The Thinc Tank

Thinc Strategy helps owners and leaders intentionally create the value they want for themselves, their team, and their business through every life cycle of the business. 

Cybersecurity threats cast a shadow of significant risk to businesses of all sizes.  Creating a security-minded culture has become paramount for safeguarding sensitive data, protecting digital assets, and mitigating potential cyberattacks.  Promoting a culture of security not only strengthens organizational resilience but cultivates trust among employees, customers, and stakeholders.

By prioritizing cybersecurity awareness, education, and proactive measures, companies can empower their workforce to recognize and respond to security threats effectively.  Here are some practical steps to foster such a culture:

  • Leadership buy-in:  Leadership commitment sets the tone from the top for security priorities. When executives prioritize security, it underscores the importance of security to all employees. 
  • Education and Training:  Conduct ongoing security awareness training covering topics such as phishing, password hygiene, and safe browsing. Tailor training to specific roles, such as finance and IT, to address their unique security challenges.
  • Clear policies and procedures:  Develop and communicate security policies in a clear and accessible manner. Ensure that employees understand how to report incidents and follow the company’s incident response procedures effectively.
  • Positive reinforcement:  Recognize and reward employees who report suspicious activities or adhere to security protocols. Positive reinforcement supports desired behaviors and encourages active participation in security practices.
  • Regular communication:  Share security updates, tips, and success stories through newsletters and town hall meetings. Open communication channels facilitate awareness and encourage engagement in security initiatives.
  • Security champions:  Identify security advocates within different teams who can promote security awareness and serve as points of contact for questions or concerns. Empowering these champions helps foster a grassroots approach to security awareness.

It’s important to recognize that building a culture of security awareness is an ongoing commitment to vigilance, security improvement and education. Consistent effort and reinforcement are necessary to embed security practices into the organization’s DNA and ensure continued vigilance against evolving threats. By investing in the development of a security-conscious workforce, companies can strengthen their defenses, build resilience against cyber threats, and safeguard their valuable assets in today’s digital age.

Navigating the complexities of modern technology landscapes while aligning IT strategies with business objectives is a demanding task for any organization. In response to this challenge, many companies turn to fractional Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to provide strategic guidance and expertise on a part-time or project basis.

However, operating in a fractional capacity comes with its own set of unique challenges. From balancing strategic planning with day-to-day operational tasks to understanding diverse organizational cultures and managing limited resources, fractional CIOs must adeptly navigate a range of obstacles to drive successful IT outcomes.

Outlined below are some common challenges faced by fractional CIOs in today’s dynamic business environment.

  • Resource constraints: Organizations often hire fractional CIOs due to budget limitations.  These organizations may lack a full-time CIO, but still need strategic IT leadership.  The fractional CIO needs to work with resource constraints for knowledge transfer while providing valuable insights and guidance on automation and innovation. 
  • Organizational dynamics: as an external leader, a fractional CIO must quickly adapt to the organizational culture, politics, and stakeholder relationships. Building trust, alignment, and rapport with the executive team and other stakeholders is essential for success. 
  • Technology complexity:  Keeping abreast of rapidly evolving technologies and determining the most suitable solutions for each organization’s needs can be challenging. Fractional CIOs must stay informed about industry trends and best practices to make informed recommendations.
  • Security and data management: CIOs face technology challenges related to data security, governance, and compliance.  Balancing security measures with the business needs is essential for protecting the organization’s assets.
  • Managing change:  Implementing technology changes often involves overcoming resistance from employees and stakeholders.  A CIO needs strong change management skills to facilitate smooth transitions and drive adoption of new technologies.
  • Measuring success:  Defining and measuring the success of IT initiatives can be challenging, especially in a fractional role where outcomes may not be immediately apparent. Fractional CIOs must establish clear metrics and KPIs to track progress and demonstrate the value of their contributions.

While the role of a fractional CIO offers flexibility and expertise, it also presents distinct challenges that require careful navigation and strategic foresight. From managing diverse organizational cultures to optimizing resource allocation and balancing strategic vision with operational realities, fractional CIOs must overcome various hurdles to drive effective IT strategies.

To mitigate these challenges, companies can establish clear expectations of communication, establish well-defined objectives and priorities, provide adequate support and resources and foster strong collaboration with stakeholders.  Maintaining open lines of communication and regularly reassessing the role’s effectiveness can help address any emerging issues and align the role with the company’s strategic direction.

In the current interconnected digital environment, prioritizing the protection of company data and sensitive information, as well as safeguarding digital infrastructure, is imperative for organizations across all scales. Despite advancements in cybersecurity technology and awareness, many businesses still fall victim to avoidable security pitfalls. From weak password practices to neglecting software updates and overlooking employee training, common security mistakes can leave organizations vulnerable to cyber threats.

Understanding and avoiding these pitfalls are critical for maintaining the integrity and security of organizational data and other assets. Outlined below are some of the more prevalent security mistakes made by businesses:

  • Weak password practices:  Even in today’s environment, weak passwords remain a significant issue.  Using easily guessable or reused passwords puts your company and customer/employee data at risk. 
  • Failure to keep software up to date:  Delaying software updates leaves vulnerabilities unpatched.  Hackers may actively exploit these weaknesses. 
  • Gaps in employee training and awareness:  Phishing scams that rely on human trust and lack of awareness are prevalent.  Stolen credentials from phishing attacks grant hackers access to your systems. 
  • Neglecting to use multi-factor authentication (MFA):  MFA adds an extra layer of security beyond passwords.  Failing to implement it increases the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Ignoring mobile security:  Companies often overlook mobile devices.  Yet, the devices often have access to sensitive and confidential data through email and mobile applications.  Inadequate mobile security exposes your organization to additional risks. 
  • Inadequate backups:   Without comprehensive backup strategies, organizations may struggle to recover critical data in the event of hardware failures, cyberattacks, or accidental deletions. Limited backups increase the likelihood of permanent data loss, leading to financial losses, reputational damage, and non-compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Lack of managed IT service:  Relying solely on internal resources can lead to gaps in security, system performance and customer services.  Managed IT services provide expertise and proactive monitoring. 

Businesses often succumb to preventable security oversights, putting their sensitive data and digital infrastructure in jeopardy. Weak password practices, delayed software updates, and inadequate employee training create vulnerabilities to cyber threats. Proactive investment in robust security not only shields businesses from potential breaches but also nurtures trust among customers and stakeholders in an increasingly digitized business environment.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, a well-defined digital strategy is crucial for businesses aiming to thrive and stay ahead of the curve. It’s more than just adopting the latest technologies; it’s about aligning digital initiatives with overarching business goals to drive sustainable growth and success.

Crafting a digital strategy can be complex, and it’s important to steer clear of common pitfalls. Here are several pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Unclear objectives and target audience:  Many organizations embark on a digital strategy without establishing clear objectives and desired outcomes. Without these objectives, businesses may find it challenging to prioritize digital initiatives and allocate resources effectively. This can result in a scattergun approach, with resources spread across multiple platforms without a cohesive strategy.
  • Lack of agility, adaptability, and resilience:  The digital landscape evolves rapidly. Organizations that resist change or fail to adapt can quickly fall behind. It’s crucial to stay agile, experiment with new approaches, and monitor performance to stay relevant and competitive.
  • Sole focus on technology:  Digital strategy isn’t just about technology; it often requires significant changes in workflows, roles, organizational culture, and end-user adoption. Overlooking organizational alignment and change management can result in decreased adoption and confusion.
  • Neglecting security and risk:  Security measures are essential to protect digital assets from threats like data breaches and cyberattacks. Prioritizing security throughout the design and implementation of a digital strategy is crucial to maintain trust with customers.
  • Failure to prioritize integrations:  Implementing disparate digital solutions without considering how they integrate with existing systems and processes can lead to inefficiencies and data silos. Seamless integration across platforms and departments maximizes effectiveness and productivity.
  • Underestimating resources:  Underestimating the resources (i.e. time, budget, and resource expertise) required to execute a digital strategy can cause delays, cost overruns, and subpar results. It’s important to conduct a thorough resource assessment and allocate resources accordingly.

Remember, a successful digital strategy requires a blend of technology, security, data, and human-centric thinking.  Address these risk areas and you’ll be on the right path!

Rapid change is fueled by technology, evolving client needs, and heightened competition. Adapting and innovating are now critical for firms to sustain competitiveness. Automation stands out as a transformative strategy. The following six items outline why organizations should prioritize and speed up their adoption of automation.

Staying Competitive in a Dynamic Landscape:  Many industries are evolving rapidly with market shifts and technological innovations. Embracing automation is essential for firms to thrive. It streamlines processes, enhances quality, and boosts efficiency, positioning firms as industry leaders.

Unlocking Operational Efficiency and Productivity Gains:  Automation can optimize an organization’s operations, enhancing organization-wide productivity. By automating tasks like drafting and documentation, firms save time and resources, allowing employees to focus on higher-value activities. Automation improves resource scheduling and management, accelerating project delivery, reducing costs, and increasing profitability.

Enhancing Collaboration and Communication:  In our interconnected world, collaboration and communication are vital for project success. Automation tools enable seamless collaboration among stakeholders, facilitating real-time information sharing, task coordination, deliverable review, and project objective alignment. By fostering cross-functional collaboration, automation enhances transparency, accountability, controls, and teamwork.

Improving Accuracy and Consistency:  Manual processes and disparate systems are error-prone, causing rework, delays, and cost overruns. Automation minimizes human error by standardizing workflows, enforcing best practices, and ensuring data accuracy. It enhances project deliverables’ quality and reliability, increasing client satisfaction and trust.

Adapting to Evolving Client Expectations:  Client expectations are changing quickly, fueled by sustainability, efficiency, and innovation. Automation empowers organizations to surpass these expectations by delivering projects more efficiently, integrating sustainable design, and utilizing advanced technologies like robot process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI). Embracing automation helps firms stand out in the market and appeal to clients seeking innovation and excellence.

Future-proof the business:  In a fast-evolving landscape, adaptation and innovation are vital for sustained success. Automation empowers an organization to anticipate market shifts, seize emerging opportunities, and maintain relevance. Investing in automation now positions firms for long-term growth, resilience, and relevance.

The necessity for an organization to adopt automation is evident. By leveraging automation as a strategic tool, firms can boost operational efficiency, drive productivity, foster collaboration, improve quality and controls, meet client expectations, and future-proof their businesses. This approach unlocks opportunities for growth, innovation, and success in a competitive industry.

Ensuring technology projects align with business needs is essential for delivering stakeholder value. Risks like scope creep, unclear requirements, and shifting priorities can jeopardize project success. To address these risks, organizations should conduct comprehensive requirements analysis, accurately define project scope, and establish effective mechanisms for managing scope changes.  While these initiatives promise to enhance efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness, they also present significant risks that must be carefully managed.

  • Integration with legacy systems:  Legacy systems can pose compatibility challenges when integrating with modern technologies, risking data inconsistencies, limited vendor support, and potential loss. Without a clear strategy and robust testing, organizations risk operational disruption, compromised data integrity, and cost overruns.
  • Data migration: Migrating data from legacy systems to modern platforms comes with its share of challenges. Issues like data integrity, system downtime, and compliance violations are common. Additionally, modern systems may need extra data not found in legacy solutions, leading to manual efforts to gather and identify this information.
  • Change management (end-user adoption):  Change management is vital for a smooth transition in technology projects. Yet, resistance, communication breakdowns, and insufficient training can derail well-planned initiatives. Organizations should prioritize stakeholder engagement, offer comprehensive training, and foster a culture that embraces innovation and change to effectively mitigate these risks and facilitate smoother acceptance of new technology.
  • Stakeholder Management:  Effective stakeholder management is essential for aligning project objectives with organizational goals. When expectations diverge, stakeholders may not be engaged with decisions taking forever, project progress can be impeded, potentially resulting in failure. However, if you setup transparent ways to communication, define roles and responsibilities clearly, and actively listen to what key stakeholders have to say, organizations can effectively address these challenges and foster consensus regarding project direction and outcomes.
  • Business requirements alignment:  Ensuring technology projects align with business needs is essential for delivering stakeholder value. Risks like scope creep, unclear requirements, and shifting priorities can jeopardize project success. To address these risks, organizations should conduct comprehensive requirements analysis, accurately define project scope, and establish effective mechanisms for managing scope changes.
  • Process review and optimization:  When implementing new technology solutions, a standard practice is to review current processes and workflows to optimize with the new technology.  However, changes to current processes carry risks such as resistance to change, inadequate training, and lack of sustainability. Engaging employees at all levels, providing continuous training, and establishing metrics to measure success are effective risk mitigation strategies.

Effective project management is an effective way to mitigate these risks and is crucial for delivering projects on time and within budget. Implementing project management standard practices can provide the overall management of the project and keep an eye on potential risks.  With an experienced project manager, the risks associated with integration, migration, change management, stakeholder management, and business requirements alignment, organizations can increase the likelihood of project success and achieve their strategic objectives in today’s dynamic digital environment. Through careful planning, stakeholder engagement, and effective risk mitigation strategies, organizations can navigate the complexities of technology projects and drive meaningful business outcomes.

Technology is vital for businesses to innovate, operate efficiently, and stay competitive. Choosing the right software is a big decision that can impact a company’s business operations and performance. But picking software isn’t easy—it requires careful thought and consideration of many factors to ensure the best results. It’s important for organizations to have a thorough approach to selecting software and the benefits it brings.

  • Strategic Alignment: It’s crucial to start by understanding the organization’s goals and needs. By making sure software choices match these broader objectives, stakeholders can be confident that technology investments will support important initiatives like improving efficiency, customer experiences, or fostering innovation.
  • Gathering Requirements: A key part of selecting software is collecting and analyzing requirements. This means talking to people across the organization to understand what they need and want from the software. By doing this thoroughly, organizations can figure out exactly what features and technical aspects are necessary, as well as how the software will fit with existing systems.
  • Stakeholder Involvement: Getting input from everyone involved is essential for success. By including end-users, IT professionals, executives, and others in the process, organizations can make sure that everyone’s needs are considered and addressed. This builds support for the chosen solution and increases satisfaction with the outcome.
  • Vendor Evaluation: It’s important to objectively evaluate potential software options. This means looking at factors like functionality, ease of use, scalability, vendor reputation, support services, and cost. By comparing vendors against these criteria, organizations can find the best fit that meets their needs while minimizing risks.
  • Continuous Improvement: Software selection isn’t a one-time thing—it’s an ongoing process. By continually reviewing and adapting software choices to changing needs and advancements, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and get the most out of their investments. Regular assessments ensure that software solutions remain aligned with business objectives and deliver maximum value.

Taking a thorough approach to software selection is crucial for organizations looking to leverage technology for growth and innovation. By aligning software choices with strategic goals, involving stakeholders, and continuously evaluating and adapting, companies can achieve sustainable success in the fast-moving technology landscape.

 

In an increasingly digitized world, cybersecurity has become a major concern for organizations of all sizes. With cyber threats evolving in sophistication and frequency, it’s imperative for businesses to adopt robust security measures to protect their sensitive information and digital assets.

From implementing strong password policies to conducting regular security audits, here are some essential security practices and considerations to safeguard your organization against cyber threats.

  • Clear security policies and procedures:  Developing and communicating clear security policies and procedures helps establish guidelines for acceptable use, data handling practices, incident response protocols, and access control measures. Ensuring that employees understand their roles and responsibilities regarding security is essential for maintaining a secure environment and building a security-aware culture.
  • Strong password policies and multi-factor authentication (MFA):  Enforcing the use of complex passwords and implementing MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide additional verification beyond passwords. This helps prevent unauthorized access to systems and sensitive data.
  • Regular software updates and patch management:  Promptly applying software patches and updates is crucial for addressing known vulnerabilities and reducing the risk of exploitation by cyber threats. A robust patch management process allows an organization to review and apply security patches in a timely manner across all systems and software
  • Employee training and awareness:  Educating employees about common cyber threats such as phishing scams, malware, and social engineering attacks is necessary for building a security-aware culture within your organization. Regular security awareness training sessions should cover topics like identifying phishing emails, practicing safe browsing habits, and reporting security incidents.
  • Vendor security review:  Assessing the security practices of third-party vendors and service providers is crucial for confirming that they meet your organization’s security standards. Conducting thorough security due diligence helps mitigate the risks associated with third-party relationships.
  • Data backup and recovery:  Regularly backing up critical data and systems and testing the recovery process is essential for ensuring business continuity in the event of data loss or system failure. With cloud-based systems, review the backup testing of your solution providers.

By embracing these security measures, organizations can fortify their security stance and enhance their resilience against the ever-changing threat landscape. In today’s dynamic cyber environment, on-going and proactive security measures are essential to safeguarding sensitive data, ensuring business continuity, and upholding trust among employees and customers alike.

In today’s digital landscape, organizations recognize the imperative of digital transformation for competitiveness and growth. Beyond technology adoption, strategic planning and adherence to core principles are essential. Aligning on purpose and objectives, fostering an innovative culture, and starting small yet strategically with clear technology roadmaps are crucial steps. Collaboration with external partners and continuous feedback drive successful digital strategies. Scaling digital capabilities requires ongoing investment and talent development. These principles pave the way for tangible business outcomes.

  • Align on the why:  Prior to initiating digital initiatives, it’s crucial for organizations to align on the purpose and objectives of their transformation journey. Understanding the “why” behind digital transformation unifies stakeholders around a shared vision and ensures alignment with overarching business goals.
  • Prepare for culture change:  Digital transformation extends beyond technology implementation; it necessitates a cultural shift within organizations. Proactively addressing cultural barriers and resistance to change involves fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning.
  • Start small, but strategic:  Starting small in digital transformation allows organizations to test and iterate before scaling. Prioritizing high-impact projects with clear objectives can yield quick wins, building momentum for broader efforts.
  • Map out technology implementation:  A clear technology roadmap is vital for successful digital transformation. Organizations must assess their IT infrastructure, identify gaps, and plan implementation phases aligned with business priorities and resources.
  • Seek out partners and expertise:  Partnering with external experts accelerates digital transformation and bridges knowledge gaps. Organizations can leverage expertise from technology vendors, consulting firms, or industry specialists to navigate challenges and foster innovation.
  • Gather feedback and refine as needed:  Continuous feedback and iteration drive effective digital strategy execution. By gathering stakeholder feedback, monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), and iterating based on insights, organizations can refine their digital strategy over time, enabling course corrections and improvements.
  • Scale and transform:  As digital initiatives succeed, organizations must scale and embed digital capabilities throughout the business processes. This entails continuous investment, talent cultivation, and adept change management to ensure lasting transformation and innovation.

Adhering to the principles of an IT digital strategy lays the foundation for successful transformation and innovation within organizations. It can help navigate the complexities of digital transformation with confidence. These principles serve as guiding lights, empowering organizations to embrace change, drive growth, and achieve their strategic objectives in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Thinc, a leading management consulting firm known for translating business insights into actionable strategies, announced today that Karen Wiltgen has joined their team. Wiltgen, a respected expert in technology consulting, will lead the firm’s growing technology services, focusing on assessment, design, security, and integration.

With a successful career of over twenty years, Karen is known for her transformative technology strategies that drive enterprise growth. Her innovative assessment methodologies and strong digital design principles have positioned businesses at the forefront of technological advancement. Wiltgen’s approach to integration aligns well with Thinc’s mission to offer comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for clients.

“We are excited to have Karen Wiltgen join our leadership team,” said Cindy Anderson, Thinc’s CEO. “Her expertise will enhance our technology offerings and support our commitment to providing forward-thinking solutions that meet our clients’ evolving needs. Karen’s reputation speaks for itself, and her addition will strengthen our position as strategic consulting pioneers.”

At Thinc, Wiltgen will utilize her extensive experience in digital transformation, IT infrastructure, and cross-sector technology applications. She will be responsible for developing advanced assessment tools, creating custom design frameworks, designing secure systems, and overseeing complex integrations that align with client goals and industry best practices.

Learn more about Karen on her SME profile here: https://www.thincstrategy.com/sme/karen-wiltgern/

 

Trade shows, events, networking meetings and prospective client calls are the lifeblood of B2B business development and lead generation. While many businesses have established good digital lead generation, social media and lead nurture programs, those only reach people who engage and search for vendors online. If a prospective client finds you online, in most B2B sales, getting a new client comes down to equal parts relationship-building and delivering a product or service of value.

Due to the current crisis in the world, many companies’ business development efforts are posed with the challenge of figuring out what to do now in a time when in-person business development and selling isn’t possible. Some businesses may be inclined to wait until in-person options are available. If you’re reading this, that’s probably not you. At Thinc Strategy, we recommend a thoughtful, but steady pivot to alternative business development approaches. Not only will this support your business during disruption, it will also cultivate new business development skills and capabilities for the long term.

We interviewed multiple business development professionals to get their thoughts on how to pivot your team’s business development efforts and here are their top tips:

Re-imagine your traditional business development activities and how they might transition to online activities.Drill down into how you succeed in those activities. Ask yourself what makes you successful at using events for business development. Is it your presentation, connecting with individual prospects, or using the event as an opportunity to introduce your connections and set meetings? Focus on each of those and be creative about how you replicate it now. If your success comes from your presentations, explore virtual presentations or video thought-leadership content. If you use events to see people and set meetings, you may have to be more intentional about those meetings and reach out for virtual coffees.

Be a convener.  Move to and initiate virtual gatherings.We’re all starved for interaction and outside perspectives on how others are conducting business. Now is a great time to host a virtual gathering – meet via video chat over a cup of coffee or even a cocktail. Pull together a group of your clients to share thoughts on a particular topic and invite a prospect or two as well. Now is the time for businesses to come together to solve challenges and usually business development people are great at convening.

Engage, don’t cancel. It’s tempting to cancel those prospect meetings you have on your calendar and perhaps you may have to postpone some. Before cancelling, offer a videoconference or a call.It’s especially important now to find alternative ways to engage.

Support your strategic allies and referral partners. Now more than ever it’s important to help those strategic partners and friends that you have a trusting business partnership with. Make introductions, cross-promote content and explore ways you can partner. Now more than ever, when people are looking for a new service or product, they will turn to their trusted friends to ask for a reference. With that being said, remember when you make introductions, you are trading on the trust you’ve built, so stay focused on delivering introductions that bring value.

Use sponsorship dollars wisely. You might think you won’t need a budget for sponsorships or events, but you will. Every organization that previously relied on in-person events will quickly shift to virtual events. You will need to quickly triage which events and organizations are most important to you and aggressively negotiate to get what you need now out of these sponsorships. This means going beyond the event to get content promotion, introductions and possibly even editorial.

Clarify your value now. When someone asks, “how can I help your business now,” you need to have a clear answer. Know what kind of client and what type of product/service is the best fit for the market in the next six months.

Reconnect. Pull out that list of people that you have been too busy to follow up with. Do a sorting exercise and prioritize who you will reach out to. Ask yourself if there is something of value you can offer them (an introduction or a perspective) or if you have something in common with them. Don’t reach out if you don’t have common interests now or if you don’t have something of obvious value to offer.

Be patient and persistent. Given the general uncertainty of the times, It’s going to take longer to cultivate relationships and purchase considerations and decisions will likely be slower.

One great word of advice about transitioning to digital is to plan and test. Before you conduct a call or video chat with one of your colleagues and a prospect, practice with the colleague and someone role playing the client. You’ll need to explore how to avoid interruptions while finding ways to engage in a new medium. When you shift from in-person presentations to video, you’ll want to re-create your presentation, likely shortening it, simplifying slide content and learning how best to convey energy and emotion through your facial expressions. If you convene a group happy hour keep it small. Remember at events, people cluster in small groups of 2-4, so an online group chat might need to be limited to 6-8, to allow for everyone to talk.

Practice on all of the videoconferencing platforms. Set up a professional backdrop at home, even if it is simply a bookcase with good lighting. Here’s a link to a recent article with a few pro tips.

What are your ideas? Any early success examples? Perhaps you disagree with one of our ideas or have a way to improve it. We welcome any suggestions. And remember to send a virtual hug to business developers now.They’re likely going through networking withdrawal, but don’t worry, they are some of the most creative people in business and will find a way!

When the time comes for you to sell your business and take the next step, what’s your exit strategy?

The thought of selling something you’ve worked so hard to build, your life’s work, can be daunting—but it’s inevitable. And still, many owners and founders enter this stage of their business feeling under-prepared, hoping for a third-party buyer to give them an offer that makes leaving their legacy behind a little easier. But selling a business is a complex process, and on the verge of retirement, owners and founders are leaning toward a new approach: internal transition. Internal transition means owners can lean on the people who know their business best, employees, to lead the company into its next phase of growth.

Also known as employee ownership, this option comes with significant trade-offs that favor both the owner and the employees. It gives owners the opportunity to ensure they preserve the foundation and culture the company has worked hard to build and maintain while also walking away with the means to enjoy the fruits of their labor. For employees, ownership builds upon their current investment, improving their retirement benefit.

Need more convincing? Here are the most common reasons why owners are turning to employees when they are ready to sell their business.

Employees Understand The Outputs Of Your Organization

Who better to turn to than the people who have successfully run your business all along? Your employees know the day-to-day operations, your customer base, and they already have an investment in the future of your company. And while a shift does happen, employee ownership doesn’t change their employment. In most cases, a board of directors is elected by the employee-owners to oversee all the high-level decision-making. This doesn’t change the daily functions of the business and the management structure already in place, but it does provide employees with greater equity, financial security, and even more motivation to work.

They Have A Succession Plan In Place

Owners are already implementing succession plans, a strategy employed by businesses to identify the future leaders of their company. Think of it as a very flexible exit timeline. You’re developing your vision and building exceptional employees who are equipped with the training and skills required to support all functions of the business. Because of that, owners can take a step back without fearing about the future of the business, making it easier to transition in the long-run. For owners who are looking to sell their company, these are the key employees that they’re confidently turning to when the time comes to sell.

They’re Not Winning With Third-Party Buyers

While the market is strong, only 20 percent of all the businesses listed for sale ever sell. And while you can wait for the right buyer to come along and show the interest your business deserves, negotiations don’t always end in your favor, and the payoff for the time investment is naturally in a deficit.

By selling to employees, owners maintain their control throughout the selling process and have the flexibility of more planning time to reduce risk. By eliminating third-party buyers, owners don’t have to compromise on external expectations. It’s a smoother transition, and ultimately, they’re leaving their business in the hands of trustworthy successors.

Employee Stock Ownership Plan Have Some Serious Benefits

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is the government’s way of compensating business owners who sell to their employees by making stock contributions tax-deductible. It’s also a way of giving employees the opportunity to buy when they can’t outright afford to buy out the owner through shared ownership. Through this plan, business owners can set up a trust fund to cash out of the business by transferring ownership to employees, allowing employees to cash in on stock to hold equity in the company. It’s a win-win exit strategy that is proving to serve both parties, improving and expanding on the success of your business.

Now What?

Your exit strategy doesn’t have to be the headache you envisioned. The opportunities are there, but you need the right partnership to move you (and your business) through this complex process of selling.

That’s what we are here for. We’ve spent years helping owners exit their companies well. If you are preparing (or considering) what an exit strategy might look like for your organization, it’s time we talk.

Failure is often a word whispered quietly down business halls. It is the act that employees and leadership strive most often to avoid. Yet, many business leaders are striving to change the perception of failure by embedding it into their organizational culture.

Are you surprised? Probably, but consider what leaders of three national brands have to say about failure to their own teams:

“If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough,” said Quincey, who challenged his management teams to move beyond the fear of failure.”

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey

“Our hit ratio is too high right now. We have to take more risks…to try more crazy things…we should have a higher cancel rate overall,” said Hastings, who celebrated Netflix’s tremendous subscriber success while also identifying the potential risks that come along with such success.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

“If you’re going to take bold bets, they are going to be experiments. And if they are experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they are going to work. Experiments are by their very nature prone to failure. But a few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work,” said Bezos, who explained to employees that growth and innovation are built on failure.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

How Do We Make Failure Work?

Why are some of the most well-known business leaders creating environments where employees feel comfortable failing? Because they recognize that failure is not a bug or a problem. Failure is a fundamental feature and component to success.

Think of failure in the most basic of terms – a child learning how to ride a bike. Every child falls, stumbles and skins their knees in the process of learning to balance on two wheels. The falls, stumbles, bruises and (worst case scenario) scars are a required part of the learning process. But after the failed attempts, comes success.

That mentality is the same mentality that leadership must apply to failure in an organization. Failure, by its very nature, is messy, but it is also the path toward innovation. The path to innovation is rarely perfect, but by changing our perspective toward failure, employees can begin to see their shortcomings as part of the development process that helps move the needle of creativity and innovation forward.

How Exactly Do You Create An Environment Where Failure Is Welcomed?

As a leader, you must first build a learning culture. If the perspective is about learning rather than failing, employees will be more comfortable and eager to take risks, to learn, and to try something new. A culture built on learning shifts the focus away from identifying fault or placing blame. Instead, it celebrates contributors who are quick to identify and correct issues because they know that identifying problems helps the business succeed faster. But don’t stop at learning; create a process to follow once failures are identified.

Spotlight the issue and put it on display whether its big or small. By addressing all failures, no matter their size or impact on the business, employees become comfortable exposing their shortcomings. Once you’ve put the failure on display, then collectively work as a team to analyze the problem and create solutions. The collective approach to addressing failures makes it less about an individual and more about the betterment of the organization. Here, in the midst of spotlighting, analyzing and collectively developing solutions, is where opportunities for growth are born.

By changing the mentality toward failure, you create a culture where employees experiment, push the envelope and challenge themselves to move beyond the status quo. Experimentation means failures are certain, but the key is to understand that failure leads to teachable moments, which leads to growth and the next stage of your businesses future. So, don’t brace for failure; embrace what it can do for your business and your employees.

Start Your Journey With Thinc Today.

How To Build A Culture That Welcomes Failure
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Project handoff to PM
Prospect and Process Discussion
Financial modeling and valuation
pm-step-arrows-wide
Advisor to client
Meeting coordination and facilitation
Deal structure recommendations
Due diligence process
Pre-close legal coordination and support
Post-close integration

Acquisition Project Management

Our clearly defined process includes expertise in the areas of management, research, market search, analytics, and reporting

Project Manager
Set up playbook
Research
Set up data room
Campaigns
Campaign Follow-up
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Initial Criteria Match/Viability Meeting
NDA Signed, PM Onboarding
Growth Team continues search
Project handoff to PM
Prospect and Process Discussion
Financial modeling and valuation
pm-step-arrows-wide
Advisor to client
Meeting coordination and facilitation
Deal structure recommendations
Due diligence process
Pre-close legal coordination and support
Post-close integration

Evaluate the merits of any business idea

Thinc specializes in conducting comprehensive feasibility studies to evaluate the viability, risks, and rewards of new business initiatives, ensuring informed decision-making and strategic planning for success.
Thinc will conduct individual interviews with key stakeholders to gain an understanding of their ownership goals and future objectives.

Thinc will review a variety of materials from the firm including, but not limited to, the past 3-5 years of financial statements, organization chart, key roles, and other relevant materials.

Thinc will meet with the owners to confirm the direction gleaned from our initial interviews and information analysis. We will use this meeting to refine the direction and inputs for the different models.

Thinc will build out the different options using the provided inputs showing the potential outcomes and implications for each model.

Thinc will present the feasibility study, documenting the various options and models. We will also schedule a follow-up conversation, allowing the owners time for reflection on the study, to answer questions and discuss next steps.

Due Diligence Services

Our Due Diligence services offer a detailed examination of the target company, providing critical insights into risks, opportunities, and financial health to support informed business decisions and successful transactions.

Contracts

Contracts

Ownership Structure
Government Documents
Legal Filings
Client Contracts
Leased Properties

Finance, Tax, Insurance

Financial Statements
Tax Returns
Payroll
Managed Reports

IT & Fixed Assets

Software
Hardware
Furniture
Vehicles

Marketing

Customer Segments
Market Segments

Organization

Current Salaries
Benefits & Bonuses
Hiring & Firing Practices
Employee Engagement

Due Diligence Services

Our Due Diligence services offer a detailed examination of the target company, providing critical insights into risks, opportunities, and financial health to support informed business decisions and successful transactions.

Ownership Structure
Government Documents
Legal Filings
Client Contracts
Leased Properties
Financial Statements
Tax Returns
Payroll
Managed Reports
Software
Hardware
Furniture
Vehicles
Customer Segments
Market Segments
Current Salaries
Benefits & Bonuses
Hiring & Firing Practices
Employee Engagement

Due Diligence Services

Our Due Diligence services offer a detailed examination of the target company, providing critical insights into risks, opportunities, and financial health to support informed business decisions and successful transactions.

Ownership Structure
Government Documents
Legal Filings
Client Contracts
Leased Properties
Financial Statements
Tax Returns
Payroll
Managed Reports
Software
Hardware
Furniture
Vehicles
Customer Segments
Market Segments
Current Salaries
Benefits & Bonuses
Hiring & Firing Practices
Employee Engagement

Evaluate the merits of any business idea

Thinc specializes in conducting comprehensive feasibility studies to evaluate the viability, risks, and rewards of new business initiatives, ensuring informed decision-making and strategic planning for success.
Thinc will conduct individual interviews with key stakeholders to gain an understanding of their ownership goals and future objectives.

Thinc will review a variety of materials from the firm including, but not limited to, the past 3-5 years of financial statements, organization chart, key roles, and other relevant materials.

Thinc will meet with the owners to confirm the direction gleaned from our initial interviews and information analysis. We will use this meeting to refine the direction and inputs for the different models.

Thinc will build out the different options using the provided inputs showing the potential outcomes and implications for each model.

Thinc will present the feasibility study, documenting the various options and models. We will also schedule a follow-up conversation, allowing the owners time for reflection on the study, to answer questions and discuss next steps.

Start Your Journey With Thinc Today.

How To Build A Culture That Welcomes Failure
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How To Build A Culture That Welcomes Failure