Key Opportunity Assessment: Know Where Your Strategy Stands
Blue Sky Business Resources is an advisory firm built by entrepreneurs who have a passion for supporting the most important and underserved segment of our national economy, lower middle market (LMM) privately held businesses. The LMM is generally characterized as the segment of businesses generating between $5M and $50M in revenue, but in investment circles is often defined by EBITDA generation between $2M and $25M. This segment carries a disproportionately large portion of the US GDP production and job creation, and yet falls in the grey area between Small Business Administration support and the liquidity potential of public markets.
Through our experience launching and exiting businesses, we were able to quickly hone our numerical analysis capabilities in order to generate a comprehensive financial analysis and strategic plan management tool we refer to as the Business and Market Strategy Guide (B&MSG). This tool is exceptionally useful in helping our clients understand market risks and valuation expectations, to benchmark the business against its industry peers, to identify internal trending, to track trending over time, and to identify opportunities for improvement and to prioritize them based on anticipated impact to value. While this is all important data to understand and employ to achieve quality, growth, and efficiency optimization at any stage of the business lifecycle, we quickly came to recognize that there was an essential element that could not be identified and addressed simply by looking at the numbers. This element was the capability of the company to facilitate effective, durable change. We have all experienced backsliding, or a team’s inability to fulfill the objectives of a change initiative, even when all stakeholders believe that the change would be beneficial. I liken these events to the dramatic makeover “reality” shows like Hoarders, Restaurant Impossible, or any of the multitudes within this genre. Individuals, families, or teams experience this life-altering transformation and are brought to tears by the second chance they have been given, yet when the retrospective episodes are filmed a year or two later, they are almost always right back where they started. We spent a great deal of time trying to figure out why this happens, and what, if anything, could be done to stop it. What we found was very exciting to us and laid the foundation for what we now refer to as the Key Opportunity Assessment (KOA).
What we learned is that there are two underlying factors that, more than anything else determines potential to implement durable change: behaviors and environment. If you do not learn new behaviors that support the change you are looking to make, backsliding is inevitable. Furthermore, if the physical environment is not adapted to ensuring that necessary new habits and practices are easier than the old habits and practices, you are not doing all that can be done to facilitate the success of your team. The KOA is a tool that looks at your organizational infrastructure and strategic planning and implementation processes to help identify where to look for behaviors and configurations that are hindering your organization from becoming as innovative, agile, and durable as it could be. We have performed this analysis on many companies including our own, and have been able to generate extraordinary transformations by paring the findings of this report with the strategic opportunities generated by our B&MSG.
So, how does it work? The KOA is a survey that taps into your organizational and industry experience to learn about your business. It is split into two major sections: organizational infrastructure and strategic planning and implementation. The first section of the survey has you take a look at how you feel that your organization is performing compared to its potential and identifies inherent gaps. In the second section you are asked a series of “yes/no” questions. The culmination of your input generates a distinct pattern that tells the story of where your business is excelling, and where it is lagging behind expectations. This survey narrative helps us to uncover the true underlying opportunities, threats, and strengths upon which you can build.
We are so excited about how this tool performs in helping us achieve our objectives in delivering meaningful advisory support to LMM businesses that we have decided to give away access to this survey. We have a portal to take the FREE KOA assessment. We hope that you will see for yourself the impact that preparing your organization can have on your next change initiative.