From Lost in a Factory to a Book Tour to an App for Everyone

I felt like the guy in Catch Me if You Can. You know, the guy who pretends to be an airplane pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. I was doing a paid factory assessment and was supposed to be telling the prospect how my software and services could help him drive value in his company. I had never been in a factory before in my life and just learned what a chucker, brake press and water jet were. I was sitting in the CEO’s office when he asked me what I thought. I told him that they had a lot of excessive inventory and JIT technology was a perfect fit. He simply said, “Prove it.”

I knew I had better think of something quick, so I asked to see his financial statements. His company was a $300 million dollar manufacturer of combustion liners, and luckily for me the one thing I did get on the factory tour was the plant manager telling me that if they had to, they could, in his words, “…walk an order through in about three days. Start to finish.”

Looking at the financial statements I did a quick calculation and figured out that they had about 60 days of inventory, and over half of that was in WIP, which meant it took them 30 days to manufacture a product that had three days of work content in it. I explained the concept to my prospect, and a few weeks later, with this as the basis of my value prop, I had my very first deal.

I utilized this concept, and expanded on it as I rose in the organization, teaching my teams to use the tools I would teach them on a white board. That led to a four year effort of writing Think Like a CEO, which swept the 2008 book awards with two gold medals for top sales book, and top business book. I sold a lot of books, and taught a lot of companies sales teams to use the Think Like a CEO Methodology as it had become to be called, but one thing still bothered me. It was a bit of an effort to take a pen and paper and hit numerous websites in order to do the analysis, and a lot of salespeople couldn’t do it if a meeting happened to come up, or wouldn’t do it if it took too much work. The strategy worked, but the important thing was it had to be executed.

After numerous books and workshops, I finally decided to invest in putting the methodology in an app. I happened to know one of the best technologists in the world, and we developed a cloud based enterprise software package called Think Like a CEO Software. As a POC we proved out the concepts and the coding that I thought would be virtually impossible to code (look at my Profit Strategies blog above.) Once we proved it out, the decision was easy to port it on the iOS platform as it allowed us to code the algorithms and develop an intuitive, easy to use, self service app.

So that brings us to the $100 Million Challenge that I will cover in another blog. Enjoy the Think Like a CEO App and be sure to send us feedback on how it is helping you drive business and differentiate yourself in the cut throat world of technology sales.

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