How to “Govern” Effectively

How to “Govern” Effectively

There are many books and articles on people management and corporate governance. In fact, if you stacked them end-to-end, they’d probably reach to the moon and back. At Quadrillion Partners, we don’t really like the word “governance” in the corporate context: It conjures up images of bureaucracy and, worse yet, the government. Instead, we use words like “management” and “collaboration” to describe how we engage with business owners and operators in portfolio companies. We encourage leaders to set, define, refine and measure their management processes. As a business owner or board member, you know that you need a board of directors, some subcommittees, and an executive team of leaders to manage the business. You also need employees who are aligned with your strategy and financial objectives. How do you manage these various constituencies in an integrated fashion, toward positive outcomes? Where to start Implementing an effective governance structure in your company doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require an explicit strategy, measurements, feedback loops and tools for the process to work well. The key is to start with your corporate strategy, then drill down quickly to initiatives and, finally, to objectives and key outcomes. (Google and Intel use “objectives and key results (OKRs),” as they call them, to create structure for their teams.) Here are five steps for “governing” effectively: Know your stuff.  Make sure you understand and can articulate your strategy and imperatives for the next 12 to 24 months. Focus on the big questions. Make a list of the critical decisions that need to be made, then segment it into administrative, financial, strategy, customer and... read more
Why We Love Turbulence (And You Should, Too!)

Why We Love Turbulence (And You Should, Too!)

As a middle-market business owner or executive, you know how difficult it can be to react to changes in the marketplace. Often, the hard part is knowing where to start and how to prioritize your time in terms of new business opportunities, existing sales and corrective actions. There’s a lot of advice floating around — and more business self-help books than is reasonable — so how do you cut through the noise? Our firm, Quadrillion Partners, invests in businesses in complex situations where we can add real value to a company’s strategy, operations and financial management. We don’t focus on companies that are operating at the top of their industry and appear to have all of their issues solved. Rather, we focus methodically on one simple thing: making companies stronger and more viable than when we bought them. We believe that improving performance sustainability is hard. Unlike other private equity investors, we work with middle-market business owners and their management teams, partnering side-by-side, to improve profitability and assist in making smarter and better decisions. As former operators and advisors, we know the difference between a “check-in” during a board meeting and working on an initiative day in and day out. Embracing economic turbulence In fact, we engage with business owners every day to discuss their plans for their businesses, their personal goals, and their fears about the economy, increased regulation, new healthcare laws, the Euro crisis, and a host of others concerns. What we’ve learned over time is that navigating economic turbulence is more about focusing on the fundamentals of your business and knowing what your company excels at... read more
How to Become a Middle Market “Unicorn”

How to Become a Middle Market “Unicorn”

A few years ago, private companies worth more than $1 billion were rare enough that venture capitalists called them “unicorns.” Today, CB Insights says there are 107 firms that fit the venture capital definition of a unicorn. It’s funny how definitions change with time, as do perspectives on what constitutes uniqueness.

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