Local Business Leaders Complete Specialized Training to Build Better Workplaces

Minneapolis, MN – June 29, 2018

Wiley welcomes ThistleSea Business Development of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania to the Authorized Partner network of talented trainers, consultants, facilitators, and coaches who bring Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ to organizations worldwide. Wendy O. Lydon and Terri Hammond have successfully completed JumpStart, the official Wiley business-building and training session that features the tools, theory, and research behind Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. As an Authorized Partner, ThistleSea Business Development will use this advanced knowledge to help clients improve workplace relationships and achieve organizational effectiveness with these proven workplace solutions.

“As an industry leading developer of workplace assessments, Wiley recognizes your dedication to building better workplaces using our proven Everything DiSC and Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team solutions,” said Barry Davis, Vice President and General Manager of Wiley’s Workplace Learning Solutions Group. “I continue to be amazed by the superior results our Authorized Partners achieve with their clients, by applying what they have learned through the JumpStart process.”  

With the growing demand for learning assessments, Wiley continues to attract independent business owners who are committed to delivering the latest tools in workplace performance development.  “Our high-quality tools coupled with ThistleSea’s expertise in training and development will serve organizations well.  The need for skilled leaders in this industry has been leveraged with our training programs.  We look forward to supporting ThistleSea’s business growth,” said Davis.

About Wiley’s Workplace Learning Solutions Group
Wiley's professional development business creates products and services that help people become more effective in the workplace and achieve career success. We bring the ideas and best practices of thought leaders to life—serving workplace communities worldwide.

Profit and Exit: Keys to Running the Best Company

Many books, seminars and speeches have been written about business. Many encourage business owners to jump through hoops but miss the two fundamental reasons for starting and running a business. The fundamental reasons are:

  • Earn a profit as a result of all the actions your business takes.
  • Be open to exit if the offer and timing is right.

All business owners should continually work to make a profit and prepare their companies for the ultimate success in an exit strategy. According to statistics, only 3 percent of businesses exist for 3 generations. Even size and reputation are no guarantee for business survival as many of the Fortune 500 vanish from the list each decade. With that backdrop, preparation, focus and always being open to an exit are critically important to maximize your investment in time, energy and money.

I have been asked many times by business owners, CPAs, attorneys, and consultants if I can help them or their clients achieve higher valuations. Obviously, if there is an engaged ownership / executive team and a market for the company’s products and services, the answer is yes. But where do you start?

While owners have many reasons for starting a business, they soon realize it is not easy and takes a lot of effort, money, smarts and consistent action. They learn, hopefully sooner than later, the only reason that a business exists is to earn money that results in a profit. Everything else may be important but is secondary.  Only delusional souls think the business' primary reason to exist is to keep families together, preserve a legacy, develop people, serve a community, etc. These are all good reasons but are secondary. If your business makes a profit first, you can “make the happy business cake,” and benefit those you serve it to. But without profit, you have no prosperity, just broken dreams, wasted energy and disheartened souls.

Typically, if there is some time before the actual exit events and sales closing, there are a number of things that can be done to evaluate, consider and take actions that will increase profits and the company’s valuation.

The first recommendation is to conduct an overall assessment of the business. It should include all areas of the business and technical operations. This assessment should help you discover the strengths and weaknesses to build an action plan for improving those areas found deficient and targeted for specific improvement. This is an area where an outside objective observer may be required to help you eliminate your company’s blind spots. They may also help you build your action plan and steps required for the improved value and results.

Here are some areas typically needing improvement:


Is your vision for the company’s future clear and have you communicated this vision to all your stakeholders?

Most companies we meet need some work with the leadership team on refining the future vision, so they can clearly communicate what success will look like. This may include, for example, working on the strategic plan, communication strategy, upgrading organizational talent and preparing high potential emerging leaders, etc.


Is the organization able to continually generate new qualified leads for its products and services?

How your customer service and reputation management integrate with your sales and customer service processes should be an important concern and typically are areas where great gains in value can be made.

Human Resources

Is your human resources function mitigating the risks for the business?

Typically, there is an opportunity to improve your agreements and employee understanding of the work required. If all functions are smoothly accomplished and properly executed, typically, it enhances the overall company’s profitability. In addition, buyers or those involved in operating the company after the transition are typically looking for a turn-key operation with well documented organization processes and procedures. They place a higher value during their due diligence process on a well-organized company human resources program.


Three areas to look in the finance area when preparing to exit include the following:

  • A clean set of books that are understandable. This is especially important to place the proper value on the company prior to the sale, during buyer due diligence and at closing.
  • A financial dashboard that demonstrates the financial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track your progress in improving company performance and overall value.
  • A budget and cash-flow plan to demonstrate how much cash the business can generate over time and how much cash the business will need.


Is your sales organization able to convert qualified leads to customers?

Do you have a sales model that works? Can your sales model be replicated and taught to others in order to repeat the results and company sales growth?


While many start businesses because of their founder’s expertise in some technical, product or service area they are knowledgeable and excel in, that alone doesn’t make the business sustainable and grow. Building a technical operating manual to include your policies, procedures and training programs will enhance the company’s value. In addition, you will need to demonstrate the company’s expertise, along with many other business competencies to entice an interested buyer to complete the purchase of your company.

Expense Control

Do you have a purchasing system in place that helps you to increase your gross margin and control overhead?

Are there areas where you can eliminate or reduce without hurting your quality and performance?

In summary, your ongoing and number one goal should be focusing on and achieving the highest profit and the highest valuation with your exit strategy in mind. This is the best way to run a company that will deliver for your family, employees, customers and the community.

If you are interested in learning more about how ACT Capital Advisors can assist you in improving your profits, valuation and selling your company, contact me at (724) 935-1930 or email me at jlaslavic(at)actcapitaladvisors.com.

Learn more about the author at http://actcapitaladvisors.com/pittsburgh-office/

Agreements: Key to your leadership success

The start of a new year, growth in your business, increasing complexity, new federal tax legislation, increasing competition, the introduction of new products or services… They’re just a few examples of business complexity that require strong leadership to chart a new destination and clarity to define success. 

The answers to, “What direction are you heading?” and “Why are you heading that direction?” require leadership. In almost all cases, you will need to work with others and clearly communicate to inspire them to your vision of success.


What can we do to more quickly build a framework that engages our team members, outsiders, and other stakeholders and propels everyone’s actions to reach our desired level of success? Let’s consider focusing in 2018 on better and stronger agreements. 

Agreements can be oral or written, simple or complex. The understanding on when and how to use an agreement in business is critically important to gaining trust, honoring relationships and putting dignity (“the state of being worthy of honor and respect”) into relationships, to create value and build a more profitable business model. Gaining agreement is not always easy, but it’s essential to any ongoing relationship.

Here are 6 items to help build strong agreements:

  1. Dream of the desired state and define why you desire it and what success looks like for you, your department and/or your company.
  2. Describe why the desired state is important to you, your team and your company.
  3. What must you do to achieve your dream and the success desired?
  4. Who is involved and needed to assist you in fulfilling and accomplishing your dream state?
  5. What are the specific messages you need to communicate, and what agreements are required to lead others to help you achieve this success?
  6. Develop a list of terms (the words and phrases that express the concepts required for a strong agreement). The terms must be clear to all parties involved in the agreement to achieve the desired outcomes. 

Without strong agreement, we operate from a position of unconscious and often conflicting set of assumptions. In that position, relationships are fragile at best and most of the time the relationships are far less successful than desired. 

When should you worry that your agreements might be weak? Consider these 3 warning signs:

  1. Employees or stakeholders refuse to share ideas, or their ideas are not acknowledged.
  2. Solutions to issues and problems are incomplete and not resolved, causing frustration and confusion.
  3. Complex challenges are not dealt with efficiently or in a manner quickly enough to make a real difference. 

When the people involved in the company struggle to see eye to eye on an issue, their implicit vague agreement causes a misalignment. Misalignment creates greater risk and destroys value. 

Most importantly, without clear agreements, our decision-making is clouded, and we fail to honor our own values. Leaders struggle to make timely and appropriate decisions, ultimately operating at a level far less than their potential. 

The same applies to employees. In the absence of strong agreements, we set them up for poor performance and failure. Questions left unanswered in the culture include: “How do we interact to achieve the desired results?” “What are the unwritten rules of the game?” “What level of autonomy and resource do I use to make an impact?” 

Clarity for both the supervisor and employee on responsibilities, accountabilities, duties and performance levels through strong agreement relieves the pressure and tension allowing for personal expression, business growth and the ability for the team to create value for the customer.

The use of agreements (both formal and informal) guides companies to make good decisions, and supports organizational capacity-building and maturity. 

If you would like to learn more about building strong and better agreements with your employees and stakeholders, contact a ThistleSea Team member. We would be glad to help you and your organization.