Vantage Associates
Planning FAQs
Ownership vs Leadership

Succession planning is a growing concern with small businesses these days. This concern is expected to continue as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. A solid succession plan will define an orderly transition from one generation to the next.

The transition process must address both ownership and leadership issues. Although ownership and leadership are often linked, the issues are very different. Ownership transition from generation to generation usually involves spreading ownership among a larger number of people. The options here are as varied as the organizations that use them. Just remember that the sooner you begin, the more options you have.

Some organizations attempt to spread leadership just as they spread ownership. Although some bench strength on the management team is desirable an organization should avoid leadership by committee. The new board members (owners) must distinguish between owner decisions and management decisions.
Sales Management

The Sales Manager position is one of the least understood positions on the organization chart. The Sales Manager is often selected because of their superior sales performance. They often retain responsibility for several major accounts in addition to supervising the sales force. There are at least three areas that should also be included in the Sales Manager's role.

The Sales Manager should be the keeper of the sales strategy and to make sure that everyone on the sales team understands the strategy. The Sales Strategy includes things like pricing, quality, volume and target customer segments.

The Sales Manager also must oversee the training and development of the sales force. This ranges from identifying and scheduling training seminars to periodically riding along with each sales person to provide feedback and advice.

The third area the Sales Manager must focus on is developing performance objectives and tracking results. The Sales Manager must monitor sales efforts by reviewing call patterns and analyze results in the form of sales, margins, and customer/product mix.
Poll Question
The poll question last quarter asked: How likely is it that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States? Here is the result:
43%Very Likely
29%Somewhat Likely
7%Don't Know
7%Somewhat Unlikely
14%Very Unlikely
Our poll question this quarter is: How likely is it that the $700B bailout will allow the U.S. to avoid a major recession?

  • Very Likely
  • Somewhat Likely
  • Don't Know
  • Somewhat Unlikely
  • Very Unlikely
  • We will report the results in the next issue. Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like.
    Top-Down Planning
    Planning can take two forms - either top-down or bottom-up. Top-down planning is when the Vision and broad strategy is developed first at the highest level of the organization. The planning process then cascades down through the organization moving from corporate to subsidiary to division or department levels. Bottom-up planning follows the opposite pattern. It starts at the division or function level and rolls up to the level above. Top-down has the advantage of being driven by a consistent strategy throughout the organization. Bottom-up is merely the sum of its parts and usually lacks a cohesive strategy.

    Future Topics
  • Business Leverage
  • Mentor as Teacher
  • For more information contact Jim Sisson -
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