The following is pretty much a real interaction between a Sumus team member (S) and a vendor (V), but
we will do the obligatory name, place and industry changes to protect identities and organizations. Here

V: Is this Sumus?
S: Well, this is Kim and I work at Sumus
V: I have a special delivery for Sumus.
S: OK. Great. What is it?
V: I was hoping you could tell me.
S: With all due respect, you called me. Who are you?
V: See that’s the thing. I am supposed to get this package to Sumus. We do a lot of things: cell phones, car rentals, catering, and marketing.
S: OK. Where are you guys?
V: Myrtle Beach
S: We are expecting marketing collateral. Why didn’t you just send it?
V: See—I need your address.
S: I can give it you but it is also on our website
V: Great. Thanks

This story indeed had a happy ending because we did get our printed materials in the mail, but it got me thinking about the disconnect between team members in business operations. In other words, it is all well and good (and in fact mandatory) for company owners to focus on big picture vision and strategy but not at the expense of the day-to- day delivery of work. At Sumus, we remind business leaders of both pieces of the enterprise: the CEO side and the COO side. We often see small business owners who tell us they play both roles in their organizations, yet inevitably the operations are neglected. And it shows in terms of the optimization of executing deliverables.

We are currently working with several companies, providing both strategic and operational advisement. We like to pose the following questions:

  • Does it make sense to concentrate on the overall company P & L, industry multiples, valuations, and a three-year exit strategy when you are currently unable to track individual business line and project P & Ls?
  •  Does it sound right to raise capital to fuel expansion when your current team member’s roles might not be best aligned with skills and talents?
  • How can you plan a vigorous marketing strategy to attract new customers when you don’t have specific processes for serving your current clients?

The key is to concurrently work on both pieces of your business: optimize what you have (through data, process, and accountability) and visualize what you want (through modeling, strategy, and planning). We can help you deliver the work and transform your business because we are well-versed in the small yet crucial details of businesses– and the big picture. An example is that we can help set one or two specific performance-minded KPIs for the company (and no—we don’t believe in having dozens of metrics) and one or two others for departments and even individuals.

If you find yourself wearing the CEO hat most of the time and the COO hat when you can find it, please contact us to learn how we can assist.

(Photo by Ryan Wilson)

Jim Baker

Jim Baker

Sumus was founded by Jim Baker, an entrepreneur with 27 years’ experience bootstrapping and growing his business organically and through acquisition, to share his experience by providing advisory services around Board representation, Organization and Branding Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Value enhancement and Exit strategy.