Stick and Move

There is one thing that,

  1. many startups,


2. established businesses going through a period of struggle,

and, even

3. late stage companies forget to do:

Make profit.

Failing to make money is the result of a group of activities — a subset of other behavioral failures.

What happens if your business consistently loses money?


They are a rude awakening — a real punch in the face.

I recently advised a $40 million service company which had layers of stuff: software that didn’t work, people that didn’t know how to work, customer relationships which stopped working long ago, and their executive team was really just a fragmented group, infighting, and drowning among their big titles, big salaries, fancy company vehicles and lots of overpriced systems which made zero impact, and actually hurt their business.

  • Their management team didn’t talk to each other.
  • They didn’t talk to customers.
  • Their managers didn’t talk to employees.
  • Their employees didn’t talk to customers.
  • Their vendors stopped talking to them.
  • Their backlog and pipeline were drying up because they spent more time loading useless information into CRM tools they never used, instead of actually talking to prospects.

Ironically, the day was 75% filled with useless calls, calls to talk about, well, nothing.

Yes, as old Willy Shakespeare titled, Much Ado About Nothing. And as Seinfeld and Costanza once said, it was a show about nothing.

The owner told me he felt his people were like little leaguers who couldn’t bat, hit, throw or catch yet still got gleaming trophies; I offered that perhaps they were more like untrained cowards trying to survive in a boxing ring — those who couldn’t punch, block, “go the distance” or even just “stick and move.”

Each C-level “champion” adorned their mediocre performance with self-adulation: fancy championship belts and posed for pictures but didn’t do the work. Didn’t hit the bag. Didn’t hit the gym. Didn’t listen to Mickey.

Remember Rocky III?

Then along came Clubber Lang — sort of a metaphor for the change in the industry, and when the competitors were working out, this company got complacent and looked like a sleepy Rocky Balboa reluctantly spewing mindless dialogue pitching Beast aftershave.

What did we do? We streamlined it, realigned it, and cleared out the mind numbing layers of nonsense, refocusing on what the customers of that business wanted.

I asked two questions,

1. when was the last time your executive team went and met with every single customer face to face?

2. When did you forget to make money?

There were many other questions — What exactly do you do to create value for customers? How do you make money? What business are you in? What’s the right size and scale for this company?

They were so inwardly focused, wrapped up in organizational “noise and fog.”

They were a political, hierarchical organization in nature — concerned more about what people think, or how they appear, rather that what people DO and CONTRIBUTE.

Mike Tyson famously said, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Business is like that — if you’re too guarded you can’t see where you’re swinging; if you haven’t sharpened your skills, you’re going to get hit hard; if you can’t move definitively and swiftly, you can’t compete in the ring; you have to stick, and you have to move. And when the opportunity presents itself to strike, you have to hit with all you’ve got.

Meanwhile, you have to work on your business — not just in it or for it.

And you have to train.

You have to sweat.

You need to be hungry and work out and run fast.

Stamina, sacrifice, discipline.


No pain, no gain.

Stick and move.

Copyright, 2021, QORVAL Partners, LLC and/or Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA, CTP. No part of this article may be reproduced, shared or distributed or posted in any form without the express written consent of the author. All rights reserved.




Business Growth/Startup/Transformation | CEO | Grow it, Fix it, Exit | Executive/Advisor/Director/Connector | |

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Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA, CTP

Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA, CTP

Business Growth/Startup/Transformation | CEO | Grow it, Fix it, Exit | Executive/Advisor/Director/Connector | |

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