Articles

Anything for a Buck

Entrepreneur: a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risk. So how does Trilogy Partners help manage potential risk? We help owners fully understand the financial story of their business including the danger of “Anything for a Buck”. It starts with an idea, for a product or service that you can do better than anyone else. This idea will make you more money than you’re earning now PLUS, you make the rules and set your schedule. So, you make the leap. You buy the domain, create a website, and hang out your shingle. You are open for business. The phone rings! It’s a friend who needs X. Now X isn’t exactly what you do but after a brief conversation, you accept the […]

Read More....

A Rosy View of Business

One day many summers ago, the founder of Trilogy Partners, Hal Levenson, brought a bunch of varied colored roses from his garden into our office.  Sitting in a bucket, the unshorn flowers were wild with bits of soil clinging to them.  Instinctively, I grabbed the roses from the bucket and started cleaning them, taking off the thorns, disposing of dead leaves and neatly assembling them into separate vases.  I thought of our team members as I constructed each display.  Who would like the tall vase? Who would appreciate yellow roses instead of red?  Once completed, I distributed each bouquet and after an initial sense of gratitude, I noticed that each team member coveted the arrangement by showcasing it in a perfect spot.  As days passed, I witnessed people filling their […]

Read More....

Trilogy Partners – A 10 Year Journey

As a CPA, people often ask me why I started Trilogy Partners.  I enjoyed my career but deep inside, I knew that I wanted a different path, one that would allow me to be more consultative, collaborative and capitalize on my tendency to look at things differently. Being an entrepreneur and working with entrepreneurs, I recognized that business owners look to the future, search for opportunities and sometimes ignore potential pitfalls.  Also, many business owners are visionaries and excel at their trade but are not strong at implementation and managing people or processes. My idea was to solve this disconnect and form a team of trusted advisors who could help entrepreneurs implement their vision, create new opportunities for their employees and pay it forward to other entrepreneurs. In the beginning, […]

Read More....

What’s the “Real” Business Challenge?

What holds a business back? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see even successful companies struggle to grow. When working with Trilogy clients, challenges typically surface in the following categories: Fundamental business issues Culture of the organization Attitude towards change Let’s explore each of these critical areas in more detail: 1. Fundamental business issues can be defined in two categories: Growth: Strategy, Sales/Marketing and Organizational Sustainability: People, Financial and Processes Examine the company and ask the following questions: Is there a clear, concise written strategic plan that is aligned by all members of the team? Are marketing and sales efforts being tracked, measured and getting consistent results? Is there a current and future organizational chart outlining expectations, gaps and opportunities for advancement? Is recruiting, training, onboarding, and compensation putting the right […]

Read More....

Maximize your Business Value

I enjoy working with Trilogy clients, helping them to better understand their financials to set strategy and drive growth. But what happens when owners want to exit the business? How can they ensure that they get the highest value for the business they’ve dedicated their life to build? As you may know, the industry standard valuation method is a multiple of a organization’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA). The objective of a company in the short-term is to maximize EBITDA any way possible, to improve its value. However, depending on your industry or business model, one may have to decide if EBITDA is the best strategy to value your business as demonstrated by these two examples: First, let’s look at MakeStuff, LLC, a manufacturing company that has […]

Read More....

School Smarts + Street Smarts = Success

When working with Trilogy clients, I often tell them the story of Mitch and Jack, two high school friends with contrasting personalities.  Mitch was a loner, a straight-A student who always completed the extra credit homework and was essentially the pompous, go-to answer man when the rest of us stared back at Mr. Carmen with dazed expressions. Jack, on the other hand, was a good student who finished his homework during lunch, right before class.  He often showed up a few minutes late, usually detained by friends seeking his brotherly advice. Jack was a very good listener and involved in many school and community activities. Many years after graduation, I saw both men at a high school reunion.  I found it fascinating to learn how their lives had evolved. Mitch […]

Read More....

Navigating your Family Business from Conflict to Accomplishment

When working with family members in business with one another, something reveals itself over and over – the ties that bind also serve as stress points for potential unraveling.  With expertise in group and family dynamics, conflict management, and behavioral science, I am often asked to provide consultation and coaching to Trilogy clients with family-owned businesses who recognize that “things could be better” from both business and personal perspectives.  Does your family experience any of these issues causing conflict and misunderstanding? Decisions about the future direction of the business. Differences in leadership styles, practices, and core business values. Permitting undesirable and potentially destructive workplace behaviors to (erroneously) maintain harmony. Differences in performance and time commitment. Compensation of those actively vs. passively involved in the business. Fairness, equity and expectations around […]

Read More....

What You Said is Not what I Heard

Has this ever happened to you? You are speaking with someone and their response is not at all what you expected based on what you said.  At least, what you thought you said! At Trilogy Partners, we frequently hear this frustration from business owners which prompts the question, do you communicate effectively? Communication is complicated all by itself. Imagine how complicated communication gets when we mix different cultural understandings, gender-speak, frustration, unhappiness, underlying tensions, and the pressure of expectations and deadlines. It’s amazing we get anything right with all the challenges of effective communication and these are just some of the barriers we face! Communication ‘gaps’ create unexpected challenges – an example: Recently, I facilitated a training class attended by leaders of a multinational company. Suddenly, there was a big […]

Read More....

A Business Case for Courage

Business growth is directed through strategy.  This should not be news. Most business leaders have varying levels of implementation around strategy, but most agree that something has to be done with forethought and purpose.  But what really fuels this? At Trilogy Partners, we believe that COURAGE leads to passion that inspires growth. In August 2015, Forbes published an article (A Measure of Courage) highlighting the American Courage Index.  The article outlined business-related questions geared towards courage, as well as those questions that spoke to the social, moral and emotional aspects of courage.  Not surprisingly perhaps, the results showed that business owners are more courageous than the rest of the US population.  And further, emotional courage increases with age.  Conceptually, these outcomes make sense and jive with many of our personal […]

Read More....

Why You Must Over-Communicate

When coaching Trilogy clients, I often make a comment that you may find valuable: “In the absence of information, most people fill in the blanks, make up their own story … and usually add negative assumptions.” As a leader, your life is full and the last thing you’re worrying about is what other people know or don’t know. However, you understand what it feels like to be kept out of the loop. It’s uncomfortable and can lead to a lot of wasted (and wrong) assumptions. For example, let’s say George has been coming to the office late and leaving early. He’s not himself. He doesn’t seem as engaged as he used to be. He seems a little secretive. What are you thinking? Is George looking for a new job? Is […]

Read More....