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CEO Advisor® Newsletter
April 2011

The Importance of Business Strategy

Yogi Berra once said that "If you don't know where you are going, you will likely end up somewhere else." The same is true in business. Unless you have a carefully crafted business strategy, you are essentially flying blind. Former U.S. President and military commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, stated that "A finished plan is generally worthless, but careful planning is absolutely essential." In other words, while a given plan may change based on what happens with your business, taking the time to thoroughly examine where your firm is now and where it is headed gives you the information to make course changes intelligently, against the backdrop of a clear business strategy.

Why Create a Strategic Plan and Financial Forecast?


The answer to this question is focus and goals. Strategy creates context for operating decisions. It establishes the playing field and provides guidance for decision-making, the experience and skills needed by employees, positioning of marketing and advertising, the priority of initiatives, how to structure the company, and a many other issues.

A plan is necessary to guide decision-making, channel resources, set goals and define direction. Because of that, building a strategic plan should be well worth the time it will take to develop it. Strategy is the way in which a company meets its ongoing challenges and opportunities. It is often an overused and misunderstood concept. Strategic thinking does not necessarily imply long term.

Strategy is a set of choices that defines the nature, direction and value system of an organization. It is a mindset which should be understood by every person in the organization and used to guide all decision-making within the organization. In developing strategy, leaders make conscious and informed choices about who they are and what they stand for: What are our core values and beliefs?

  • What markets and customer groups will we serve?
  • What products and services will we offer and how profitable is each one?
  • What competitive advantages will cause us to succeed?
  • What core competencies must we have to fuel our growth?
  • How will we sell our products and services?
  • How will we market our products and services?
  • What infrastructure, core processes and resources must we have to succeed? 
  • What financial results will we achieve? Next, and the hardest part, is plan implementation. Research in the last several years has pinpointed many reasons why business plans fail, including the following:  
  1. Poorly Understood Strategy - Most companies have a strategy but, according to one study, fewer than 5% of their employees know what the strategy is.
  2. Weak Strategy Execution - Studies show that up to 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution.
  3. Inability to Adapt to Change - Once a business makes plans, the chaos of everything changing around it may gradually erode those plans unless the organization can adapt. Many cannot.
  4. Lack of a Systematic Approach - Discipline is needed in all size companies.
  5. People are Not Engaged - An engaged worker is one who is personally committed to the goals of the company. Unfortunately, 90% of the time what passes for commitment is compliance. If you cannot get people engaged, no improvement will last.
  6. A Gap Between Knowing What To Do, and Doing It - Many things can get in the way including substituting talk for action, employee fear or mistrust of management, using the firm's history instead of sound judgment to dictate action, and badly designed or complex measures. In the end, a solid business strategy and implementation plan may not solve all of your problems but those companies that do plan enjoy a much brighter track record and greater profits. Plan well and beware of the pitfalls in implementation and you can enjoy your best year yet in 2011.


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.

CEO Advisor, Inc. Advises Reliant Testing Engineers

CEO Advisor, Inc. (, a leading business advisory firm serving the needs of CEOs, presidents and business owners of small and mid-size companies, is providing strategy, sales and marketing advisory services to Reliant Testing Engineers, Inc., a leader in construction testing, inspections and laboratory services for real estate developers, building owners and general contractors in the Southern California area.  

CEO Advisor, Inc. provides affordable, hands-on advice on strategy, goals, funding, sales strategy, sales team building, marketing, finance, accounting, turnarounds, mergers and acquisitions to grow businesses to the next level.  As a trusted CEO Advisor® to business owners since 2004, the firm specializes in driving growth and profits exclusively for business owners in a one-to-one advisory role on a weekly basis. 

Reliant Testing Engineers provides a full range of engineering, inspection and testing services.  Denise DeGroff, CEO/President of Reliant Testing Engineers states, "CEO Advisor is providing planning and execution in marketing and sales, as well as, advice on our overall strategy and profitability.  We are projecting a strong year in 2011."

Mark Hartsell, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. states, "Reliant Testing Engineers is an established company with a full range of great services.  Their desire to grow to the next level is very exciting and will result in tremendous upside."  

About CEO Advisor, Inc.

CEO Advisor, Inc. provides business advisory services affordably and effectively to meet the specific needs of CEOs, presidents and business owners of small to mid-size companies in a wide range of industries, including technology,

services and light manufacturing.


CEO Advisor, Inc.'s mission is to advise business owners with the needed expertise and focus, coupled with hands-on advice and work performed to grow your business to the next level.  By specializing in the needs of CEOs, presidents and business owners, we focus on growth, opportunities and challenges that you and your business encounter every day. 

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

Contact Reliant Testing Engineers, Inc. at (714) 556-5857 or email for more information.


"CEO Advisor, Inc. was extremely helpful in working with us to develop a meaningful business plan. My measure of a consultant's value is how much work he/she leaves for me to do vs. what they actually do. So many consultants tell you what you already know and then leave you to do all the actual work. Not so with CEO Advisor. That's why I hired them and they delivered on their promise to do the heavy lifting. I could never have completed the work we did together were it not for my CEO Advisor's steady and consistent work."


CEO, Web Application and Programming 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.