10 Warning Signs Your Business is Out of Focus

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
May 14, 2014

Your business strategy is crystal-clear, sharply-focused, and well-versed – or is it? Do your employees, customers, and vendors really know your core competencies? Are you certain everyone understands your plan to achieve your mission and vision?

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How to find a banker who adds value to your business

May 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business Growth 

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
May 20, 2014

As long as capitalism survives in the United States, there will be bankers and business owners. Whatever the stage of the business cycle, one will need the other more. If bankers are lending freely, there’s a good chance owners don’t need to borrow (and the reverse is true).

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Why your company should avoid venture capital

May 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business Growth 

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
April 7, 2014

You need capital for your company to grow, but you may want to reconsider venture capital.

The basic problem with partnering with venture capitalists is that their need to earn quick, big returns conflicts with your goal of building your business. Growing a company’s customer base rarely enriches a venture capitalist as much as the next round of investors.

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How to know a business owner is about to fall from grace (and what to do about it)

April 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business Growth, Profitable Growth 

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
March 4, 2014

 

Good, smart people start companies, and they go into business with ambition and a sense of purpose. So, why do some of them make decisions that are painful to watch?

Even when the owner is pompous or self-righteous, it’s easy to flinch when terrible choices lead to them to lose their way — and then lose everything.

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4 ways to make your own luck in business

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
March 18,  2014

The saying “it’s better to be lucky than smart” is often used to describe successful CEOs who aren’t necessarily  the smartest people in the room.

Despite flopping in the classroom, not coming from money, or not attending a top school, some of these business owners become quite successful.

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5 police strategies that businesses should adopt

April 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business Growth, Profitable Growth 

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
February 25, 2014

 

You think you have problems? Try being a cop.

Years ago, I went on a police ride-along in Pittsburgh’s highest crime zone. During that Saturday graveyard shift, the officer and I responded to nonstop calls about gunshots, domestic violence, armed intruders, crack-addict beatings, fugitive surveillance, and gang hangouts.

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How to fix your sales process so you won’t ever be disappointed in a sales rep again

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
February 4, 2014

 

Have you ever screamed, “Why can’t I hire good sales reps?!”

If so, you might be asking the wrong question. The problem might be your company’s sales process, not the salespeople.

Are your sales reps failing for these reasons?

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Menard USA Doubles Sales With Help From Andy Birol

Background

Menard (www.menardusa.com) a design-build specialty geotechnical contractor who offers value engineering and innovative techniques to deliver practical, sustainable solutions such as controlled modulus columns (CMC’s), which are a technologically superior alternative to deep (pile) foundations that support buildings. Under the leadership of its CEO, Seth Pearlman, Menard had experienced great success by servicing general contractors and highway contractors as well as property owners in the energy, commercial building sectors.

The Challengemenard_2014

Despite the great recession of 2008, Menard’s business was good, but Seth was not satisfied. The company was dependent on a few large accounts, increasingly challenged to differentiate itself from competitors and its growth strategy was not as clearly defined as it could be. Seth saw opportunities to take Menard to the next level of growth. and hired Andy Birol of Birol Growth Consulting to provide an objective, unbiased and aggressive action plan to double the size of Menard. “After first meeting Andy in 2008, I engaged Andy’s services as Menard’s Strategic Growth Consultant in November of 2009.  As his first client in Pittsburgh, I was able to get to know him personally as he and his family relocated to Pittsburgh. I was impressed with his confidence and ability to understand our business, learn what our market really needed and help us implement a breakthrough strategy”

Results

After extensively analyzing all of Menard’s practices and interviewing its management and sales engineers, Andy personally traveled across the country to interview over a dozen building owners, general contractors, governmental procurement offices and leaders of oil refineries to understand why Menard’s customers chose to buy from his client. In doing so, Andy articulated and presented an innovative growth strategy that was fully embraced by Seth and his management team. The growth strategy, which included a:

  • ·         Focus on educating customers and those who influence customers
  • ·         Strong lead generation program
  •  ·         Emphasis on developing the sales engineering function
  •  ·         Creation of a marketing communication initiative

By 2013, Menard has nearly tripled its sales and now is no longer dependent on a few customers for the results.

Seth Pearlman, reflects on the last four years and Andy’s contributions as follows:

“Andy created a breakthrough for our business by using educational programs, recommending a new selling process, focusing us on high-potential market niches and finally, creating communication and tracking tools which brought terrific results and a greater sense of control over our business. Working with Andy was an intensive but highly rewarding process. He is a driven, results-oriented professional who not only understands how to create a new approach to growing a technical business, but most importantly, how to sell a different approach to Menard’s skeptical engineers who were not used to business growth processes.”

 “Andy is remarkable at understanding and pushing us past our comfort zones, not by changing our core values or what we do, but by leveraging what he calls our Best and Highest Use.  Andy’s thought leadership created management commitment and his unflappable style empowers optimism.  He not only raised our belief in how much more we can grow our business but was relentless in pushing us to achieve this growth. We are so pleased with Andy that we have just rehired him to take Menard to the next level of growth.” 

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The real root causes for 5 problems your company is facing

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Article posted in The Business Journals
by Andy Birol, Contributing Writer
January 7, 2014

All businesses have problems. These usually revolve around sales, staff, costs, recruitment, and the future.

Just ask the owner, “What keeps you up at night?”

The likely answer: “I worry that a customer, employee, vendor or investor might lose confidence and leave. Start probing and you ultimately uncover what is really going on. The owner’s first responses are symptoms and his ultimate answers should reveal the root causes.

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Analysts: Pa. Court Gives Ohio More Shale Potential

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Marcellus Shale, Uncategorized, Utica Shale 

By Dan O’BrienJan2014
Crain’s Cleveland Business

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that empowers municipalities in that state to regulate oil and gas exploration could lead to more drilling and business opportunities in Ohio, consultants say.

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