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December 2009
Some Business Insights from Those at the Top…
By Jeff Raynor

     Selected CEO comments shared each month at recent The Alternative Board meetings across greater Charlotte and the U.S.


Have Your Employees Understand Sales Incentives

     Incentives are an important part of our sales compensation and they are somewhat complex since we pay commissions based on sales, profit margins and financing parameters. Faced with employees who claimed they “couldn’t understand” their compensation, I shifted the burden to them. Now, each salesman hands in a worksheet showing what he thinks he earned in the pay period. If he’s correct, we know he understands what makes him money. If he’s wrong, we have a chance to go over the plan with him again. ~Michael C., San Antonio, Texas


A Productive “Bailout”

     Many of us have either frozen wages or actually reduced compensation in the current recession. As time goes on and as our cash position improves, we have the option of providing a “bailout” (rather than a pay increase) to some or all employees. We can offer cash payment in recognition for their efforts under trying conditions. We avoid locking into a higher wage, while providing immediate cash that will be greatly appreciated. ~Charles C., Wilmington, Del.


Set Aside Time to “Sharpen” Focus

     We were discussing the need to step back and relax from the continual daily grind. The analogy surfaced of the logger who was using an axe to cut down trees but refused to take the time to stop and sharpen their blade because it would mean they would have to stop working for awhile during daylight hours. Failure to realize that they could cut much faster during the available time if they just stopped to sharpen the blade prevented them from optimizing revenue in optimum time. By stepping back and taking time away from the daily grind, the business owner is able “to sharpen the blade” and regain the ability to think clearly about their strategic plans and analyze necessary changes. ~Mark R., St. Louis, Mo.


Marketplace Renewal

     Introduce a new or additional URL for your Web site to allow tracking future responses and your return on investment. It allows your company a new image in your marketplace and elevates the awareness of your company. Also, using a new toll-free number can give you separate call records so you can see how your marketing is performing. You can use either of these changes for both online marketing (such as Google AdWords) as well as offline (such as newspapers, direct mail, print and radio ads). ~Jeff R., Charlotte, N.C.

     Jeff Raynor, Certified TAB Facilitator and Strategic Business Leadership Coach, heads TAB Charlotte, part of The Alternative Board—a global CEO-peer group and coaching firm. Contact him at 704-554-6200 or visit

Jeff Raynor, M.B.A., Certified TAB® Facilitator, heads The Alternative Board® - TAB Carolinas™, a global CEO peer group & executive coaching firm
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