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There are always going to be too many business metrics for you to track. The sophistication of automated tools today means you could literally set-up tracking on every activity you or your team do in a day. But tracking everything is not helpful when you have specific performance goals in mind, and a limited budget to accomplish them.
You, as founder, need to know what drives financial results for your startup. This is as true on day 1 as it is when you start realize larger traction in the market. You want to ensure a strong financial foundation remains as your business progresses - and that means tracking your ability to attract and retain customers. Here are five business metrics to track as your startup grows:
1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
The cost of acquiring new customers is the benchmark metric by which to measure growth. It indicates how well your sales and marketing strategy is working. Like all the metrics in this list, CAC is relative and time-specific. In other words, a healthy CAC depends on how much money you are spending, over a certain time period, to acquire new customers. The equation looks like this:
CAC = sales and marketing spend + total operational spend
# of new customers acquired
You should make adjustments to your sales and marketing strategy based on what it costs to acquire 1 new customer. You should also be measuring regularly to track performance over time. Doing so will give you a fuller picture of whether or not a new product or service is performing satisfactorily.
It’s important to note that CAC is relative to the cost structure of each business. For example, the CAC for a SaaS company selling a monthly subscription-based consumer application is going to be lower than an IT company selling security solutions to enterprise firms. The reason for this is the sales cycles are much shorter for consumer selling companies as compared to B2B selling situations. However, that does not mean the SaaS company has a healthier CAC. They might have a smaller cost structure but have an unstable revenue model. The revenue generated from each customer is going to be lower for the SaaS company as compared to the enterprise IT firm (for whom a single sale might be worth hundreds of thousands), indicating volume as a key influencer in determining a healthy CAC. The underlying issues of cost and scale are why so many startups cannot survive: they cannot keep the cost of acquiring new customers low enough. This, in turn, is why scale fast is so appealing (though rife with its own set of landmines).
2. Customer Lifetime Value
Closely related to the cost of acquiring customers is the revenue generated from each customer over their entire interaction with you - the customer lifetime value (or CLV). It can be hard to put a reliable number to this value in the early stages, but as you collect more data you can start to trace patterns for how much revenue a single customer generates overtime.
In some cases it can be a predictive tool to assess projected growth. Take the SaaS company as an example. If they are selling a monthly package for $60/month over a 12-month term, they can calculate the CLV at $720/year for every customer who signed up.
A number of other key insights can be gleaned from CLV. For starters, projections of this accuracy give you an idea for how much can be spent to acquire new customers. If you know it costs you $5 to acquire a new customer, and that customer brings in $720 per year, then you can justify spending more to acquire that type of customer because they bring solid revenue over time.
A good way to measure CLV over time is to compare it to CAC. As a rule of thumb for startups, you want to keep a 3:1 CLV-to-CAC ratio or greater - with the caveat that this varies greatly by industry and customer profile. Success depends on two things: your cost structure, and your marketing and sales initiatives to retain customers over time. Beyond that, a healthy CLV indicates a business model that is humming along quite nicely because revenue is compounding over time, with costs remaining steady in relation to profits. It looks good in a pitch deck - but even better on your bottom line.
3. Churn Rate
Another critical gauge of success is your churn rate. This measure provides your net customer score by focusing attention on how many customers you’ve gained or lost. To calculate churn, follow these steps.
Set a specific time period over which to measure (month-to-month is most common)Divide the # of customers lost from the total # of customers you started the month withTurn it into a percentage
For example, if you began the month with 100 customers and finished the month with 90, your churn rate is 0.01 - or 10%. Here’s how the equation looks:
10 (customer lost) / 100 (total customers) = 0.1
It goes without saying: the lower the churn rate the better. The problem? It becomes complex to track accurately the more trials and types of customer segments you set up, and as you gain more customers over time. For example, the churn rate for an enterprise level offering is going to differ from an intro level service, and if you offer trial periods than you need to factor that in to. On top of that, deciding what day of the month to calculate the ‘total number of customers’ introduces some unwanted variability - especially as a startup approaches product-market-fit levels of growth. Ultimately, however your churn rate measurement dates are set up, it needs to be applied consistently over time to be an enlightening metric indicating the sticky-ness of your customers.
4. Net Burn Rate
The flipside of churn rate is burn rate, and it tells a different story. Burn rate gives you your operating costs, articulated as a ‘runway’ time - or, in other words, how fast the company is losing money. This is an essential metric for early stage companies to track because investors often look to it as a measure of the viability of the business model, despite the fact that the company has not yet achieved net positive income. The equation to track net burn rate is:
Net burn rate = cash ⌯ monthly operating expenses
The connection to revenue is evident. Revenue variability is a common cause of burn rate fluctuating month over month. Founders looking to establish deterministic growth can look to their monthly net burn rate as a reflection of how they are doing in an attempt to reduce variability.
5. Company Valuation
Arguably the trickiest metric to track is company valuation. It is tricky because it is a collection of all the previously mentioned performance metrics (and more), compared against the market size and projected growth of the industry in which you operate. A further complication is that company valuation is determined through negotiations between founders and investors, with each stakeholder interested to set valuations at their optimal price point. For founders it is important to establish a baseline valuation as early as possible, and then adjust it as the company evolves. The problem? It’s an arduous task that involves:
Assessing total value of company assets (it’s intellectual property and actual material things it owns).Evaluating the revenue stream (which is made possible by tracking the metrics mentioned above).
Getting the Whole Picture
Setting up a measurement system to track these measures of success is a good first start. A word of caution here though: automated marketing software makes this easier than ever, but you still need to put the pieces together to gather these metrics. You need to dig deep to find the trends behind the data, especially as your startup grows.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is Co-Founder and General Partner of , an innovative management consulting partner that helps startup to scale-up technology and tech-enabled clients innovate and grow through Strategy & Planning, Executive Leadership, Product Excellence and – delivering the right and strategic playbook, at the right time, for the right outcomes. Jim's 15+ years of experience as a in global and integrated operations, sales, and marketing uniquely qualifies him to lead Morgan Hill Partners associate operations and affiliate partnerships. Over the course of Jim’s career, he has successfully worked with companies undergoing accelerated business development, process improvement, change management and operational transformation initiatives.
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It’s 4:30AM and I’m having a hard time sleeping.
I’m tossing, turning, and sweating, running through a constant stream of scenarios in my head.
Mostly I’m chewing on different combinations of ideas for how to overcome obstacles in the growth of the company - how to get us out there in the market better, faster (like yesterday).
Juggling people, resources, strategy, daily challenges... this must be what it feels like to be a football coach.
Finally fall back to sleep.
5:30 AM: Wake up again, this time for longer but I’m feeling defeated.
I ask myself, “What issue is it that I’m really trying to solve here?” and there is no one thing. There are opportunities for improvement everywhere, and that’s what drives me to think things through in 1,000 different ways.
Realization: Running a business is like trying to complete a massive puzzle, but with lots of moving pieces.
I stare at the ceiling.
6:30 AM: Rise, shower, grab a bite and send some emails.
The early morning breeze passes over me and I feel supercharged and calm in the same breath.
Tomorrow I tell myself I will work-out. This morning I have important emails stewing in my inbox. Gotta take this opportunity to get some real work done before the day gets crowded.
I’m rushing out the door by 6:45.
7:30 AM: Meeting with co-founders Steve and John. We are building this business together and it’s so valuable to touch base in the early morning to set the pace for the day.
I’m all about the cadence. The routine. If you focus on a regular routine you are bound to get results.
“Process beats talent every day of the week” - Jim Barnish
Founding a business with partners is kind of a blessing and a course. Blessing: you can share the load and get different perspectives on the same issue. Curse: you don’t see eye-to-eye and collaborate + strategize effectively.
I share my goals for the day and give feedback on what the others are up to. I disagree on some strategic positions and have to hold my thoughts on how I would do it if it were just me leading the business, but mostly we are all on the same page.
Realization: great things take time, and founders need to be exceptional negotiators.
We share some laughs and lessons learned. (Another benefit to having co-founders is that you can commiserate together).
8:30 AM: Meeting with an Associate who is building out our new site.
It’s so nice to be able to meet in person with a close collaborator (I realize how few meetings of mine are in person - so much of it is over the phone).
I really like where the new site is going. Solid architecture, streamlined experience. This is really going to get our proper message across. V2 baby!
9 AM: Have to run out of my previous meeting to make it in time for a call with a prospective client. I do lots of listening and take note of the pain points. I still feel squirmy when We’re still iterating when pitching our team and services, but it gets crisper each time. It’s all about process.
9:45 AM: Chance to catch up on some emails I did not get to earlier. I jump into our methodology and make some updates - constant iteration is the name of the game! - before heading out the door for my next engagement.
10:30 AM: Meeting with a local VC firm to discuss partnership.
Meeting starts well, but it becomes clear the VC does not think they have a problem in how they source and manage due diligence. How is that possible? I spend most of the meeting in gear 1 because they clearly don’t see the long-term value we can bring. It’s frustrating, but as the age-old adage goes, “The best thing after a yes, is a quick no.” So it goes…. But I did leave the meeting with another meeting scheduled! That’s a win!
12PM: Back to the office for a meeting with a new Associate. Need to make sure he is on boarding properly and feeling properly engaged.
Swim lanes are absolutely crucial in business, and as a General Partner I’m responsible for managing everyone’s swim lanes.
In Morgan Hill terms that means grouping everything - competencies, projects, tasks, notes. One big advantage we have: our five disciplines in the Path-to-Value Roadmap to keep everyone aligned on the vision (Company,Talent, Product, Revenue, and Operations).
We group all the work in a project management / data repository suite called Notion, this helps make it possible for me to oversee all the swim lanes.
In this case the Associate had a lot of questions about a specific client project. I answered what I could and got him set up with others who could help him where I was not the resident expert.
Realization: Connecting people is the best and fastest way to share knowledge and build trust and camaraderie within an organization.
12:45PM: Meeting with client to discuss deliverables and next steps.
One founder conversing with another about their issues and aspirations - this is where I feel most comfortable and capable.
I pull a lot of examples from recent experience.
I realize that starting Morgan Hill has given me tons of first hand experience to relay to other founders to help them grow.
1:30PM: I spend the next hour answering emails while scarfing down a sandwich and a chocolate bar.
I manage to get a 10 minute walk break in (while talking to Steven on the phone). A much needed reprieve.
3PM: Another meeting with a client to get up to speed on how things are going. I’ve seen a big change in this companies attitude and performance since our first interaction with them over 6 months ago. Nice validation for the Morgan Hill team and Path-to-Value Roadmap.
4PM: I follow up on some project tasks and realize some projects are falling behind schedule.
Juggling so much makes it hard to oversee specifics in a project, and I feel overwhelmed at all the work I see that needs to be done. Why do I have to remind employees to do the same thing so many times!
I compile a list of work to get through on Thursday - my “real work day” when no meetings are booked and I can get some solid work done. As usual the work list exceeds a full day. Gonna be another late night on Thursday, which of course means I have to cancel dinner plans. Sorry dad...he’ll understand, plus I’ll make it up to him after this thing is built out to the heights I know it will get to.
5:30PM: A coaching meeting with a local startup accelerator to walk them our Path-to-Value Roadmap. We have so much potential to disrupt the industry with our data driven model, and these coaches really take to our approach.
7:30PM: Home for “dinner” (No one ever complained about Chic Fil A two nights in a row).
9PM: Try to unwind with some TV but get distracted by email on the phone and spend the next hour reading up on innovation hubs and entrepreneurship.
There is so much to be done and yet so many intangibles involved in creating vibrant hubs for innovation. The same could be said about starting a new business.
1130PM: Start thinking about what meetings I have tomorrow and jump back into work mode to prepare for them.
12PM: Start burning the midnight oil to get up to speed for the rest of the week.
1AM: Finally close my computer.
Some moments this feels like too much...but then I think back to the day I had and the one planned for tomorrow - it was beautiful at its core; I wouldn’t trade the life of a founder for anything :)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is Co-Founder and General Partner of , an innovative management consulting partner that helps startup to scale-up technology and tech-enabled clients innovate and grow through Strategy & Planning, Executive Leadership, Product Excellence and – delivering the right and strategic playbook, at the right time, for the right outcomes. Jim's 15+ years of experience as a in global and integrated operations, sales, and marketing uniquely qualifies him to lead Morgan Hill Partners associate operations and affiliate partnerships. Over the course of Jim’s career, he has successfully worked with companies undergoing accelerated business development, process improvement, change management and operational transformation initiatives.
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As Tampa Bay becomes a hot spot for startups, entrepreneurs need more support than ever. In an effort to connect individuals in the local tech community, Morgan Hill Partners is partnering with High Tech Connect and Florida Funders to host April Tech Fest on Thursday, April 18th from 6pm to 8pm.
The event will take place at SecureSet Tampa, where participants will get the opportunity to network with their peers, learn more about companies in the Tampa Bay area and enjoy complimentary refreshments. During the April event, attendees will also learn more about Morgan Hill Partners and High Tech Connect as well as Florida Funders, and how each one is helping businesses throughout the community.
“We are excited to host this event with two of our top partners here in Tampa: Florida Funders and High Tech Connect. It's another great opportunity for the tech community to come together across all parts of the ecosystem in the name of forward progress. Just another example that #InnovationLivesHere in Tampa!" - Jim Barnish, Morgan Hill General Partner.
Morgan Hill Partners, a venture services firm in Tampa Bay, partners with companies from startup to scale-up providing strategic planning to help innovate, build and accelerate growth. With a team comprised of serial entrepreneurs and investors, Morgan Hill is dedicated to helping businesses succeed and achieve their goals.
For more information on April Tech Fest, check out the event page here. For more information on Morgan Hill Partners and how they can help your business, visit their website here.
#StartUp2ScaleUp
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Cryptocurrency is a means of making payments or paying for items without going through a central bank. Computer algorithms generate the units, determine their value and verify the transfer of funds. Startups may be tempted to use them because of their encryption and security features, but you should keep these three things in mind before entering the world of cryptocurrency payments.
Understanding Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology is a digital system of recording the transactions that are conducted in a specific type of cryptocurrency. The technology is strung across several different hard drives in a sort of peer-to-peer network. The phrase "blockchain technology" is often used by people, but few of them know what it means. This source explains that a full 94% of financial experts suspect their colleagues are using buzzwords like "blockchain" and "artificial intelligence" without understanding their meaning. When it comes to blockchain technology, no centralized version exists. It is currently a free-for-all market.
More Regulation is on the Way
There is currently minimal to no regulation of blockchain technology, but it is coming. This source explains that The Commodities Futures Trading Commission treats cryptocurrency as a commodity, while the Securities and Exchange Commission treats it like a security. The IRS treats it like money, making blockchain technology a type of digital banking system that the IRS needs to be informed of for suspicious transactions, fraud and abuse. People in favor of regulation argue that federal rules for blockchain technology could make it more inclusive and accessible.
Instability is a Real Concern
Instability is a real concern in cryptocurrency use in the USA and around the world. The prices can swing wildly from week to week and month to month. The lack of regulatory oversight plays a big role in this instability. The management of different cryptocurrency services is also volatile. Bitcoin, the most widely used cryptocurrency, experienced the most fluctuation in value throughout 2018. Ethereum's leader recently dropped projects because of a tweet that caused an outrage among industry analysts and coin aficionados. This instability has caused many industry leaders to turn away from cryptocurrency. Every business has to protect itself against counterfeiting and fraud. The digital encryption offered by cryptocurrency offers some peace of mind, but the volatility may not be for everyone. Before making a decision, you and the other managers of your startup should put plenty of thought and research into your planning process.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your startup or other business, let Morgan Hill Partners guide you to success!
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Every company strives to hire the very best talent. That could mean providing the kinds of perks and incentives that would attract skilled employees. After all, if they're in demand, then they could have their pick of companies to work for. Once you've hired the talent, you have to focus on retaining that talent. Here are three ways to keep your stellar team loyal to your company.
Provide Opportunities to Learn
There are countless stories of CEOs and managers at Fortune 500 companies who got their start at the bottom rung of the “company ladder.” It's preferable to hire within because those are the kinds of employees who have a vested interest in a company’s continued success. You should make it known with every new hire that there will be room for advancement. That sentiment can only be proven with your promotions of current employees. You can also provide opportunities for your employees to learn more while on the job. An investment in college courses or certifications could go a long way to keeping those employees loyal.
Keep Employees Engaged
Your employees need to feel as though they’re a part of the company and not just a “cog in the machine.” That's why it's vital to engage your employees through open lines of communication. You can provide progress reports on a regular basis through company-wide emails or newsletters. This helps to encourage feedback about ways to improve efficiency. If you want to retain great talent, you need to engage your employees in the company by allowing them to contribute to how the company can best serve its clients.
Reward Good Work
A bonus in a paycheck would certainly be welcomed by any employee. However, not every reward for good work has to be monetary. You should single out those employees who have proven to be a great asset to the company. Acknowledge their contributions to a particular project by letting them know directly that they did a good job. If the entire team delivered, then buy the group lunch or send employees home early as a thank you. Any employee who feels undervalued will be looking for other opportunities, and that's not the attitude you want to allow to fester.
Retaining talent in your company means not taking people for granted. The bigger the company, the more this becomes a challenge. Just remember, if it weren’t for those employees, then your company wouldn’t have success.
One of the best ways to keep employees trusting in your company and wanting to stay is to have a good plan. For effective business planning and strategy, let Morgan Hill Partners help!
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Your company starts with ideas, hope and a few clients. With time and effort, your company should expand, offering products and services to a larger market. As business grows, you will have to spend some time evaluating your business plan and strategy, and the needs of the company itself. This article looks at three aspects of your company that may need to change with company growth.
Policies and Procedures
When a company is just starting out, many aspects of the organization are loose. One person might have multiple roles. How the job gets done is less important than getting the job done. As your company grows, there will need to be more oversight. Financial practices need to be properly administered. Hiring policies and expectations need to be understood by everyone. There may also be concerns about day-to-day policies. This article discusses, “policy development involves identifying need, gathering information, drafting, consulting and review. The stages for policy development are: identify need, identify who will take lead responsibility, gather information, draft policy, consult with appropriate stakeholders, finalise/approve policy, consider whether procedures are required, implement, and monitor/review/revise.” Eventually, the informality of the startup in a garage needs to evolve into a professional company.
Workspace
As your company grows, you may need to re-evaluate your workspace needs. Only so many people can fit into the space you have now. If your workforce is expanding, your workspace needs to expand as well. You may see your small workspace as something you can work around, but a lawyer will see an accident in that space as a sign of negligence. A crowded space can mean improperly stored materials and accidents waiting to happen. This article explains, “negligence occurs when the person who causes the accident or injury does not maintain a level of care that would be expected of a reasonable person.” By giving plenty of space for each employee and his or her equipment, you can prevent legal issues in the future.
Staffing
Many people who start businesses are slow to hire new employees. This article encourages asking questions, “when you reach a growth point, it’s essential to ask yourself key questions before hiring more employees. Can I afford it? Is it the right time? Do I understand the hidden costs? Should I hire or promote from within? What do your instincts say?” Other things to think about is how the salary and benefits of a full-time worker take money away from profits. Yet, often the best way to grow your business is to hire experts to handle regular tasks. A professional accountant will be able to handle company finances more efficiently than you, especially if the business is expanding. A dedicated IT specialist can handle your technology and let you attend to the bigger picture. Hours can be lost in working with social media and reviews, but a dedicated social media manager can streamline the process. Hiring people to handle these tasks acknowledges that your time has value. You have worked hard to grow your company. Now you need to do what is necessary to keep that growth alive. By investing time and money in the company itself, you are writing a new chapter of success for your business.
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Every business owner wants to see his or her business expand and grow. Sometimes the unexpected happens, and a business blossoms from a startup to a household name seemingly overnight. For the most part, though, business growth is the reward of slow and steady effort. This article looks at five ways to grow your business over time.
Improve Your Marketing
Your business starts with a great idea for a product or service, but it will only grow when you share that idea with the world. Marketing takes time and effort. If your product is geared to an older audience, an email campaign may not be as effective as direct mailing. On the other hand, millennials may only pay attention to what arrives via smartphone. Every market is different, and you may have to experiment with different marketing techniques before finding what works for your particular enterprise.
Garner Reviews
A review or rating is way to get instant feedback about your business. Anonymous reviews will give you a sense of how your business is seen by customers. Reviews that allow for contact give you a chance to interact with those customers. A note of gratitude for a positive review will inspire positive feelings about your company. A note of apology for a critical review can act as damage control. Managing reviews allows you to improve your reputation as a great business to work with.
Enhance Your Online Presence
In the modern business world, it is critical to have an online presence. For many people, your website is the first place that they will connect with your business. Make sure that it looks professional and that the information contained within it is easy to find. Be certain that all contact information is up to date and there are no dead links on the page. Another important online arena is social media. This is an area that can eat up a great deal of time and effort, but it is also a critical place for interacting with potential customers. Posting regularly and responding to comments will keep your business in your customers’ thoughts.
Outsource to an Expert
When you start a business, you are often going it alone or working with a skeleton crew for a staff. As your business grows, it is important to delegate responsibility, especially for parts of the business that take your focus away from the big picture. If you cannot afford to hire a designated professional to work for your business, you can outsource tasks such as financial administration, social media outreach and marketing. Although there is a financial investment, you will gain more time to spend developing and expanding your organizational structure.
Study Your Market
One of the important ways to expand your business is to spend time learning about your market. For a store in a physical neighborhood, this will involve learning about the changing makeup of the area. What is the average age of the people who live there? Are new residents moving in? What are the needs that are not being met? For an online business, you will need to spend time looking at trends for your type of product. Paying attention to your market allows you to make decisions about whether to expand your product line to address unmet needs or focus on improving your current product line. Market knowledge also helps you to expand your market logically, responding to needs rather than guessing at trends. The business world is unpredictable. Fads will come and go. Some startups will explode onto the scene and quickly disappear. By aiming for logical, incremental growth, you can keep your business thriving for years to come.
If you’re looking for help in your business strategy or plan, improving your leadership ability, analysis and reviewing of your current business, and more, then let Morgan Hill Partners help!
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Morgan Hill Partners, an innovative business partner with a results driven approach and a proven methodology, announces a strategic partnership with San Francisco-based venture services firm University Capital Group (UCG). The partnership combines Morgan Hill’s ‘Path-to-Value’ playbook with UCG’s unique venture model to facilitate access to the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem for Morgan Hill and client companies. As part of the strategic collaboration, UCG co-founder Seth Weiner will serve as a Board Advisor to Morgan Hill Partners.
“Today’s announcement with industry leader UCG is another solid step in our journey to build on our foundation in venture services, while significantly expanding Morgan Hill’s reach on the West Coast - and becoming a leader in scaling Silicon Valley startups,” said Jim Barnish, Morgan Hill Founder and General Partner. “This partnership will help us fully deliver on our startup to scale-up strategy by giving us strong investment facilitation capabilities in Silicon Valley and the rest of the Bay Area.”
University Capital Group, a venture services firm based in San Francisco, is the brainchild of Seth Wiener and Michael Gonzalez, two industry veterans in Silicon Valley. Wiener has more than 23 years of leadership experience at businesses of all sizes, ranging from pre-revenue startups to $10B+ business units at Fortune 50 companies. Additionally, Wiener has co-founded seven startups with four exits prior to founding UCG. He is a current board-member of four private companies and one charitable foundation helping children with learning difficulties. In 2018, Wiener also co-founded a secure on-premises data storage company focused on large enterprise clients.
“It is an honor to partner with Morgan Hill – their value-driven playbook, which includes an elastic CXO model provides significant value to clients trying to surpass their next milestone. I am most impressed with the efficiency layer Morgan Hill adds to organizations and the measurable gains to both top and bottom-line revenue metrics.” said Wiener. “Founder coaching and executive advisory are critical to the alignment and execution of firms of all sizes and stages. We’ve seen companies struggle to translate their incredible products and vision into commercial successes. By combining the capabilities of Morgan Hill’s strategic planning, product, and revenue creation solutions with UCG’s venture services model, we can now help startup businesses better focus, innovate, and execute against the areas that will best predict their success.”
You can read the full press release here.
Welcome aboard, Seth!
ABOUT MORGAN HILL PARTNERS
Launched in 2017 by seasoned entrepreneurs and startup veterans Steven Horwitz, John Lema, and Jim Barnish, Morgan Hill Partners has re-envisioned the traditional management consultancy, pairing seasoned CXO consultants with a proven Path-to-Value Platform, to help its clients predictably and cost-effectively scale and optimize their businesses. The firm works exclusively with tech and tech-enabled companies, ranging from pre-revenue startups in “discovery” stage through PE/venture-backed companies in “scale” stage. With nine offices across the US, Morgan Hill fundamentally changes the way consulting services are delivered, investing a portion of the firm’s fees, aligning firm performance with client outcomes.
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Relentlessly transforming business requires a commitment to transparency. It is only through a transparent approach that data-driven insight can be optimized, and inefficiencies that would otherwise sidetrack a business can be located and eliminated. This is as true for our partner companies as it is for us at Morgan Hill.
In fact, a commitment to transparency is central to the entire Morgan Hill business model. Our Path-to-Value methodology deploys measurable assessments and toolkits to uncover inefficiencies in a company, helping them accelerate value through data-driven insight. Our fractional executive team brings a “no-nonsense, no-drama” attitude to the table, helping founders cut through the noise and work to build well-balanced businesses together. But perhaps the best example of our commitment to transparency is our policy of re-investing a portion of the firm's fees back into client companies - aligning our performance with client outcomes.
And while our partners know of our commitment to transparency, we want the world to know it too. This is why we have joined Clutch, a ratings and reviews platform. We are eager to see how our work lines up against the competition, to use the merits of an assessment tool to inform the work we do, and to keep our practices in line with our values as a company.
Clutch’s mission is to provide a reliable resource of information on service providers for prospective buyers. They analyze companies of various industries based on market expertise, social media presence, and, most importantly, client reviews. Clutch’s analysts contacted our former clients and interviewed them to gain an up-close perspective on our work. We’re happy to announce that our clients are proud of us, and the feeling is certainly mutual. Check out one of our first reviews:
Their kind words and the tremendous support we’ve received from our business partners are the reasons we’ve been able to rise in Clutch’s ranks of the best business advisors worldwide.
Clutch also has two sister websites, The Manifest and Visual Objects, and our recognition on Clutch has qualified us to appear on both sites. The Manifest is a resource that offers industry insights, how-to-guides, and recommendations of top service providers like us. We’ve appeared on their list of top market research companies. Visual Objects is a new platform that equips buyers with a digital portfolio of B2B companies’ past projects to aid buying decisions. We’ve appeared on their list of top digital marketing agencies, one of many packaged services we offer our clients.
We want to thank the Clutch team for their research and recognition, all of our clients who have contributed their reviews, and to all those who have helped our company grow in these early days. As 2019 unfolds we will continue executing on our vision: to relentlessly transform business through our transparent, data-backed approach.
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Recently I had the privilege of moderating a panel on the future of transportation at Synapse Summit 2019. Together with Kasra Moshkani, Director and General Manager of Uber; Bob O’Malley, VP of Government Affairs at Brightline; Janet Sherberger, VP of Communications at the Tampa International Airport; and Aivers Lode, CEO of IT Capital, we discussed the dynamics of the transportation industry with an eye on the future.
It was a very timely discussion. Innovation in transportation technology is having an outsized impact on economic and social development in Florida, and in markets across the globe. A recent economic study found that, in Florida alone, Uber is responsible for $1B in GDP and net economic impact of $87M annually. This is an incredible impact for a company that is still growing rapidly! It also does not even factor in the social benefits that come with a ridesharing platform.
At the same time, mature markets like the passenger rail industry continue to see technological and infrastructural advancements of all sorts. Companies like Brightline - who recently announced a partnership with Virgin and will soon operate under a new name, Virgin Trains USA - are leaders here. The inter-city passenger rail company recently confirmed a light-rail train line connecting Orlando to South Florida, a project that will bring in an estimated 10,000 annual jobs during construction and make it possible for passengers to travel from downtown Miami to Fort Lauderdale in 30 minutes. These types of sustaining technology developments create new business opportunities for organizations within transportation industries, and across the economy more generally, through new business partnerships, employment opportunities, and revenue generated from increased passenger traffic flows.
But these promising developments are more the exception than the norm. The question on my mind is: what can we learn from these promising innovations and how can we nurture similar types of projects across the state, in all the different value networks connected through transportation? In reflecting on the discussions from the panelists and the feedback from the summit, I saw three action items for Florida that could be game-changers for its transportation future:
Hubs and Connectivity
From Virgin Trains USA coming, to Uber’s pool concept, to an expanding airport and the potential for future air taxi’s, there were many exciting plans mentioned by the participants. All the ideas have incredible value in their own right, but to maximize the collective value of these innovations we need to integrate them through designated hubs of connectivity. A collection of transportation networks criss-crossing each other without ever coming together would be a failure of our infrastructural potential here in Florida because transportation woes would persist in spite of new funding opportunities.
What we need to do is strategically create passenger transportation hubs where all these modes of transportation can come together. The way in which Uber integrates with the Tampa Airport today is a great example of this - it’s a solution that works for multiple parties and should be replicated wherever possible.
The same goes for the proposed Virgin Trains partnership with the Tampa Airport and their proposed plans to extend over to theme parks in Orlando. As Bob O’Malley said at the Summit, “On our way to Tampa we will likely have a station somewhere around theme parks in Orlando and we think that’s going to be a great thing for our partnership with the Tampa airport.” Give people the option of training to the airport and you make it easier and more convenient to travel by air. That’s a win for customers and every business involved in the value networks surrounding the airport.
This type of integrated thinking and planning is much needed! But it takes the involvement of business, government, and community officials thinking together. Let’s get together now and ensure those discussions are happening! Not only is it wise, but the economic impact could be substantial for all participants.
Freight Opportunities
Freight innovation is developing at an astounding pace, thanks in part to technological innovations like the internet of things (IoT), AI-powered machine learning capacities, and blockchain. But these game-changing technologies can only help optimize operations in a freight industry that still very much depends on location. Coastal states represent ideal zones for freight and logistics innovation, mostly because of their ports. Florida, for one, sees a high volume of goods pass by its shores - coming from Asia and across the East - through the Panama Canal. As we know, the incremental growth in the size of container ships means the Canal will soon be expanded, and more goods will start passing through. This represents a great opportunity for the state of Florida to capture some of this increased cargo - but a lot of research, planning and implementation is needed now in order to take advantage of this great opportunity when it comes. For example, what if instead of shipping goods up the East Coast, shipping companies could dock in Florida and send cargo up the coast or inland via rail or flight transport.
I think Florida’s best kept secret is it’s ports, air travel and above ground logistics networks which, if properly connected, represent a vast capacity for moving goods efficiently. The capacity is there, whether in the form of technology or space. What’s missing is the velocity. We tend to forget that cargo holds on passenger planes in the US are mostly empty when traveling. Much has to be done to think through the implementation of moving freight, but this is excess capacity already moving between city pairs multiple times a day that is going unused! We need to look at how new technological capacity can help interconnect existing capacity in new and strategic ways, to the benefit of everyone. Connecting ports, airports, railheads, with distribution and freight logistics capability is something that typically develops over time. It’s time to start thinking, planning, and learning how to better utilize corridors that could also have significant traffic benefits.
Digital Mapping
Physical infrastructure is one thing - and actually, on this front Florida is doing quite well. But what we need in tandem is a comprehensive digital mapping project overlaying the physical terrain. Digitally mapping the entire state can reduce inefficiencies in key transportation metrics and increase opportunities for more connectivity - opportunities that were previously impossible to comprehend. States that can render digital insight actionable will be on the cutting edge of logistics and transit developments, and there is no reason why Florida cannot lead the charge here.
Some might argue that Florida is already investing in this project. But I’m not just talking about the installation of digital traffic lights. I’m talking about the kind of work being done in Alphabets Sidewalk Labs - that is, finding ways to harness the capacity of technology available to us to make transportation easier and faster for everyone. We need to uncover this potential and start innovating now! Let’s create a digital infrastructure plan at the statewide level to take advantage of all the advances and coming opportunities (i.e connected cars, train networks, etc) using the best technological advances.
The Importance of an Ecosystem
While these action items are centered on Florida, they apply to the wider transportation industry across the country. With the rate of change we are seeing in core areas of transportation - in digitization, logistics software, light rail train infrastructure and the like - the transit and trade landscape is going to look very different five years from now. Regions that can come together to create sustainable startup ecosystems will be the ones to lead the change, because it’s in these ecosystems that disruptive companies with innovative solutions develop and mature.
Ultimately, the onus falls on the business community to invest the time and resources required to build the connections, create the resources, and, most importantly, support the bold visionaries who want to solve the most vexing transportation problems we face today.
Morgan Hill acts as a strategic alley in this capacity. We are a team of serial entrepreneurs and investors who know what it takes to succeed - with an operating team that can both deliver and execute on the strategy, and a proven methodology born out of decades of experience. As a trusted business partner, we provide clients with access to the right people, with the right skills, at the right time so companies can confidently fill gaps, make informed decisions, and grow - all without the drama. We’d love to help your startup scale up, let’s talk.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dwayne is the Head of Florida advisory and consulting businesses, working with client technology and tech-enabled companies and investors to help maximize value through a proven set of resources. Dwayne has spent 15+ years as an executive with IBM Global Services in consulting, strategy, branding and technical services. Over his career, Dwayne has made pivotal contributions as a igniting growth, revenue, and profitability in a broad range of international public and private companies and entrepreneurial ventures. Whether it’s scale to market or managing a company with $2.5B revenue and a workforce of 15,000, Dwayne has developed a unique ability to rally teams behind a common vision, mission, and strategy to generate extraordinary results.
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