Trusted Counsel

New Podcast Series: Episode Four

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In this fourth episode of our podcast series titled “Pithy Conversations with CEOs,” Trusted Counsel’s Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak to Erik Bush, CEO and Founder of Demand Driven Technologies (DD Tech). Founded in 2011, DD Tech specializes in cloud-based supply chain software solutions. With over 80 enterprises, today DD Tech has a global presence and a deep channel partner network.

Bush attributes his company success to be the first in the industry to adopt Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (MRP) when it was introduced to the marketplace in 2011. The new methodology goes into their replenishment solution. With the new MRP model, the logic addresses the needs of manufacturers to plan both their inventories and materials out in a time phased manner. The old MRP model was much more dependent on forecasts. Bush said, “This Demand Driven MRP movement has really taken the market by storm. Clients get real value out of it and they find that they’re far less dependent on things like Microsoft Excel, which believe it or not a lot of the big companies around the world are still using as their inventory planning tool. So as a result, we’re giving clients much better results.” Today, DD Tech is the leading provider of the compliant supply chain solutions. Last year, the company was selected as a Venture Atlanta Presenting Company, the Southeast’s premier event for connecting technology innovation and investment capital.

Prior to founding DD Tech, Bush retired from IBM (2010) after 31 years with the company, the majority in executive management roles. He told us during the podcast, “When I retired, I thought I might do something entrepreneurial, because I’ve always had the itch to go out and try my luck at that.” A year later, he started DD Tech. Bush stressed over and over in the interview that the company really takes a lot of pride in delivering real value to the customer and that they solve problems for the customer.

During the course of the podcast CEOs, business owners, and C-level executives will learn:

  • What led Bush to form DD Tech after he retired from IBM

  • DD Techs process for raising venture capital

  • Bush’s sales lessons

  • KPI’s Bush follows closely every month

  • Pithy advice to new CEOs

    Don’t miss a single episode of our podcast show. Subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on Apple iTunes and on Google Play to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

Happy New Year! Your Business Guide to Speed up Innovation and Dump the Junk

This podcast originally aired in July 2017

This podcast originally aired in July 2017

In this episode of In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel speak with strategist Susan Reed about innovation. Reed is the founder and CEO of EdgeDweller, which for 30 years has transformed organizations and individuals through front-end innovation practices that are powerful, practical and proven. She and the team at EdgeDweller have helped launch more than 150 products and services for 122 brands representing more than 25 industries. EdgeDweller specializes in creating high impact programs for corporations, strategic business units, nonprofits, individuals and small groups. Reed is passionately committed to driving up profitability while sustaining high growth through insightful analytics and intentional creativity.

Disruptive thinking and making it safe
According to Reed, there is a love-hate relationship about disruptive innovation. She believes the key is actually about learning how to make the planning process and the ultimate launch safe. Businesses can reduce the risks and better develop the ideas by working within the organization, or with consultants such as EdgeDweller, to better formulate those ideas and develop very incremental paths to get to the launch. Reed says, “We create those ideas but show organizations a very incremental path to get there from where they are today. So if you can prove it in step one, you move to step two. That’s the only way, until you see it through.”

In one of our most popular podcasts to date, Reed discusses how to reach innovation faster. In essence, one needs to get rid of bad innovation habits. Check out her guide for innovation don’ts to effectively speed up your innovation success.

Innovation Don’ts (according to Susan Reed):

1. Never, ever start with ideation
Starting with ideation is the least effective path to implementation of innovation. And this is very often where we start. “Really?” you ask. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have success decision metrics in place, hence, there is no agreement on what equals true innovation if you start off with ideation. As a result, little if anything will get implemented.

2. No more one offs
As we all know, things move very quickly in this day and age. So if you believe that you can create an innovation and then give it an incremental upgrade, it’s going to be out of date before it even launches. It’s important to realize that you’ve got to have that long-term plan that requires a series of actions that need to happen behind the first innovation.

3. Forget skills-based or cross-function based teams
The idea behind this statement is that if you use these types of teams, you will only receive incremental ideas, versus real innovative ideas. These teams are working in this space daily; hence they know the rules and boundaries.

4. No more fun fest creative extravaganzas
While clearly not intentional, you are setting up your organization for failure if you don’t have a way to capture ideas and implement the really good ones that are suggested. Having an idea party or meeting will lead to frustration. You’ll end up in a worse place than you were when you started. Reed also refers to this don’t as “the rise and fall of excitement” - it is just that.

5. Never tell people that the innovation project starts with R&D or customer insights
Companies are beginning to realize this. A recent study showed that these practices are actually limiting growth and innovation. So while experts agree that organizations need R&D and customer insights, they recommend that you wait until future states are created, then use it for the feasibility of those ideas, to support them.

So are you ready to innovate or do more of it? Susan Reed recommends the following: Have a serious conversation on how you define innovation, what you’re willing to do and really understand that and communicate it very clearly to your team. Everything is based on that. When you articulate what it is you’re going to do, make sure that it’s going to work. Also remember that most initiatives don’t have a chance of working. “That’s crazy too.”

Want to get the full conversation on “Speed up Innovation. Dump the Junk?” Stream this episode in the player below. You can also subscribe on iTunes to receive new episodes of In Process Podcast directly on your smartphone.

Trusted Counsel Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary with Exciting Move!

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After several years at Colony Square in midtown Atlanta, we are moving effective Friday, January 11th, 2019 to a larger space to accommodate our law firm growth! The new office is located a few blocks away in Two Midtown Plaza.

Overseeing the office move is Chief Operating Officer Jon Lassiter. He states, "Over the past eighteen months Trusted Counsel has grown significantly and we have been looking for the right space for some time now. In order to accommodate our current and future growth we are going to the 15th floor of Two Midtown Plaza on our 15th Anniversary! We are most excited about the office design because there will be several conference rooms and collaborative spaces. It’s more like an agency space than a typical law firm design. We feel this will help with recruitment and have a big impact on our projects.” Our telephone number will remain the same, 404.898.2900.

New Office Address:

1349 West Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 1525
Atlanta, GA 30309

A little bit about Two Midtown Plaza: It was constructed in 1986 and the architectural style is postmodernism. The building holds a gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). 

We look forward to seeing you at our new location! While our location may change, our high level of service will always stay the same.

How I Did It: I Bought a Failing Business and Turned it Around in 60 Days

“My partner and I bought a software business and we took it apart. We were set out to turn this warhorse into a systems house.”

“My partner and I bought a software business and we took it apart. We were set out to turn this warhorse into a systems house.”

In this episode, Trusted Counsel’s Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak to Senior Counsel, Tom Wardell who joined the firm in early 2018. If you missed the press release on Tom’s joining Trusted Counsel, you can read it here. Additionally, Tom was president and CEO of Versyss from 1988 to 1993. Versyss was a provider of computer systems for small businesses and based in Boston and Los Angeles. It was the largest provider in the United States for the physician practice and credit union industries and one of the top-three providers for the construction and building-supply industry. Tom’s experience with buying and selling Versyss gives him unique insight and practical understanding of our clients’ businesses and the operating problems and issues they face. We’re pleased to share with you our in-depth interview with Tom Wardell.

According to Tom, he and his business partner David knew what they were getting into when they bought Versyss. They had a good sense of where the mistakes were and what the problems were. Upon takeover, they immediately set out to get rid of expensive R&D projects. Next, they tightened operations which meant eliminated various projects and there were necessary layoffs. Lastly, they decided to set the foundation for a larger concept that entailed positioning the company as a “systems integrator.” They managed to turn the business around in 60 days in terms of having it run in the black, and therefore, generating cash that they could use for operations.

Absolutely critical during the process was having a strong executive team. Tom said “You wind up needing people who first of all buy into your vision. Secondly, you need to know how to assign responsibility and hold people accountable without pushing or scaring them.” The business success can also be contributed to managers who created a strong team.

Tom ultimately sold the business because a true systems integration business required an engineering/programming creating thinking group that was different than what the company was at the time. Secondly, his business partner became very unwell.  Based on his partner’s illness, Tom thought it best to sell the business instead of continuing this entrepreneur undertaking.      

During the course of the podcast, CEOs, business owners, and C-level executives will learn:

  • The biggest challenges Tom faced when he bought the business

  • What prompted him to start wearing bow ties (it started when he bought the business!)

  • How he got the business out of the black in 60 days

  • Advice for CEOs or first-time entrepreneurs looking to sell a business

To learn more about the steps that you should be taking inside your business now to make it more attractive for a successful sale visit our dedicated website www.preppingtheprincess.com. Also, be sure to check out our new e-book titled Prepping the Princess: Is Your Business Ready to Sell? Download the e-book here. The e-book is compiled of a collection of conversations recorded over the course of 2018 as a podcast series on our podcast show called “In Process: Conversations About Business in the 21st Century.” The show is hosted by Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel. The e-book is designed to give the enterprising business owner an idea of how to prepare for an exit, even if that transaction is years away from fruition.

Don’t miss a single episode of our podcast show. Subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes and now on Google Play to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

New Podcast Series: Episode 3

Susan Grossinger and Rainlight

In this episode, the third of a new series titled “Pithy Conversations with CEOs,” Trusted Counsel’s Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak to Susan Grossinger of Rainlight, a boutique product design studio in London and Los Angeles. Rainlight’s talented team of industrial designers create products in all areas of architecture and design that include,; carpeting, furniture, and very technical curtain wall systems. In other words, anything that touches the architecture or interiors of a building is within Rainlight’s realm. Susan explained to us during the interview, “We’re part lab, part workshop and part studio.” 

Never in a million years did Susan believe that she’d have a career in running a product design company, but she says it’s great as she finds objects and products fascinating. She has a great quote that says, “Product is about the individual and their interaction with an object. It is the most personal of the design disciplines. Whether it’s your eyeglasses, the chair you sit in, or your steering wheel, we have a visceral interaction with design that affects our day-to-day life. The opportunity that makes experience extraordinary is itself an exceptional experience.”

When we asked Susan what sets Rainlight apart from their competition, she was quick to reply. For Rainlight, it’s about taking the approach of business consulting. They consult their clients every step of the way and takes pride in being their clients’ confidant. Rainlight works alongside their clients to look at the broader picture in helping them be successful in the marketplace. For example, Rainlight will review renderings of newly designed products and explain to the client that the products are meant to pair the brand identity with the design of the client’s space. That branding is not simply a new logo of a website, the space and objects are crucial elements of the brand experience for their client’s customers. The discussion could segue to reviewing an element of the client’s marketing strategy and that’s exactly’s Rainlight’s approach, business consulting. At the end of the day, however, Susan reminded us that it’s about the products and making them work in the designated spaces.  

Susan was recently honored by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) with a lifetime membership. She is a three-time judge of the Product Innovation Awards. When she’s not working she’s active in environmental and animal rights non-profits and has served on the Board of Directors for Heal the Bay in Santa, Monica, California for more than 15 years.

During the course of the podcast, CEOs, business owners, and C-level executives will learn:

  • About Susan and her background (which is not in architecture nor design)

  • Rainlight’s approach to working with clients in terms of “the process” for product design

  • Susan’s biggest challenge with running the business

  • Rainlight’s business priority of the year

  • Susan’s words of wisdom for show listeners

Don’t miss a single episode of our podcast show. Subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes and now on Google Play to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.