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Mission Possible: To Do What It Takes!

Free Online Advice To CEOs On Post COVID-19 Recovery

One Liner, Please…

Years ago, I coined a simple tag line that gradually became a part of my email signature: “BODs Serve Investors, Competent Advisory Boards Are CEOs’ Best Friends”. And I truly believe in what I say! After all, as I previously wrote in my post The Wisdom Of Intelligent Advice:

Bringing competent advisers on board is a smart move! A good adviser will help reconsider the validity of the CEO’s assumptions and a good Advisory Board improves the decision-making process and helps the CEO considering different perspectives. Besides, many advisers become the proverbial Sounding Boards to the CEO. So, every CEO should have one!”

And to all the skeptics around, I even quoted The Startup Genome Report — clearly indicating that startups with Advisers to the CEO raise significantly more funds, and at a much faster pace than the companies that don’t. But all this was happening during the good old days — before COVID-19 hit the fan! So… nobody listened — even when I quoted the surprising findings of the MIT study that was done on 2.7MM businesses. It said:

“A 40-year-old startup founder is 2.1 times more likely to found a successful startup as a 25-year-old; and A 50-year-old startup founder is 2.8 times more likely to found a successful startup as a 25-year-old founder”.

Still not convinced? Well, a 60-year-old startup founder is … 3 times as likely to launch a successful startup as a 30-year-old startup founder. The bottom line: Older Founders Are More Likely to Succeed!

“All Creatures Great and Small”

In a soon to be released remake of the British TV Series “All Creatures Great and Small” — the plot revolves around the young vet dealing with stressful situations. In similarity, it became painfully clear to me that “All Companies Great and Small” could also use some help — especially, while coping with the post-pandemic afflictions. I even listed and identified a set of traits of various entities, their CEOs, and BODs — that a good advisor can or cannot help:

What Can Socrates Teach Us About COVID-19 Recovery

Covid-19 blindsided us all. Country after country painfully discovered how pathetic and pitiful their supply chains are — after years of misguided indoctrinations about the proverbial globalization benefits. Canada, like so many other countries, ended-up begging China for PPEs and medical masks — on both knees! After all, it was badly needed by our healthcare workers.

And it didn’t stop with begging. Canada, like so many other countries, went on a proud mission — to buy PPEs AT ANY COST. In some cases, it meant “outbidding” even the most notorious Chinese black-market speculators that made NBA/NHL ticket scalpers look like… boy scouts!

And so were the ventilators for our hospitals and nursing homes. Even the hand-sanitizers and toilet paper — all flew off the shelves much faster than our crippled logistics could replenish such supplies.

But let’s not dwell on the painful past too much. After all, it was Socrates who said long ago: “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

And it’s not just about healthcare procurement networks. It’s UNIVERSAL! All companies in Canada, USA, and Europe — will be rethinking their global supply chain strategies by placing a stronger emphasis on risk diversification as opposed to cost savings. COVID-19 highlighted the deep deficiency in sustainability. No government will have any chance of re-election by promoting the pre-COVID-19 globalization and outsourcing agendas.

Together with ESG, BRT, and more equitable Capitalism 2.0 — COVID-19 redefined the past economics, forever. Locally designed and locally manufactured products are the new mantra behind the focus on Supply Chain 2.0. Large Chinese conglomerates will simply have no choice but to open localized plants in North America and Europe — instead of sticking to the old logistics and doubling the traffic of their shipping containers to our ports every few years.

Cheap overseas labour is taking a hair cut already, as the revival of North American middle class and the local jobs that come with it — take a central stage. COVID-19 will simply turn the table on the lopsided job market of the past…

Waiting For Godot — No More!

But it doesn’t mean that businesses have to sit and wait for yet another white paper, webinar, or the presentation by Innovation Economy Council! Certain COMMON SENSE recommendations are UNIVERSAL — and I strongly advise businesses, large and small, to start from there. Roll-up your sleeves — I will help!

It’s true, every situation is different and each company’s challenges are unique, so my follow-up advice will reflect companies’ priorities, where are they now, where they want to be in the future, and how I can help them to get there… Yet above all, the companies must stop imitating their competitors. After all, imitation works well in karaoke bars — not in business…

So, while we embark on a recovery from the worst economic collapse since WWII — businesses need to be “helped” to escape the conventional Wall Street pressures. And here are my recommendations:

My Advice To The $100B+ CEOs — Preserve The Cash!

The logic is quite simple: if during the recovery corporate profits are to be reinvested in developing new products, building new factories, reducing unemployment, or opening new stores — they shouldn’t be redistributed to shareholders. And if we don’t do so, instead of healthy recovery, we will be stuck with dwindling employment and diminished capacity to innovate for a long time…

I firmly believe that a temporary pay-cut for executives IS A PRUDENT AND NECESSARY thing to do. We already know that companies with high CEO-to-worker pay ratios have lower shareholder returns than companies with lower ratios. So, while COVID-19 recovery takes place, no company should exceed the 20:1 salary ratio — the proverbial Peter Drucker’s recommendation.

Also, why would any business be measured today by the quality of its dividends? Especially, if some of the cash allocated to pay dividends may be coming from the taxpayers? Of course, companies receiving the bailouts SHOULD NOT be allowed to pay dividends until the loans are fully repaid. Yet, even without the bailouts, why would we ask the corporate world to twist themselves into a pretzel & offer dividends — just to “Keep Up With The Joneses” such as Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon? After all, the mandatory shutdowns of businesses had nothing to do with the economics!

But it’s not just DIVIDENDS. In addition, all the SHARE BUYBACKS should also be disallowed — especially, with taxpayers’ money. Before 1982, share buybacks were considered illegal and treated as market manipulation by SEC. There is enough evidence 38 years later that tinkering with SEC rules didn’t work.

However, if you still think that many of your stakeholders would object to such temporary emergency measures, let me ask you the following question: did you ever see people complain about firemen using too much water to put out the fire? Unless CEOs resemble Moses and can part water, disregarding cash preservation will result in a Red Ink drowning…

My Advice To The $1B+ CEOs — Roomba on steroids!

I worked with many companies in the past and some have done very well by analyzing their customers with granular details. Logically, they are selling their products and services to existing customers they thoroughly scrutinized. And yet, I firmly believe that there are HUGE and untapped opportunities to generate new revenues by focusing on …. noncustomers!

So, I recently contacted the CEO of iRobot — the famous maker of Roomba. Yes, you can say that it’s a technology company that designs and builds consumer robots. Yet, essentially, it’s a “robot vacuum that can map your home, clean up pet hair, and vacuum the mess” — with, or without Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.

To expand the markets and bring more revenues, iRobot is now also mopping the floors and mowing the grass. However, all such new markets are EXTREMELY competitive and for iRobot to offer a true Value Innovation to consumers such as much lower price, and much higher end-value — will be EXTREMELY difficult.

IMHO, the post-COVID-19 consumer will be price sensitive, too. Yet, competing on price alone will erode both: the revenues AND the profitability!

So, in essence, I contacted their CEO and BOD members to talk about expanding into nursing homes and hospitals — by adding UVC disinfection capabilities to their products. Or, simply put: switching from just cleaning the floors to… saving lives! Well, I’m still waiting for my phone to ring back and I do regularly check my inbox for iRobot’s emails. So far — not a peep!

In my mind, each nursing home, long-term care, and/or assisted living facility, has at least 100 rooms — capable of hosting 100 “UVesqued” Roombas. And that is a far greater selling prospect than targeting a single backyard at a detached home. Moreover, I am convinced that the bungalow owners might be worrying nowadays much more about where is the next mortgage payment going to come from — than mowing the lawn…

But what do I know? Perhaps, there is a simpler explanation after all, such as when the marketing gurus at iRobot were possibly listening for too long to Leonard Cohen’s song: “Waiting for The Miracle”?

My Advice To The $1M+ Startup CEOs — Pivot Because You Must!

The Coronavirus pandemic changes EVERYTHING, and we now live in a post-pandemic reality. Many CEOs recognize the need to rapidly re-assess new circumstances and quickly adapt. Others do not. So, I decided to help startup CEOs that are open-minded and curious.

When CEOs need to pivot from driving rapid innovation & increasing market share to drastically reducing expenses and maintaining liquidity at all costs — it’s not for the faint of heart. It can be difficult to see the dreams of wealth turn into nightmares of poverty — and the promising unicorns into little ponies…

What startups need the most is the ability to recognize new patterns and act with urgency to take immediate action. The experience of going through a major market crash was never as important as it is today. If I recovered from the collapse of the financial markets of 2008 — you can say it was a random event. If the rapid recovery also followed the 9/11 & dotcom crash — you can still claim that it’s a coincidence. But if I also recovered from the recessions of the 1980s — it’s a PATTERN!

Such unique pattern recognition abilities allow me to see how to maximize business offerings & profitability. And looking at existing problems with a pair of fresh eyes — often brings a set of creative solutions that were never even considered in the past.

Most startups I talk to need hands-on help to address the following COVID-19 concerns:

Running OUT OF TIME

Running OUT OF MONEY

Lacking a SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL

Uncertainty about STAYING IN BUSINESS

Doubting ability to RAISE MONEY FAST ENOUGH

Losing significant revenues from EXISTING CUSTOMERS

Inability to gain NEW CUSTOMERS

Inability to enter NEW MARKETS

Lack of PIVOTING KNOW-HOW

SHUTTING-DOWN ANXIETY

So, in addition to the advice I give to the $1B+ company, I offer the following help to innovative startups:

OPM — Other People’s Money

I deliver RapidRevenues™ through revenue acceleration strategies. To make the process smarter & cheaper, I Design, Structure, Finance, and Deploy Opportunistic Joint Ventures. It’s all about RESULTS — or I do not get paid.

My turnkey approach helps to raise 10X more capital at 1/10 of the cost and it is based on my structured finance expertise — beyond Institutional VCs. I financed over $1B of renewable energy infrastructure projects in the past and now offer a similar LeanCVC™ — A Match Made In Heaven strategy to financing Healthcare, Fintech, Construction & Manufacturing ventures.

The Push, The Pull and The AI Bull™

What I learned over the years is that it’s not just technology innovation, but also the exponential increase in the value offered to clients at a much lower cost — that makes all the difference. Yet I see too many product-oriented entities focused on pushing their product out the door — while losing ~70% of available revenues. My proprietary process generates huge secondary and tertiary revenue streams. Such a strategy is scalable and sustainable, and it also offers revenue smoothing.

Business Model Innovation

And it’s not just the technology that matters. I’m convinced that Business Model Innovation is as disruptive as Technology Innovation. Please read about my AI experiences with Verizon 20 years ago! I wrote about it in Keyword Spotting — The Art Of Listening & Observing

Operating Advisor/Mentor

Startups are not cash-rich companies. So, as an Operating Advisor/Mentor, I work with VC/CVC/PE supported companies at a granular as well as strategic levels. Truth be told — my involvement can be viewed as a substitute for bringing FIVE experienced C-level executives on board to:

o Maximize innovation monetization

o Get the most out of disruptive marketing strategies

o Boost operational efficiency

o Capitalize on brand enhancement

o Secure access to untapped pools of growth capital

One More Thing — SMB Mental Fitness Advisory…

Like so many countries around the world, Canada offers a slew of solutions geared toward a mental health crisis. The main objective is to help individuals in distress who are seeking access to information and offer suggestions about how to best cope in such a difficult time.

Unfortunately, there is no COVID-19 mental health help available to CEOs of Small & Medium size Businesses (SMBs). It’s just a painful reality — despite the heart-wrenching decisions they must make daily. And there are no targeted AI tools that could accurately assess, predict, and forecast the most appropriate responses to the CEO’s predicament.

So, I view my startup advice also as the SMB Mental Fitness Advisory. After all, I help CEOs running Small & Medium size Businesses and dealing with anxiety caused by COVID-19. Hence, I’m convinced that it’s time to shift the narrative toward the post-COVID-19 recovery and to help CEOs to shift their minds toward building a more sustainable future. This is my mission — what’s yours?

I am in the business of joining Advisory Boards/BODs of the most innovative companies all around the world. And as one of the ultimate BusinessAI™ veterans on the planet w/ over 30-yr hands-on AI expertise — I also bring supreme business savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff & deliver results.

As an Operating Advisor/Jack of All Trades, I work with VC/CVC/PE funds and the companies they support — at a granular as well as strategic levels. And in addition to focusing on organic growth, my ground-breaking RedCarpet™ revenue acceleration strategies include Design, Structure, Finance, and Deployment of Opportunistic Joint Ventures. It is delivered at no cost to the client company, as we leverage “other people’s money” — an ingenious alternative to costly acquisitions…

My turnkey approach helps to raise 10X more capital at 1/10 of the cost and it is based on structured finance expertise. We financed over $1B of Renewable Energy projects in the past and now apply our expertise to the Finance, Healthcare, Fintech, Construction & Manufacturing sectors. And if our unique value innovation does not generate the desired results — we do not get paid…

What I learned over the years is that it is not just technology innovation, but also the exponential increase in the value offered to clients at a much lower cost — that makes all the difference. Yet I see too many companies focused on pushing their product out the door — while losing ~70% of additional revenue streams.

My proprietary “The Push, The Pull and The AI Bull™” process, generates huge secondary and tertiary revenue streams. Such a strategy is scalable and sustainable — resulting in significant revenue smoothing. It allows me to tackle rapid innovation issues; disruptive marketing strategies; operational efficiency improvements; brand enhancement; and securing growth capital.

In some cases, I step-in as an interim CEO to significantly accelerate scale-up and expansion. The emphasis is on EBITDA & Revenue Acceleration, Margin Enhancement & Opening New Channels in diverse markets. Unique pattern recognition abilities allow me to see what is still missing & how to maximize business offerings & profitability.

SELECT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Using AI in CT medical diagnostic, financial fraud detection, solar PV, wind, WTE, energy efficiency, etc. Finance skills: equity, non-recourse debt, balance sheet financing, and tax equity. I also took a tiny startup public, building a $135MM enterprise & received grants from NRC & DND. Academic R&D collaborations included: UW, UofG, UofT, and MCC Consortium in Texas.

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I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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Oleg Feldgajer

Oleg Feldgajer

I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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