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CEO Advisor® Newsletter
December 2010
Added Expertise Required for the "New Normal"

CEO Advisor can help you plan for 2011. 

The Great Recession has created a "New Normal" or the prospect of slower growth for years to come. Managing your business in this very different climate will require CEOs, presidents and business owners to move outside of their comfort zone. For the past two decades it has been possible (if not always achievable) to be successful simply by riding market growth. For now, those days are over. A different level of expertise will be required to grow and even survive in the near term.

To cope with these challenges, CEOs, presidents and business owners need to refine their strategy, sales, and marketing, as well as, reassess and redefine their way of doing business. You will have to reexamine how you make decisions and manage your company to grow and increase profits.

Managing in uncertain times will be a new test for most CEOs and small business owners. Some have been successful in challenging times. For example, during the Great Depression of 1929, companies such as DuPont, General Electric, IBM and Procter & Gamble defied the odds by generating profits and growth while competitors went bankrupt. But this success was achieved by utilizing top management techniques and expertise to grow and prosper in these challenging times.

Sights on Success
We must learn from past mistakes so we don't repeat them. We also need to learn from our past successes and the successes of proven methods. The following are seven lessons for today's leaders as they face the new era:

1. Be Aggressive. Invest in growth now while your competitors are weak. Bring in the needed expertise to plan and implement the needed changes to sales, marketing, product development, etc. Aggressive growth can be done very cost-effectively if you have the expertise with proven methods. CEO Advisor, Inc. advises on these proven methods to grow your business to the next level, and now is the time of the year to plan and implement the needed changes.

2. Increase Marketing to Unleash Sales. In tough economic times, marketing expenses are usually among the first to get cut. The key is to take a different approach to marketing using technology and specialized expertise to generate a high ROI. CEO Advisor, Inc. has helped many of our clients both plan and consistently execute marketing plans on a small budget with tremendous results.

3. Employ New Sales Strategies. At CEO Advisor, Inc. we speak to many CEOs of small businesses and find tremendous inefficiencies and lack of goals in the Sales department. This is the Number 1 most costly aspect of small business today. As a result, we see lost sales, lack of sales management, poor quality of salespeople, and lack of accountability. CEO Advisor, Inc has the expertise needed to hire or fire, if needed, create the right sales compensation plan for your business, train salespeople and implement effective sales teams to grow your business to the next level.

4. Focus on Customers. Despite the recession, your customers are spending money. Creating an Account Management Program to maximize both service and sales from your existing customers with recurring revenues is a tremendous win-win. This takes discipline, expertise and the commitment to service and upsell your customers effectively. CEO Advisor, Inc. has been very successful in implementing Account Management Programs for its clients to successfully expand the revenue from each customer while creating customer loyalty.

5. Invest in Opportunistic Acquisitions. To grow your business, organic growth is needed but is not your only option. Acquisitions completed during economic downturns when valuations are low and opportunities richer outperform those completed during strong economic times based on your return on investment. CEO Advisor, Inc. is certified in Mergers and Acquisitions from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania and we have helped our clients grow through very cost-effective acquisitions using little or no cash.

6. Invest in People Prudently. Retaining the best talent will become an even bigger challenge as slow growth limits career advancement opportunities. It is important to actively manage the attrition of lower-performing employees and quickly train or terminate the sub-optimal employees. Today's, CEOs will have to be innovative in their approach to employee compensation, opportunity and advancement.

7. Be a Leader. Successful leaders manage their time effectively, plan, forecast, adjust, and strategize. There is no time to waste. Wasted time is wasted money and lost sales. Leaders need to set clear expectations and clear goals. They drive results and motivate the team when tough decisions have to be made. Enhance your knowledge and skills as a CEO and business owner by bringing on a trusted advisor to work side by side with you for several months. This will change your business and your life.


Contact CEO Advisor, Inc. today at (949) 759-8676 in So. California, or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, by email at or visit us at for more information.

Critical Skills for the CEO/Owner

The Wharton December 2010 newsletter, published by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania did a recent poll of executives and business owners. The results below show the 4 most important skills that would strengthen their performance.

Strengthening what skill would most improve your performance?

Leadership - 33%

Time Management - 28%

Negotiating - 22%

Understanding Your Financials - 17%

1. Leadership. Without leadership and execution you will not make it in today's business world. Leadership requires planning, organization, forecasting, being proactive, having a crystal clear
understanding of the business both financially (quantitatively) and operationally (qualitatively), hiring and managing people of multiple generations and cultures for today and the future, and creating a culture of accountability to survive and grow in our current environment.

2. Time Management. Time management is the Achilles heel of most CEOs and small business owners. Not just managing time on a calendar and working 70 hours a week to keep up, but real strategy and planning to focus and structure your time to impact your business in a disciplined manner. CEO Advisor, Inc. works with its CEOs and small business owner clients to set goals and priorities, and truly excel in both leadership and time management.

3. Negotiating. Negotiating is the Holy Grail in business - with customers, prospects, vendors, employees, etc. As part of Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc.'s certification in Mergers and Acquisitions at the Wharton School, we focused deeply on negotiations using some of the top techniques used by military leaders and business people. Strengthening your negotiating skills can yield a 100X return on your investment. If you are not a master negotiator and salesperson, invest in your negotiating skills and prosper in 2011 and beyond.

4. Understanding Your Financials. If there is one New Year's resolution that every CEO and small business owner should commit to is gaining a thorough understanding of the financials of your business. If you don't, you are flying blind! This includes your Profit & Loss Statement (Accrual and Cash basis), Balance Sheet, Financial Ratios, creating a 2011 Financial Forecast, and learning to analyze and understand how to positively impact your financials and see early signs of problems. CEO Advisor, Inc. spends the time to ensure every client not only understands but uses their company's financials in growing their business to the next level.

Contact CEO Advisor, Inc. today at (949) 759-8676 in So. California, or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, by email at or visit us at for more information.


"Mark Hartsell, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc, is an invaluable asset to me as a business owner. His experience, insight, and guidance, his professionalism, and genuine concern for my success are why I strongly recommend CEO Advisor, Inc. to any business owner, large or small."


CEO, Media Company

"As a President of a mid-size technology company, I have been very pleased with the services provided by CEO Advisor®. He contributed in many areas, but identified marketing and sales as our primary need. His guidance and contributions have been invaluable in establishing and maintaining a meaningful marketing and sales program for the company. He is a knowledgeable business advisor and a pleasure to work with."
CEO/President, Engineering Services/Manufacturing Company

Whether it is growing a business to the next level, turning a distressed company around or preparing a company for an exit, Mark's firm, CEO Advisor, Inc, provides a broad range of services and Mark is there for the CEO every step of the way."



Haynes & Boone, LLP

Words of Wisdom

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."


Michael Jordan

Prime Minister of the U.K.