Category Archives: WIMSisms

Exciting Times

 

Some exciting changes will be occurring at WIMS built around the development and expansion of an advisory service line focusing on organizational consulting. This move serves as a commitment to establish an internal culture based on sustainable internal project management and organizational structure. The steps are in place to strengthen the project portfolio at WIMS as a case study for future external reference. As with any new expansion this is going to be a learning experience and the journey will be very meaningful and informative more so than the outcome.

 

The WIMS Organizational Consulting service line offers a range of organizational design and project management methodologies for organizational wide solutions as well as specific projects. These services begin with an informational interview to gain an understanding of the current situation and project management systems in place. From this initial conversation an organizational strategy will be outlined focusing on specific areas that will be focused on to ensure that a sustainable project management system can be implemented. Communication is critical and the goal of the services offered is to provide a project management system which will fit into your organization and be used for the creation of a long-term project management strategy.

 

Once communication has been addressed the focus will pivot to time management and communication to help create and expand a system for project planning and improve on dividing tasks between employees. This is when the focus will be on auditing the current operations and providing an understanding of how a well-structured project management system can lead to meeting important deadlines, improved customer satisfaction, and higher returns on investment.

 

After this stage of information gathering the WIMS team will provide a series of recommendations on what project management techniques to implement and how to stay on the right course to make these initiatives sustainable. The formation of a stronger project management system will improve the internal capabilities along with a boost in employee retention. The specific needs of your organization will be understood and enhanced by reaching out to WIMS and taking the time and effort to invest in a sustainable project management system.

 

This important initiative is going to be an exciting learning experience which will undoubtedly have some road bumps and unexpected turns but will lead to growth and reflection. Above all understand that the changing and building of project systems is difficult and members of the team must be given information about what is happening and have an outlet to provide meaningful feedback. While reviewing existing processes it is common to focus on what is not being done correctly but the time should also be taken to identify what is done smoothly and identify best practices which can help replicate what is accomplished successfully. Taking the time back and focusing on growth is a great way to create the right mind set for a successful spring and ensure that the right course of action has been set for the rest of the year.

 

Project Management means focusing on growth from the core and takes conscientious efforts and reflections to effectively be implemented. By developing the internal project management system of WIMS in a strategic way and focusing a considerable amount of time and resources on internal development the ability to scale future growth in a more seamless fashion can be created. The time spent on building an internal team and project management system will allow for an expansion of future services offerings across industries.

 

Creating internal systems and focusing on the weak points that exist in communication and executing future growth will be undertaken when the resources and systems necessary for success are in place. This growth and development will take time and reflection to understand and scale organizational design and project management solutions across industries including real estate, healthcare, legal, sports business, professional services and technology.

 

Mobile Insights from Deloitte

A Deloitte perspective entitled Failure to Launch outlines the steps to follow to build mobile applications which employees will want to use. This insight shows the importance of mobile technology in today’s world as well as the attention of consumers and business partners as they shift to the screens of mobile devices. An aspect of mobile applications which is also vital but does not always receive as much attention is the importance of developing applications for internal use.

 

The focus of this Deloitte writeup is to outline some steps to follow to improve the effectiveness and use of enterprise mobile apps for employees use. With many different applications and projects to juggle daily it is becoming harder for companies to unveil and implement internal tools for employees. The key to successfully unveiling an application internally should mirror an external product release and be strategically aligned with the mission of growth for your organization. These steps should serve as a guide to review not only new app development but also a benchmark for all internal processes and the perfect opportunity to take the time to invest time and resources into improving those processes. Internal processes are not the most exciting aspect of running a successful project but are critical to the success of specific projects and the sustained success of an organization.

 

The system below should be a guideline and not a hard set of rules to stick to. Leaders and decisions makers within an organization should take the time to fully analyze multiple data points and conduct informational interviews with members of their teams to collect the relevant facts and information from their industry and company. This wide amount of information will allow the greatest amount of data available to make a well thought out decision while also bringing together stakeholders through the entire process from idea generation to implementation.

 

Seven steps are laid out to build and successfully launch enterprise mobile apps:

  1. Strategy and Value: Have a clear goal behind what you are undergoing which can easily be conveyed and understood to those who are hearing about your idea for the first time.
  2. User input: Gather information beginning with idea generation and continuing through implementation from a broad range of potential end users.
  3. App Development: During the development process have steps in place to provide feedback and convey this to your team.
  4. Distribution: Announce the launch of the app and make it known to all parties who may be interested in finding more about the specific app launch and your company in general.
  5. User Support: After the release keep contact with your team and continue to gather feedback from them. When issues arise provide a way for them to easily find the answers to questions and develop a culture where workers interact and shape the future of products in a proactive environment.
  6. Supporting organization: Reinforce the practices in your organization though best practices and foster a tech and mobile friendly company culture.
  7. Continuous Optimization: Never stop gathering feedback and look to stay ahead of the game to be an industry leader with a robust internal team.

 

These strategies were formulated for enterprise mobile apps but the tips should be used to foster change in creating a workplace culture where design, creativity, and innovation propel your company and projects forward as an industry leader.

 

Source

“7 steps to building mobile apps employees will really use.” Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology/articles/deloitte-digital-mobile-enterprise.html.

Managing Stakeholders in the Technological Age

Over the past week Microsoft has been in the headlines after a group of employees sent a letter to company leaders protesting a contract with the US Army. This story has received major media attention from Wired to NPR who are taking an interest in this case and how a tricky relationship exists between technology companies and the government.

 

The contract in questions was awarded in November 2018 and represents the first time Microsoft products, in this case HoloLens headsets, would be used in actual combat operations. This worried Microsoft employees who did not want the products they work on to be used in combat operations and is another statement of concern voiced by technology workers in the US against contracts with the US government.

 

The Wired article included an excerpt of a statement Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave standing by the contract and highlighted the importance he sees in continuing to work with the government and military.

 

“Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rebuffed the plea. “We made a principled decision that we’re not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy,” Nadella told CNN Business at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.”

 

As companies look to provide more advanced technological offerings workers increasingly find themselves working on projects where they do not know how the end user will utilize the product and in some cases who the end user is. Workers walk a fine line here and as companies provide more advanced technology to public and private sector clients an upfront policy on how to address who their clients are and be transparent about how relevant stakeholders might react to different projects.

 

Companies cannot sit idle but must be proactive and work with all stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page and have a channel of dealing with complaints internally before too much disruption occurs. As technology solutions become more advanced and integrated into all aspects of life difficult questions of who has access to technology and when technology goes too far will become increasingly more prevalent. As issues arise dialogue is needed from all parties to workout what steps are needed moving forward and when to move away from a project. An additional factor complicating issues surrounding technology is that as new forms of technology become available and trends change the norms of technology shift very fast.

 

To succeed, an organization must take the time to set aside a block of time and address where technology can fit in with their organization and under what circumstances do technology and privacy go too far. A strong organization will be able to move through this time but if transparent conversations are not had by leaders from across the organization internal conflict possess the threat of making disagreements public and damaging the reputation and name of an organization. As with any advancement both progress and new challenges will arise causing leaders to make new types of decisions about who can access information, what projects the organization works on, and what types of organizations a specific organization forms strategic alliances and partnerships with.

 

The issues raised by Microsoft employees will not go away neither will the opinions of varying stakeholders who take different stands to improve their own position within organizations. As more stakeholders enter the conversation more ideas are generated but at the same time more safeguards and guidelines are needed to limit internal strife and the possibility that different sides take a hard position which could reduce the efficiency of an organization. This is an era that goes beyond making a right or wrong choice but is centered on making a choice that leaders can stand by and defend while not alienating stakeholders to the point of rebellion. This is bound to play out in additional companies and increasingly be brought up in the legal system.

Resources from the Charlotte Alliance

The Charlotte Alliance

 

The Charlotte Alliance provides information on their website on a range of meaningful sources. This includes Data and Reports, Charlotte Regional facts, talent development, public policy positions, and a schedule of events providing valuable information to those interested in the business climate in the Charlotte region.

 

The website also provides links to recent expansion and investment projects around the Charlotte area. The information on the website shows how the Charlotte Alliance is a resource for the community which takes the time and effort to create a better Charlotte bringing the regions leaders together. This advocacy and collaboration is shown across a range of industries including some targeted industries which are important to the identity of the Charlotte business community.

 

Some highlighted industries include healthcare, information technology, and financial services. Through the advocacy and work of the Alliance the Charlotte region is displayed as a place of economic collaboration and innovation on the national and international stage with a diverse and knowledgeable workforce.

 

Target Industries

 

The Charlotte Alliance has a team that is dedicated to highlighting the unique business community in Charlotte placing a spotlight on some specific target industries. This information paints the picture of a region with a talented and diverse workforce that is ready to drive growth into the future. These industries include Financial Services/Fintech, Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Logistics benefit from a well-trained workforce and the presence of area universities and college who have relationships with major area employers.

 

By focusing on these industries which are expected to be of high growth and demand as the economy changes over the coming decades the Alliance has placed the Charlotte region in a good position to grow and gain momentum. These industries will attract interest and investment in the highlighted industries along with adjacent and support companies.

 

Financial Services/Fintech

 

The first image of Charlotte for many people is of the towers of Uptown and a city full of bankers who moved to the area from the Northeast and Midwest. Many of the largest employers in Charlotte are rooted in the financial services industry. Charlotte is seeing new players in the growing Fintech sector grow and invest in the area including AvidXchange and Lending Tree. These new companies along with the established banking community including Bank of America and Wells Fargo mean that some of the top financial services talent in the world reside in and around Charlotte.

 

Healthcare

 

The Charlotte region is increasingly being recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally as a healthcare center with access to some of the nation’s best talent and facilities. The healthcare industry in the Charlotte region is diverse and includes hospitals, research, and biotech manufacturing. With many schools offering degrees related to the healthcare industry the region boosts a strong talent pool to fill healthcare positions at companies including Novant Health and Atrium Health which are two of the region’s largest employers.

 

Information Technology

 

The technology sector is an increasingly important aspect of the Charlotte region combining the talent of transplants to the region, recent college graduates, and seasoned tech professionals. As companies increasingly seek out ways to incorporate better data into their decision-making processes tech companies are seeing some of the biggest growth among any industry. In Charlotte, the presence of some of the largest financial and healthcare companies means companies can use the innovation of established companies to work on projects. These companies are able to access the dynamic talent pool and provide innovative specialized technological services. Top area employers in the sector include consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte and financial services companies including AvidXchange and Lending Tree.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The tourism campaign for the city of Charlotte is Charlotte’s Got A Lot which could also serve as the slogan for the economic development in this area. Charlotte and surrounding counties have a highly skilled talent pool with knowledge in a vast range of industries including financial services, healthcare, and technology/analytics. The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance works to foster and develop the relationships between company leaders, public officials, and companies interested in relocating to Charlotte to foster collaboration and showcase the vibrant and diverse economic activity across the region.

 

Seed Round Capital

Notes on Raising Seed Round Capital

Throughout the past year I’ve helped lead a couple of seed round funding for company’s that I’m a co-founder of. While I’ve assisted and consulted many startups prior to that with raising money, doing it from this perspective was quite different. I won’t admit to knowing absolutely everything, but I’ve certainly learned a few things along the way that are worth sharing if you’re in a similar situation or considering it.

Seed round funding takes significantly longer than you think it will, even if you’re just going after “friends and family”. Start reaching out to potential investors at least 6-9 months before you think you’ll need the funds as it can easily take that long to close the deal and collect the check.

How are you going to structure your company, and the investment? Delaware C-Corp’s are a common favorite structure and get a ton of attention, but you don’t necessarily need to structure it that way. Do you want to offer a convertible note or do a straight equity investment (or equity crowd funding – which is a whole other game)? There are pros and cons to each of these decisions, so it really just comes down to preference and seeking expert counsel.

Get serious about documentation as there’s a ton of it required. These deals are a negation, so anticipate there to be red lining for edits on a term sheet contract, additional concessions will be asked for, etc. Secure an attorney to assist you with this side of things. While you can start with a template, always get approval from a professional before executing the deal and finalizing documentation. It will help you later.

Your valuation is likely too optimistic. But even then, a valuation is always subjective. Your true valuation is essentially what you can convince someone your company’s worth. Remember no business plan or pitch book in the history of the world was 100% accurate with their projections. Make sure your work comes across as thoughtful and realistic however to show the potential investor that you did the work and aren’t just flying by the seat of your pants.

A “yes” isn’t really a yes until the money has been transferred. Don’t count your chickens and start deploying capital until you have received it. You can get a yes (or what you perceive to be a yes) on a deal but then when it comes time to complete a wire transfer the investor can get a little gun shy. Things happen, whether they get push back from their spouse, the market takes a downturn, or perhaps it’s some other random unexpected occurrence, a deal isn’t truly closed until you have the money in hand.

Collecting the funds isn’t where it ends, rather it’s just the beginning. After you receive the investment capital, then you have to execute the vision, deliver on what you said you were going to, provide further documentation along the way, communicate progress regularly, and ideally turn a profit so you can return the capital back along with a sizable return on their investment. Not sure which is the hard part? They all are.

What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way? There are so many others to consider. I always love hearing, and learning from, a good case study about your personal experience raising funds if you’re willing to share.

Total Human Optimization

The Pursuit of “Total Human Optimization”

Over the past few months I’ve been obsessed with the idea of learning about, and implementing, daily routines and practices to simply get better. The main goal is optimization to be more effective, efficient, productive, and increase stamina to go harder for longer. I’ve always been conscious of needing to do this, but like with many things, it’s always easier said than done.

Then while listening to The Tim Ferriss Show podcast I stumbled upon a guy named Aubrey Marcus who coined a phrase that made it all click. Then this dude shows up on Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness, then Gary Vee. I start noticing this guy everywhere. Aubrey is the CEO of a health and wellness company called Onnit, and he recently wrote a book called, “Own The Day, Own Your Life.” One of the key tenants he preaches, and the mission of his company, is the pursuit of “Total Human Optimization.”

That whole concept really resonated with me and was a catalyst to start applying some of these things into my life with more consistency. Now I’m FAR from perfect in this regard, and I have a long way to go in this pursuit (not too mention my recent vacation and business traveling made it even tougher) but I’m certainly getting better and better.

If nothing else, it helped me to identity some core exercises to try and make sure I hit the key areas of my life that I want to improve. Things like faith, fitness, mental health, self-study and education, goal setting, hygiene, etc. Note that I didn’t include two of the most important things here as they’re covered in a separate bucket entirely, those being family time and business.

Anyway, the following are things I’ve been trying to do every single day to as Aubrey say, “own my life”.

  • Faith/Spiritual
    • Pray
    • Read a daily devotional
    • Meditate (10-15 minutes) – Here is one of my favorite’s if you’re interested.
  • Physical
  • Mental
    • Duolingo (Spanish Lesson)
    • Read (an actual book)
    • Review my “Statement of Desire” (if you don’t know what this is read “Think and Grow Rich“)
    • Listen to a podcast/audio book during my commute

There’s not much of a better feeling than hitting those perfect days where you fit it all in. And it’s even better when you get into a nice streak. Not only is it empowering but it also helps you to get into that zone that creates momentum and compounds on itself. And I’m sure as I master these I’ll start adding more to the list.

What’s on your daily list to optimize yourself?

Market Contraction

The Coming Market Contraction & What it Means for Your Business

After a nearly decade long recovery period, it’s starting to look and feel like the time for an economic contraction is on the horizon. It likely won’t come for another year or so yet (if we’re lucky), but based on the history of our country, it’s certainly inevitable at some point.

A lot of the experts, economists, and pundits are starting to sound the alarm already. Things like the student loan debt crisis, 2018 interest rate hikes, the collapse of retail, and the toxic political climate, are all going to come to a head and likely trigger it. Forbes, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, Bloomberg, Seeking Alpha, and Newsmax are just a sampling of publications that have had a relatively recent article about it.

Now I’m very much an optimist, so I don’t want you to interpret my prediction of a market downturn as me being pessimistic. On the contrary, I think recessions can be an incredible opportunity for those who are prepared for them. Historically, a lot of fortunes were made in the years during and shortly after economic recessions. Not to mention, regardless of whether the stock market goes up or down, someone is always making a lot of money.

While I’m no economist, I am fortunate to be able to work with a lot of people with brilliant business minds and insight into the mysterious world of macro market forces. My suggestion (if you made it this far I’m guessing you care enough to read it) is to keep an open mind to start being proactive before it’s too late. I know a lot of you might be a bit too young to really remember 2008, but if you think back to past recessions they always seem to abruptly appear to come out of nowhere and catch people off guard. One day everyone is riding high with exuberance and the next day the bottom falls out. Clearly, it’s possible and likely that it happens this way again.

I’m not saying to run around being worried or dwelling on this. I’m simply recommending that you start tightening your belt a bit now while you can. Rein in those spending habits that may have gotten a little out of control lately. Perhaps consider cashing out on a few things while values are high and take some chips off the table. Otherwise, you could end up falling into the preventable trap of being forced to sell assets at the bottom.

Simultaneously you should also be going all-in on growing your business too. I know that may sound contradictory but investing in revenue/income generating activities is and always will be a wise move. A lot of people will be out of the game when the day comes and being able to perform a land grab because your business is dialed in can be a life changing opportunity.

Start thinking strategically about the next 1-3 years and what they could mean for you and your business. Instead of hiring several full-time employees consider leveraging a consulting firm so you have more flexibility. Make the commitment to increase your emphasis on sales and marketing even more. It’s tax season right now, so it’s a great time to really look at your numbers and analyze your financial data to identify weak spots or areas for improvement.

Hey, perhaps myself and others will end up being wrong about the timing of it. Maybe the next recession doesn’t come for another 3 to 5 years instead. Either way, would your business not be better off be taking those steps sooner rather than later?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject! If you agree with me I’d be interested to hear what steps you’re currently taking. And if you think I’m crazy, I’d still like to hear why you think we have nothing but blue skies ahead.

Going Streaking Gym Health

We’re Going Streaking! 29 Days Straight in the Gym (and Counting)

Don’t worry, this isn’t a, “you have to go to the gym or else type of post.” I assure you it’s business related. I want to speak more to the journey of becoming a better entrepreneur, the process of leveling up and what is required to make the quantum leap as a business person.

So, I’m currently in the middle of the longest consecutive day streak of going to the gym in my life (my program is below if you’re interested). It’s not like I haven’t been on a solid long-term routine before, there were just always at least one or two rest days each week. This time my whole approach and mindset is different. The actual working out part is important of course, I very much want to get into great physical shape. But it’s equally (or more) about the mental aspect.

As someone hyper focused on continuing to grow and scale multiple businesses, the level of discipline required to do so increases dramatically. For most of my career I’ve been able to get by and thrive with enthusiasm, spontaneity, and shear determination to put in whatever amount of time and effort was required. There comes a time when brute force, a little charm, and some passion doesn’t quite cut it anymore.

To make the jump to the next level you need to be disciplined, thoughtful, proactive, focused, and truly master time management, productivity, and efficiency. Thus, this streak of mine has been more about building up these skill-sets. I wanted to make a substantial commitment to something very difficult and challenging, and yet stick to it nonetheless.

I’m only accountable to myself in this endeavor, so it would be easier to quit, but knowing that and still progressing has been invaluable. Practicing making hard choices over and over again will eventually make them become easier to make, and without even allowing myself to consider the option of not doing it.

It’s not just the gym I’m doing this with either, it’s other subtler things too, like my 21-day streak of taking my Spanish lessons on Duolingo, practicing mindfulness, reading a daily devotional and chapters from books, and even flossing.

These things may appear trivial, but it’s about getting back to the basics and mastering the small things. This will make the bigger, high stakes business decisions of the near future become easier to make. It’s about building more confidence and self-assurance along the way. It’s about focusing more on, being more mindful of, and enjoying the journey along the way.

What kind of daily habits are you building to become a better entrepreneur/professional?

 

My Current Workout Program:

Monday – Chest/Bi Super-set

Tuesday – Back/Tri Super-set

Wednesday – Legs/Abs

Thursday – Shoulders

Friday – Arms/”Guido Pump” Bi/Tri Superset

Saturday – Legs/Abs (All different exercises than Wednesday)

Sunday – Cardio

Daily: Stretch, Push-ups, & Plank. I also do cardio every day as a warm up and cool down too. Yes, I know this hinders my “gainz” a bit all you workout warriors, but personally I find it worth it for the sustainability.

Supplements: Whey Protein, BCAA’s, Creatine (all from MRM), and Topical Magnesium Gel (Absolute Game Changer! Use code: Claire for 15% off).

2018 Call to Action

Happy New Year! I’ll save you the “new year new me/new year new you” talk (even though I’m always a sucker for self-improvement) and get straight to the point. You already know this is going to be your best year yet or you wouldn’t be reading this. And you KNOW it’s going to be my best year yet too. Now for the important part, HOW are we going to do that? This is OUR call to action!

Now I’m not some business guru, I’m still closer to the beginning of my come up, building the foundation of my future empire just like most of you. But I often have people reach out to me beginning with something along the lines of, “I’ve been meaning to reach out to you.” Or “I’ve been following/keeping tabs on you for months now and planning to hit you up.”

The reasons and motivations usually vary, it could be about entrepreneurship, marketing, CRMaugmented reality, blockchain/cryptocurrency, etc. My point in all this is to explicitly say, THIS is your invitation to reach out to me. Don’t wait another 3 months until your life gets less complicated (it won’t) or less busy (it won’t) before doing it. Now is as good a time as any.

It’s obvious we’re all ambitious people grinding our asses off to continue building our businesses and to add more value to our clients and prospects. If there’s a way we can help each other to do just that it’s very much worth at least a conversation.

Further, even if you’re not ready just yet, there’s a good chance I’ll be reaching out to you soon regardless. I will always make sure there’s something valuable tied to it though. But in 2018 I truly want to connect people in a way that helps them grow their businesses and networks. People ask me to make introductions/referrals to professionals in my network often. If it’s a connection that doesn’t make sense to you, you are more than welcome to say no thanks (or ignore it like some do). But keep in mind that on the flip side I’d probably make the intro for you too.

When the dust settles this time next year we’ll all have just got done celebrating the best year of our professional lives and strategizing on how to make 2019 even better. As my boy Tony Robbins says, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats!” I’m ALL IN on 2018 and I know you are too, so let’s get to work already and make it happen!

P.S. I’m always looking for new clients, investors, partners/collaborators, etc. so if there’s someone you think it would make sense for me to talk to please don’t hesitate to answer the call to action!