway.
A young, rapidly growing creative firm asked me if I could act as their business adviser on an as-needed basis. The principals of this company were craving some outside, unbiased advice as they considered their various routes to continued growth. After spending a bit of time with them, coming up to speed on their current business, as well as their hopes, dreams, and challenges, I have assisted them in an number of key strategic initiatives including adding a west coast presence, negotiating some key contracts, purchasing a new local facility, and working to ensure that their employee processes and policies are well in hand as they add additional employees.
A senior leader of a group of professionals felt that he was less effective in his new management role than he could be. He asked me if I would be willing to meet with him on a regular basis to discuss how he might achieve his goals of strong, sound leadership. Over the course of several months, we tackled everything from the design of the firm-wide meetings to the topics covered to the communication and management strategies he could use to be more valuable to his colleagues while simultaneously empowering them. We also reworked his financial model that drove compensation for the key employees, which has resulted in much smoother month end closings and compensation conversations.
A private financial services company wanted to evaluate its management structure and the impact that this structure was having on its corporate culture.
I developed a list of questions and interviewed close to 75% of the firm's employees. During these interviews, clear themes emerged, which enabled me to make a list of recommendations for the management team to consider. These recommendations ranged from the possibility of new hires to fill in some gaps in management, to rethinking the number, format, and objective of firm meetings, to making some changes in the physical organization of the office to facilitate a more productive working environment.
I was brought in to assist an Executive Director of a nonprofit organization brainstorm ways to deal with a very difficult board situation. Over the course of 2.5 hours, we strategized about ways to engage positive board members, neutralize more difficult ones, and effect a cultural shift on the board. But perhaps more importantly, the Executive Director came to realize that she had to take control of the Board dynamics in a way she had been reluctant to do.
I was brought into an assignment by a law firm, who was working with a client on a fundraising project. The law firm needed assistance in drafting a private placement memorandum to present to potential funding sources.
I conducted due diligence on the client and the project for which funds were being raised and then worked with the attorneys to draft a compelling presentation of the investment opportunity that was backed up by industry data, coherent financial projections, and a presentation of the client's qualifications.
I was hired to act as the "Contract COO" of a professional services firm, which was trying to decide if they were at the size where a full time COO was warranted. I worked a regular part-time schedule for a three-and-a-half month period. During this time, I documented a number of opportunities for a full time COO to improve the company's operations and also completed several operations-related and HR-related projects. At the end of this assignment, the management team determined that they would like to hire a COO. I assisted in drafting the position description and defining the key profile of ideal candidates. I helped them source a slate of potential hires and conducted some early-stage interviews to narrow the candidate pool.
I worked with a 501c-3 organization that had been running a deficit budget for the past couple of years on ideas to enhance the organization's sustainability. With the help of key staff members and a committee of experts from the community, we performed a SWOT analysis, brainstormed ideas for earned income that could take advantage of the organization's strengths, researched and fleshed out those ideas, and crafted a recommendation of several strategies that could be implemented over the coming months. This project spanned nine months, but was very rewarding in terms of bringing various constituencies into the conversations and building a shared understanding of the challenges and the opportunities facing the organization.
A nonprofit organization had a fee-for-service program that had been established for quite some time. The organization's leadership had a sense that perhaps the pricing of this program and the service delivery could be reframed in order to offer a more attractive product to its clients while at the same time increasing the financial sustainability of the program.
I surveyed the landscape of other organizations offering a similar program on the east coast, evaluated the structure of these programs and how they were priced, and made some recommendations to my client about changes to consider to their program. I built a financial model that allowed us to change certain key components of the program (pricing, number of clients, type of program offerings, compensation of program delivery personnel, etc.) so that we could "test" certain decisions from a financial standpoint.
I also offered a number of suggestions about ways additional revenue for the program could be generated.
An entrepreneurial nonprofit was having difficulty determining which of its many ideas for earned income were viable and deserved focus.
I interviewed the staff leaders who were bringing these ideas to the Executive Director, researched the viability of each idea from the perspectives of revenue generating potential and resource requirements, concluded which ones had the greatest potential for impact over the near and the intermediate term, and then put together "blueprints" for how to execute on these opportunities.
The Executive Director of a 501c-3 direct services provider knew that one of the key processes involved in providing services to clients was not efficient or effective. It needed to be reorganized and streamlined.
I came in and observed the organization's employees performing this function on two separate occasions, created a number of recommendations for process improvement (many of which related to better use of technology), observed the employees again to back check my recommendations, and then worked with the leadership and a technology vendor to develop tools that would enable the process improvements.