Four Pillars’ Playbook

Our Playbook Helps
Set Expectations

Our Playbook Helps Set Expectations

Chess is a game of strategy and planning moves far in advance. Our Playbook is used to help think about strategy in a systematic manner and to help plan what the next moves for the business will be.

 

During the first few months following the close of a deal, we will work together on the topics below to develop a Playbook. The idea behind a Playbook is that it will be used to guide actions and decision-making. We might not consult it daily but it exists to guide all of the pieces so they are moving consistently and synchronously.

In all reality, this plan will not be followed to the “T”. Instead, it shows the areas in which we want to spend time. These can be roughly broken down into four buckets:

  • 1. Communicating with and getting to know key stakeholders

  • 2. Developing goals and objectives

  • 3. Implementing systems

  • 4. Identifying where and how to add sales resources

Depending on the size of the company, the process might be abbreviated or expanded. However, all of the elements below will be addressed to some degree.

  • 1. Meet with all employees – Weeks 1-2, ongoing

    Though it is very time-consuming, the first step Four Pillars will take is to individually meet with each and every employee for at least 15 minutes. There is a multitude of reasons why we do this. First and foremost, we place a high value on building and developing relationships; it is hard to do that if you have not met your employees. Second, the employees know the ins and outs of the business as well as or better than anyone. Third, people have suggestions, feedback, etc., and they deserve a forum to express those.

  • 2. Meet major suppliers and all customers – Week 3, ongoing

    With a change in ownership, it makes sense to meet the major suppliers and ALL customers, even the smaller ones. The smaller ones are very important because they might offer ideas as to how they could become larger customers.

  • 3. Refine or develop a two-year strategic plan – Week 4

    It is our express intention to study all aspects of the business and change only what is needed. To help do this, we formulate a two-year strategic plan with key members of management. While five-year planning is more common, in a business where change is likely, five years is simply too difficult to plan for with any level of accuracy.

    In summary, during this process, we will evaluate how the company is different from its competitors, gauge how well the company is doing, develop short and medium term goals, and identify the resources required to get there.

    The resulting strategic plan, while confidential, is not intended to be secret and will be shared with the employees upon completion. The point here is to discuss and to clearly enumerate the specific strategies and tactics the company will employ in order to achieve its objectives, one of which will be growth.

  • 4. Town Hall #1 – Week 5

    Our values require transparency with employees. The livelihood of all employees depends on what management does. After meeting with employees, suppliers, and customers, and beginning work on a strategic plan, a town hall meeting will be held to discuss progress and plans with the employees. Usually there is one meeting per shift.

  • 5. Developing a sales team – Week 5

    Your company might have a rainmaker or two and/or a solid support staff. That would be music to our ears. However, we rarely encounter situations where additional sales efforts would not be beneficial. When additional sales efforts were not needed, it has usually been in situations where industry demand is greater than capacity.

    The sales team might just be a sales team of two. For example, it could entail allowing someone to spend all of his/her time on sales who was previously splitting his/her time in different areas. Additionally, the principals at Four Pillars all have business development experience in a wide variety of industries and we will take an active role alongside the dedicated sales person.

  • 6. Implementing systems – Weeks 6-12

    Before discussing this concept, we would like you to remember that we are entrepreneurs at heart. Bureaucracy associated with large businesses is not what we seek. That being said, based on our experience with high growth companies, growth is easier to achieve with processes and procedures in place to help guide the business.

    Some tasks and activities are easy to keep track of in your head while the business is a certain size. However, as the business grows, so too does complexity, often more quickly. Processes and procedures are needed so that this complexity can be managed. During this process, we will look at the business and employ a “Continue-Stop-Start” evaluation to determine what activities will be performed going forward and how.

  • 7. Monitor results and discuss progress with employees – Weeks 6-11

  • 8. Town Hall Meeting #2 – Week 9

  • 9. Town Hall Meeting #3 – Week 12

    The final Town Hall Meeting will coincide with the temporary “freezing” of the Strategic Plan and formalizing the results of the efforts of the preceding three months into a Playbook. In regards to these documents, we expect to update and modify as goals are met and/or conditions change but the Playbook and Strategic Plan must be left unchanged for a period of time so that we can actually work on some of the tasks required to achieve our goals.

We Share Our Playbook and Our Approach to Valuation