Why Every Business Should Have a Multiyear Business Plan

The Silver Fox Advisors are presenting a webinar to answer that question, review the elements that a good plan addresses,  and how to construct and use a multiyear Business Plan.   

The webinar will be presented by a panel consisting of two bankers with over 50 years of commercial and SBA lending experience, a CPA who specializes in appraises businesses, and a former CFO and Business Operating Executive.  All have helped their clients raise capital, as well as, assisted business owners grow their businesses. 

The webinar reminds us how our businesses are rudderless without a business plan.  It is like taking a road trip without a roadmap or GPS.  We may or may not reach the destination we intended in the most effective way.  Has your leadership team bought into the desired destination and more importantly, agreed on how to get there?  The webinar will discuss how to use the planning session as a team-building process, the only way to allocate capital, and truly define what success means for your team. 

By embracing the elements presented throughout the webinar, you will gain confidence that you can reach your business goals. 

When: Tuesday, April 13, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Where: Via Zoom Webianr

Cost: FREE

Registration: Click Here

CEO Education Series – A Business Plan . . . Your Guide to Success

Owning a business is work. But to what end?

As Stephen R. Covey famously said, “we must begin with the end in mind.”

Having a business plan can get you to that proper end result. Now is all planning perfect? Likely not. But if you want to grow and manage your business with a good outcome, you have to have a plan; a business plan.

Join us on April 13 as four of our Silver Fox Advisors share their experiences and views on drawing up the right business plan. It’s not as hard or daunting as you might think.

We’re sharing tips, hacks, and ideas for getting a good business plan in place.

Live webinar, Tuesday April 13th at 10:30 AM CT/ 11:30 AM ET

The panelists are:

Dick Hendee, Bill Herman, Herb Kalman, and Gary Henderson

March Newsletter

March is a busy month here at Silver Fox Advisors.

Education Series

We are launching our 2021 Education Series on March 16. The Education Series is a program featuring various advisors and associates of the organization, bringing you topics and information to help you as a business owner/leader.

The first session for 2021 will be titled “The Science of Selling in a COVID World”. Two of our members, Rich Hall and Mark Miller will be presenting. For more on this informative session, read the link below.

There is no fee for this series, but you must pre-register. We will begin at 10:00.


Lunch & Learn

Then, on March 25 at Noon, join us for our monthly Lunch & Learn event. This month, Mr. Brian Greene, President and CEO of the Houston Food Bank will be speaking on “Understanding How Nonprofit Organizations Are Different So You Can Be More Helpful to Them”

This is a virtual webinar. There is no fee to attend, but you must preregister.


Blog Articles

Please feel free to browse our library of articles, studies, and messages written by our members. Visit SilverFox.org

Need an Advisor?

Is your business running exactly as you hoped it would? Are you struggling with turning the corner or getting to the next level of success?

Think about contacting an advisor. We here at Silver Fox Advisors are proven business leaders with decades of practical experience, ready to come alongside you and your business. Contact us today or read more at SilverFox.org.

March 25th Lunch & Learn

On March 25th, the Silver Fox Advisors will be holding our monthly Lunch & Learn program. This month we are honored to have Mr. Brian Greene, President & CEO of the Houston Food Bank. Mr. Greene will be speaking about “Understanding How Nonprofit Organizations Are Different So You Can Be More Helpful to Them.”

Thursday, March 25th, 12:00PM CST – Seats will be limited.

February Newsletter

Greetings from your Silver Fox Advisors – 2021 has certainly begun with a BANG! As I write this newsletter, we are experiencing the coldest winter air mass in decades. The records are not yet in the books. But suffice it to say, it is cold in Houston!! The process to get COVID vaccinations continues with more and more of our friends and neighbors finding providers to administer the shots. Plus, the business climate is changing too as owners make critical decisions about their plans for the new year.

In this edition there are several announcements and pointers to share with you for this month.


We have two important downloads for you. First, the Greater Houston Partnership issued its economic outlook in January. You will find this information helpful as you finalize any business plans for 2021.

Next we have an excerpt from the IRS outlining the tax credits for employers that have been extended under the CARES Act. Please take a look at this important information that could impact your business tax picture.

Both handouts are available for download by clicking the button below.


February Lunch & Learn

We are honored to have a special presentation for our monthly Lunch and Learn coming up February 25th at Noon. Mr. Chris Manske will be presenting. Chris is a wealth manager, running one of the largest funds in Houston. He has written a best-selling book titled “The Prepared Investor”.

On behalf of Donald RobertsWilliam HermanDoug ThorpeJoseph Tung and the rest of the leadership of the Houston Silver Fox Advisors, you are invited to attend a rousing mid-day webinar and hear Christopher Manske, CFP® speak about how professionals can use their natural inclinations to their advantage in a well-researched talk about the patterned response. Mingle with some of the most exclusive professionals in Houston and enjoy Mr. Manske’s talk titled, Just Following Orders.

This will be a virtual event. There is NO CHARGE for admission, but you must pre-register to save a seat.


On another note, we are sad to announce the passing of one of our founding members, Mr. Bill Spitz. Bill was a mentor’s mentor. He was a guiding light and a strong entrepreneurial force in Houston for many decades. You can read more about his life and legacy here. https://silverfox.org/remembering-the-mentors-mentor/


2021 represents the 35th anniversary of the Silver Fox Advisors. Since 1986, the organization has been serving Houston area businesses and owners. While we are proud of that history, we know, as modern business leaders ourselves, that we must press on with new and innovative ways to connect with our audience.
You have our pledge to grow with you.


If you need an experienced business advisor to help you with your business, visit our website or give us a call.

Or check out the articles we share here.

Remembering the Mentor’s Mentor

It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of one of the Silver Fox Advisors founding members, Bill Spitz.

Bill was a leader’s leader, a mentor’s mentor. He led by example is all that he accomplished.

There is a chapter in Hank Moore’s “The Big Picture of Business, Book 3” that best describe’s Bill’s impact. To quote Hank’s book:

One of my most respected friends and colleagues is Bill Spitz. He embodies the concept of business mentoring. He created mentoring programs and set standards for many others who have guided successful businesses.

Bill Spitz founded and ran for more than 40 years Big State Pest Control, the largest independent pest control business in the Southwest. He merged this business with Waste Management Inc., the largest firm of its kind in the world. He served as President of the National Pest Management Association and was elected into its Hall of Fame, recognized for contributions to the professionalism of the industry.

Bill served as the first Adjunct Professor at the Hilton School for Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. He served as president of Silver Fox Advisors, a business think tank.

He has a long track record of speaking, mentoring, and providing business consultation throughout the U.S. under the umbrella Peak Performance. Bill Spitz helped business executives reach their full potential, maximize profitability and return on their investment as an advisor, coach, mentor, and sounding board.

Bill himself was the product of mentorship. He knew full well the value of getting the best advice, applying the mentorship teachings to his own business, and then sharing the valuable ideas with others. Mr. Spitz discussed customer loyalty, the costs of building repeat business and strategies to keep customers who are happy and who refer others. He successfully practiced and championed customer focused management.

In 1990, he began coordinating a CEO roundtable for the Greater Houston Partnership, bringing in Silver Fox members and other mentors to strengthen this valuable program. In later years, the Silver Foxes expanded the roundtable program.

In training and energizing other mentors, Mr. Spitz addressed the critical elements for constructing mentoring programs that produce high-performing results. The practical use of stories and real-world examples illustrate key concepts, keeping members engaged and participating.

Thank you Bill Spitz for your dedicated service and influence that will last for generations to come.

The Perfect Tool In an Imperfect World

Business owners and managers are worried about their remote workers. If you’ve never had anyone work away from the office before, it can be unnerving. How can they trust what is going on? Are hours being used wisely? How can I make everyone more accountable?

On the flip side, employees who work remotely worry they are not going to be given credit for the effort they spend and the work they produce.

Having this air of uncertainty doesn’t help anyone feel productive. I’ve heard of talk about upping your communication. What does that mean? More zoom?

Leaders providing clarity of purpose, assignment, and mission must have ways to drive accountability. Simply talking more won’t get there.

It’s Not a Perfect System.

How can the two sides connect to provide clarity of expectations and certainty of delivery? Well, you can have daily zoom calls, but who wants to do that forever?

You could build a giant database but who needs that burden piled on top of the already difficult process?

There is actually a very simple yet elegant system I’ve used for years. Calling it a system may scare some people away already. Maybe process or habit is better.

Explaining the Solution

The process is called Big 5. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time I’ve written about this before.

But now is an especially significant change in workforce activity.

Big 5 can be the missing link for all you leaders who are worried about productivity and workers who wonder whether the boss knows your value.

Here’s How It Works.

On a regular basis, every employee (managers included) writes out five goals or expectations they have for the upcoming month. These would be your ‘big rock’ priorities or ‘must wins’.

Next you write down your five biggest achievements for the past month.

Neither of these sections is long text in paragraphs. No, it’s simply bullet listed items.

You can add some comments about resource needs, constraints, etc. But focus first on goals and accomplishments.

Then send it to your boss.

gratitude smile

The boss can review and give feedback. It becomes a flash moment of coaching between manager and employee.

“I like your goals 1 thru 4, but let’s talk more about number 5.”

“Wow, I had no idea you got so much done last month. Thank you for such a big contribution.” Or…

“Sam I like what you can do for us. However I see you’ve been struggling with this remote working environment. Let’s talk about ways I can help you.”

When the next period rolls around, the things you said were goals should become accomplishments. Now, you update the goals.

Take really big, longer term goals and break them down into those bite size tasks.

Frequency of Reporting

Usually, when I teach Big 5, we start with monthly check-ins. However, with the massive change in the workplace, like what we have right now, you might ask for weekly updates.

I once ran a large project with very high velocity, rapid-fire activity. A weekly check-in made more sense. I was providing my client with a status report every Monday, so I had my team do a weekly Big 5.

When they left on Friday, they dropped me their individual reports. I could compile them into a summary picture I gave the client on Monday.

It was powerful, productive, and very effective. Huge goals were achieved, deliverables were met, and the client was very happy with the results.

What About Me?

You might be saying I don’t have a team, but I do have a boss.

Ok, write your Big 5 and give it to the boss. When he/she says “What’s this?” Explain it to them. Say you want to create more clarity and you believe this can help.

That is exactly how I was introduced to Big 5. The colleague who created it actually worked for me many years ago. We were going through tumultuous times in our industry and days flew by.

Finally, one day he dropped a printed copy of his report on my desk. Sure enough, I said, “What’s this?” He explained. We had a brief discussion about the content. He left with perfect clarity of my expectations for him and his team.

Next month he was back again with an update.

And we thrived after that with better clarity, alignment, and a sense of achievement. Sure, we had meetings in between, but the big objectives were being conquered.

Fill the Gap

If you are worried about the productivity of your team, introduce the Big 5 process. If you don’t think your boss understands what you do, give them a Big 5 report. Rinse and repeat.

Big 5 has even replaced employee ranking and annual assessment tools. If you’re doing Big 5 monthly, when the annual review comes around, you have 60 data points to discuss. That, my friend, is powerful.

It’s by far not a perfect work world right now. Why not use a more perfect tool to manage the crisis?

Big 5 Performance is created by Roger Ferguson of ISIHRConsulting. Big 5 has a cloud-based app to automate the process. It even manages the reporting with the next level up managers. If the app is something you want for you, your team or your company click here.

building-team-trust

6 Steps to Build Better Teams

Do you think your work team is just average? Have you ever thought about ways to make it better?

What if you had a highly effective and productive team?

Being a leader at work, at home, or in your community suggests just that. Your team has to be hitting the right marks to make you feel like your leadership is going somewhere. When I start working with my executive coaching clients, we usually start out with very personal thoughts and ideas. They usually are looking for ways to improve something (or several somethings) about their ability to lead.

Yet upon reflection, the issues they frame as personal matters inevitably manifest as team-level issues. On one hand they are saying “If I did more of ‘X’ I believe I would become a better leader.” What is really happening is them saying “My team would operate at a higher level if I could help them with (blank)….”

It makes good sense that leaders should seek ways to influence their followers.

If you think you’re leading and no one is following, you’re just walking around.
John Maxwell

The Study

In a recent study published by Google, they revealed the findings from a two-year deep dive into the makings of their highest performing teams. The effort was named Project Aristotle.

While they uncovered several key aspects that contributed to making a great team, there was one that stood out. In the study, they discovered the number one attribute present in all the best teams was something called “psychological safety.”

Read the whole section on this idea and you learn they are talking about trust.

Team Trust

So you get it. Trust is the right stuff to make a great team. How does a leader build trust?
I’ve uncovered six key questions employees ask themselves about the teams they are on.
Each question builds on the previous one(s). If leaders fail to provide clear and meaningful answers to these questions, employees either are not clear about the mission or not committed to the cause.

Fail on too many questions and the team is downright dysfunctional. Get them right though, our team will be unstoppable.

Here We Go

These are the six questions to know and understand.

People – Do I even want to be here? Each team member asks this fundamental question. Each member of the team must satisfy this basic question before any other work can be achieved.

Purpose – Do I understand why we exist as a team? Is there clarity around our mission? Each member of the team must satisfy this next question to gain clarity before commitment.

Plan – How is this going to be done? I understand the purpose but tell me more about how we’re going to do this. What is the plan that will be followed to get things done?

Process – What drives the way we will do things? This is the practice step or execution. What works and what does not? If we discover something is not working, how will we change that? There should not be any artificial roadblocks in the way of team success.

Performance – How will we measure success? Will it be a fair assessment? Fair and equitable standards and tools for performance evaluation and measurement are required. Old, stale ways of waiting for annual reviews must be eliminated. Today’s workforce demands better feedback and coaching from their leaders.

Payoff – What is the payoff for accomplishing everything we set out to do? Are the rewards worth the effort? Rewards are not limited to monetary compensation. Think about recognition, pride, self-esteem, and other measures of achievement.

To learn more, visit the page I have dedicated to the team Trust Model.

Lunch & Learn on October 22

The Silver Fox Advisors monthly program Lunch & Learn will feature Dr. Peter Pisters, President of MD Anderson. This month’s event is the last of the 2020 series.

Dr. Peter Pisters

If you have ever wanted to know more about the world-renown cancer research and treatment organization, this is your chance. Dr. Pisters will be speaking about organizational resiliency, an especially significant topic in the face of today’s challenging world.

Thursday, October 22

12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

If you registered already, you’re all set. You should be getting a countdown reminder.

If you have not yet registered, there are still a few seats available. The webinar is FREE, but you must register.

CEO Education Series Part 4

On Monday, September 21 at 12:00PM, a panel of Silver Fox Advisors will be sharing their insights and best practices to help small business owners. The focus topic will be on processes and systems.

The CEO Education series presented by the Silver Fox Advisors was begun in 2020. Little did we know the COVID-19 pandemic would be upon us, impacting businesses at all levels.

These important workshops have helped hundreds of Houston area business owners with tips and ideas about customer acquisition, pivoting in times of chaos, managing and leading through crisis, and managing your financials.

In the episode, you will be hearing about ways to ensure your process and systems are up to speed, scalable, and reliable.

The program will be a webinar format. Pre-registration is required, but there is NO cost to attend.

Register here.

To learn more about the Silver Fox Advisors, visit silverfox.org

UPCOMING EVENTS
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