Should You Promote or Fire Yourself?

In the popular business book “The E-Myth Revisited”, Michael Gerber says that every business owner is really three people: the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur. 

I often use the term “Expert” to define the scientists I work with who have deep technical knowledge, the quintessential Technicians – who founded the business to deliver value to customers that only they can deliver. 

Are you buried in the Technician role?

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What I Learned from a Candidate Phone Bank

sales skills strategy Oct 29, 2020

Pro tip: Easy way to practice telephone prospecting: phone bank for a candidate!

Last night I volunteered to take a 90 minute shift making phone calls for a local political candidate. In local races in a presidential election year, candidate name recognition is a big problem. Finding volunteers to make calls is tough - no one enjoys interrupting people, and the chances of being on the receiving end of a hang up are high.

But the telephone works! I kept thinking of Jeb Blount's great 2019 book...

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Should Smaller Companies Not Develop Strategic Plans?

strategy May 11, 2020

Last week a LinkedIn connection forwarded an article from Ivey Business Journal (https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/strategic-flexibility-the-key-to-growth/). The authors draw from a lot of sources, including Michael Porter's work on strategy. The authors discuss a basic question: do small companies have an agility/adaptability advantage over large ones?

Small companies:

  • Have few embedded systems

  • Are often tightly governed by one or a very few owners

  • Have management that is...

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Seven Ways to Build Business Value

exit strategy Apr 29, 2020

We still don't know what's going to happen - as I wrote the first draft of this blog, oil futures were at -$37.83 per barrel. There are types of businesses that will never resurrect in the form they took before the crisis. But life sciences services, supplies, and development companies look to be in good shape in the future, and their prospects don't seem to be related to whether they pivot into the Covid-19 space or not.

In this sector we may be relatively lucky, but we still want to think...

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Is It Time to Think About the Future?

strategy Apr 29, 2020

Zymewire surveyed their connections in the biotech/pharma service provider space about 10 days ago on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on business.

Clinical services providers are seeing the greatest impact due to slow initiation of planned trials; CDMOs are seeing the least. All the sector predicts a down quarter and some cash flow issues, but they expect the impact to be short term. In other words, expect a healthier 2021.
 
However, there are some issues.

The first is that the CDMO...

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Cash Management - 3 Things You Can Do Today

strategy Apr 28, 2020

In these strange times, when we don't know if tomorrow's news will slow things down further, we're vulnerable to cash shortages. Cash represents our ability as business owners to make payroll, keep the lights on, buy supplies to make more product or deliver more services. Cash management is key to survival in a crunch.

Here are three things you can do immediately, from your home office if necessary:

1. Call your vendors, creditors, landlord, banks. Let them know you're managing the situation...

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Why Scientists Hate Selling

strategy Apr 28, 2020

When I started a pharmaceutical contract research company in 2007, we gained a lot of new business very quickly. We were offering services that were hard to find, which was why we started in the first place. By mid-2008 we were wildly profitable, and all we really had to do to bring in new business was tell people we were up and running. Then the Great Recession came, and we realized that we'd just plain been lucky. When things began to pick up again, we had new competition. Now we really...

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