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10 Most Important Numbers

We've just finished delivering one of our most popular presentations as a webinar: The 10 Most Important Numbers to Drive Profit in your MSP Business. It was recorded, and available...

John Christophersen | Thursday, 18 February 2016


Having Fun at Work

Taylored Comments Having Fun at Work by Larry Schulze, Co-founder and Principal Consultant, the Taylor Business Group I just recently had the opportunity of meeting with a group of Canadian...

Larry Schulze | Friday, 22 November 2013


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"I wanted to congratulate you on the RTP Financial Dashboard... You've really created a phenomenal tool that gives business owners a unprecedented level of insight into their business.     Our two hours spent with the tool yesterday gave me a level of understanding of my business that would previously have taken me days or weeks of Excel/QuickBooks crunching to accomplish.   After only 1 day using the tool,  I can't imagine running my business without it....   It would be like driving with my eyes closed.."

Jeff Roback
President & CEO
Praxis Computing, Inc.

"Working with Larry Schulze as our coach for the last two years has been a tremendous benefit to our business. We have transformed the company from a reactive sales and service company to a proactive, managed service organization. We have seen improvements in all key aspects of the business, including revenue, service utilization, and most importantly profitability. Larry has helped me focus on working on the business rather than working in the business."

David Prince

"Since we began working with the Taylor Business Group, we have quadrupled our net profit, radically improved customer service and responsiveness, reduced our staff's stress levels, and gotten rave reviews from our client's on the improvements in our processes. Working with Larry has helped me to focus on the business in a way that only someone looking in from the outside can. TBG does for us, what we do for our clients - Provides the business tools and processes for success."

Eric Hanson
Inland Productivity

"I have been working with the Taylor Business Group since 2004 when I began attending their workshops, which include Managing for Profitability, Services Workshop, and Managing Sales. Within 2006, I engaged their consulting services to ensure that on a monthly basis, time was set aside in my business to focus on how and when we'd implement the things learned in these workshops. I highly recommend the Taylor Business Group as a way to regularly step outside your business to work on your business."

Alan McDonald
Simi Valley, California

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Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00
We've just finished delivering one of our most popular presentations as a webinar: The 10 Most Important Numbers to Drive Profit in your MSP Business. It was recorded, and available on YouTube here: Each month we will dive deeper into each of these important benchmarks, and explain how clients are exceeding targets and creating results. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information. Thanks! John
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Friday, 22 November 2013 23:05

Taylored Comments

Having Fun at Work

by Larry Schulze, Co-founder and Principal Consultant, the Taylor Business Group

I just recently had the opportunity of meeting with a group of Canadian IT Solution Providers in Toronto. As we were talking about business issues, one topic surfaced multiple times; having fun at work or perhaps said another way, getting back to having fun at work.

To be perfectly blunt, as you know I am, you don’t go to fun every day you do go to work. However, if you do not enjoy what you are doing while at work then it
certainly isn’t fun to be there. And, that is what we are talking about when we
say “having fun at work”. You cannot hate or not look forward at something you
spend most of your waking hours doing and at the same time enjoy your life.
Work just captures too much of one’s energy for that to happen.

So what does it take to have fun at work? First of all, work needs to be in balance with your family, friends and the outside activities you enjoy doing. If work
absorbs all of your time, then you have a quality of life issue that is out of
balance. You can be out of balance for short bursts of time but not on an
ongoing basis. The stress is just not physically or mentally healthy and you
end up cheating yourself out of some the most important aspects of your life,
family and friends. More importantly, you are cheating them as well which often
times leads to personal conflicts. They want their share of your time. They
deserve a share of your time.

Secondly, you must be accomplished at what you are doing. That does not mean you are the ultimate expert. What it does mean is that you have a firm grasp on the responsibilities and functions of your job/career. If you are functionally ill
equipped to perform your responsibilities, fix it with outside help or get
trained on how to better do your job. In either case, being in a position that
you are inadequate in performing will make it harder each and every day to go
in to work. No one wants to fail and not perform at what he or she is doing. So
take the steps to improve yourself.

Lastly, no one wants to work at a company that is not being successful. Who wants to go into a work environment where there are little or no new successes? Your business succeeds when it is growing, it is profitable and there are new
opportunities surfacing on a regular basis. When I meet with owners and managers of companies, I make it a point to talk about changing the way you look at your business issues and practices and the follow through on implementing best practices that will enhance and improve your business experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, sometimes we are the roadblock to success. Don’t let your false perceptions be reality. Look at the choices you are making and change those that are being hampered by your inflexibility to look at other solutions that
could improve your profitability and growth. That includes a robust business
development effort. It is very difficult to grow and create incremental profits
without a sales engine. Let loose the shackles of not building a sales/marketing engine. New sales generate excitement and energy.

So, go sell something and…

… Have fun!

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Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:12

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The Importance of Financial Benchmarks to Your Business

by Jeff, Razafsky, Senior Consultant, the Taylor Business Group

Many companies, including some IT Solution Provider firms, are established by people having limited training or experience in operating a business.  It is not
unusual to find an owner using his or her checkbook balance as the key measurement of the business's success. While unquestionably a critical number, the checkbook balance reveals little about the health of the business. For example, it doesn’t tell you which of your products and services are profitable or what areas of the business merit additional investment. Measuring a business’s performance from its checkbook is like driving a car having only a gas gauge.

One of the first tasks we undertake upon beginning a consulting engagement is to analyze the financial performance of our new client.  This may require
modifying the client’s chart of accounts in order to obtain the detail needed for analysis.  Common alterations to the chart of accounts include creating accounts to:

  • Break out employee compensation costs by department (i.e. Sales, Service, Administration)
  • Break out revenues and costs for products that are strategic to the company so that their profitability and growth can be measured
  • Break out service revenues and their direct costs to measure their profitability and growth.

A related issue in benchmarking is that of booking revenues and their associated costs in the same month to accurately arrive at monthly profits. This requires the use of accrual accounting.  (Some accounting programs, such as Intuit® QuickBooks, can generate both accrual-basis and cash-basis reports on demand.)

After calculating the various ratios and percentages that measure the company's financial health, we compare those statistics to the standards, or benchmarks, that we have developed over many years. This comparison reveals which areas of the company are contributing to profitability and which are not, thus helping guide the initial course of our consulting engagement. A wide variety of  benchmarks are available from an equally wide variety of sources.  Some of the benchmarks we have developed at the Taylor Business Group are:

  • Gross profit (revenue less cost of goods sold) for generic products (e.g. desktops, servers, routers) should be no less than 16% of product revenue.
  • Gross profit for specialty products or products that are packaged into high-value solutions should be at least 30% of product revenue.
  • Gross profit for the service department should be no less than 55% of service
    department revenues.

Financial ratios and percentages should not only be compared to their benchmarks but should also be tracked over time to determine if their trends are favorable or unfavorable.  Gradually declining service margins, for example, may indicate among other things that account attrition is occurring or that service compensation costs are increasing faster than service revenues.  In any case, it is important to understand what is driving the trend.

In recent years financial dashboards have become available to supplement traditional accounting statements.  Dashboards use graphical means to call
attention to the business’s key performance indicators (aka “KPIs”), which are
typically the ratios and percentages we are discussing in this article.   Financial dashboards are available from many sources, including the most widely used accounting packages and PSA offerings. The Taylor Business Group offers
our Roadmap to Profitability Financial Dashboard Service which graphically
compares your KPIs to our benchmarks. You can view an interactive demonstration of it on demand at our website: www.taylorbusinessgroup.com.

So why are benchmarks important?  Because they help you analyze how well the
various parts of your business are working. Benchmarks provide goals, that when met, result in a profitable business that can fund future growth, attract top talent and command a higher price from potential acquirers.


Jeff Razafsky is a Senior Consultant with the Taylor Business Group
He may be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Monday, 24 September 2012 20:33

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Select & Keep Talented People Working . . . and Working for YOU!!

by Ted Szaniawski, HR Group

When employees feel overworked, under-recognized or uncomfortable --- they will look for new work that offers them what they really want.

You won’t find being taken for granted” at the top of any list of what talented workers want in a job.  In “Keeping Good People – Strategies for Solving the #1 Problem Facing Business Today” Roger Herman lists five reasons why talented people leave their jobs and go elsewhere:

“I don’t get what I need to do my job well.”

People really want to do a good job.  But when they are frustrated by too many rules, incompetent supervisors, inadequate tools or insufficient information, they take action --- they start looking for other places to work.

“They wouldn’t miss me if I was gone.”

Even though leaders may value employees, they don’t tell them often enough.    If employees are regarded as expendable, they will look for a job where they are appreciated.

“There’s no opportunity for advancement.”

People want to grow --- to sharpen their skills and pick up new ones.  If workers don’t see learning opportunities in your organization, they’ll find a place where they can learn and grow.

“It doesn’t feel good around here.”

If workers are concerned about their company’s reputation or physical conditions --- like comfort and convenience and safety --- or the clarity of their mission, they will search for a new work environment in which they are comfortable.

“The compensation doesn’t meet my needs.”

Of course workers want fair compensation.  But, the first four reasons listed above take priority and if they are not well-met --- even if pay checks are substantial --- you’ll hear: “you can’t pay me enough to stay here”!!

Are YOU Selecting & Retaining Top Performers by addressing what they need and want?

Every organization is challenged to select and retain the best talent possible, but the most talented employees are in demand --- and they can and will move on.  To counter that, consider investing in a Taylor Business Group’s Success by Selection (SBS) Assessments* for selecting, coaching, and retraining the best. Evaluate what your staff “needs and wants” then develop targeted strategies to keep top talent working for YOU!!

*Job Benchmarks and Success by Selection (SBS) Assessments are available in two versions:

Sales & Technical

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Tuesday, 11 September 2012 19:18

Taylored Comments

Job Fit or....Misfit 

by Ted Szaniawski, HR Group

Do you ever find yourself asking. . . “What’s the problem with Harry”?

You liked him when you interviewed and hired him, but now, not so much.   He gets his job done, sort of, but he’s created a trail of performance issues and the
other workers complain about him.  Bottom Line: He’s a misfit . . . he lacks what we call good “Job Fit” . . . and it’s a common problem.

To be successful organizations must seek better ways to select top talent --- avoid the “Harrys” who applied.  So, how can you discover the specific talents required by a job and match them to the personal talents of candidates?  The short answer is:  Add “science” to the “art” of selecting new hires!!

First, you have to fully understand the job . . . and only the job has the answer to what is required for optimum performance. So, let the job talk and listen carefully!!  The process of listening to the job is called benchmarking and it’s a process that removes common biases associated with the hiring process.

Job benchmarking replaces the “I’ll know a good one when I see one” approach with a structured. . .  scientific . . . method designed to truly understand a job and capture what is required for successful job performance in that specific position.  Benchmarking utilizes an assessment that can quickly determine such
things as the behaviors, values, motivators and skills required for superior
performance.  Companion assessments can then be used to compare a candidates’ characteristic to those indicated in the job benchmark to determine if good “Job Fit” is evident.

Taylor Business Group has established benchmarks for Sales Positions and for Technical Positions for your use.  And our Success by Selection (SBS) Assessments* are ideal when selecting the best Sales or Technical candidates. We encourage the use of our assessments to evaluate candidates since the tools unquestionably add science to the art of selection. That said, there’s a place for art as well as science and we highly recommend the One Third Rule:


  • Create Job Benchmark
  • Screen Applicants
  • Evaluate Education/Experience/Proven Skills



  • Order Background & Reference Checks
  • Administer Pre-Employment Tests/Assessments
  • Conduct Structured Interviews


  • Sense that thiswill be a “Good Hire”
  • Check “Fit” with Company Culture
  • Confirm Compatibility with Work Teams

The heck with all the other Harry’s out there --- let your competition have them!!  Begin to treat candidate selection like any other business endeavor --- gather pertinent information, plan ahead and structure a process based on methodical evaluation of the job and of each candidate.  Add “science” to the “art” of

*Job Benchmarks and Success by Selection (SBS) Assessments are available from TBG in two versions:

Sales & Technical

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Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:42

Taylored Comments

Farming in a Drought

by Larry Schulze

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our clients about a sales “farmer” that had a poor quarter. It seems that his clients were not buying.

The problem with a 100% farmer is the issue just mentioned, periods of down time. My question would be, what is the salesperson doing with all of his time when he is not bringing in business? Is he getting referrals from his accounts? Is he leveraging lunch and learns, seminars and business community events to find new business?

Most “self-professed farmers” simply do not want to cold call. And there is the rub. They don’t have to prospect if they are leveraging the accounts they are suppose to manage. When things are going well for a farmer, there is this sense of false security; their accounts will always be buying.

However, if the farmer does not leverage his accounts and opportunities for referrals and new business as listed above, there will be more zeros on an ongoing basis. Most existing clients do not generate more and more revenue every quarter or even every year. There is a limitation to their expenditures with you.

Truly good farmers are only 80% to 90% so. They also find new business to add to the portfolio of businesses to farm. It is not your responsibility to give them new accounts. It is theirs to find!

The real questions are: What are their plans to help you grow your business? What are your plans to ensure they do?

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Friday, 13 April 2012 20:33

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The Ultimate Gift; Laughter

by Michael Kanan, Inacomp

Michael Kanan is the president of Inacomp. Michael has been in the industry forever and has shared some thoughts and ideas with me over the past several years. This is just one of his emails that he sends me (and others) on occassion regarding experiences he has had and enjoyed as time has come and gone. This email was sent to me this past winter. I am just now getting around to posting it. Please enjoy. - Larry Schulze

Over this past weekend, I spent much of my time with a good friend of mine in Scottsdale laughing hysterically while watching NFL football playoff games. For the record, I'm not a football fan, and furthermore, who's laughs hysterically watching football? If you only knew this friend of mine you would understand. His name will remain anonymous, as that's the way he would want it. I'm sure you would agree there's nothing better than watching your friend or listening to yourself unleash an enormous laugh, is there? My friend does this consistently for anyone he comes in contact with. "WOW", The Ultimate Gift, Laughter! It got me thinking about the many things we can learn from him that apply directly to our lives today as hard-driving, world-conquering, eat-nails-for-breakfast adults: Life's simple pleasures come with enjoying yourself and laughing hysterically along the way!

1. You/We Need a Challenge. With nearly every game ending in a tie (not football), the primitive and simple game of tic-tac-toe gets old in about three minutes. That's because human growth and fulfillment come in the midst of challenge. We are meant to take on complex challenges, gaining confidence through achievement. If you are feeling stretched, this is a good sign and indicates you are becoming stronger and more powerful. Conversely, if you find yourself punching the clock and mastering your surroundings, it's time to push yourself to a more challenging game. Nevertheless, if we are not having fun and laughing along the way, our creative genius is stymied and limits our full potential.

2. Listen to Your Instincts. In addition to watching football games this weekend,I also played golf with another good friend. Most of the time we take the game "way to serious". So, we decided at the beginning of our round to smile like Patrick Harrington. For those of you who don't know Patrick he's a professional golfer who always seems to have a smile plastered on his face regardless of his level of play. Interesting fact; when your smiling, you're feeling really good about your effort, even if it doesn't produces the desired results.Laughing

Remember the game "You're Getting Warmer" where one kid is blindfolded and has to find another. With each step, the other kids chant "you're getting warmer" or "you're getting colder." Recall the smiles you had when you finally tapped your brother, sister or friend? I'm sure, if you were like me, it was sense of  accomplishment and a priceless moment.

Try playing this game by yourself. It turns out we have an incredible ability to tap into our own intuition if we simply listen. When you make various choices in life, your instincts tell you if you're getting warmer or colder. Deep inside, you know if your moves are driving you closer to your life's vision or if your choices are destructive and luring you away from reaching your full potential. Kids listen to their intuition and laugh along the way, but we adults often are way to serious and fail to hear, let along laugh.

3. Playing the Game is the Fun Part. Imagine you're "it" in a game of hide-and-seek, but when you open your eyes everyone is in plain sight. Sure, you "won" the game but it certainly wasn't enjoyable. As adults, we are often so focused on future outcomes that we fail to savor the moment. In the midst of the game with the rush of uncertainty, we find joy delight and laughter. When the game is over, kids insightfully say, with a big smile "let's play again!" It's time to start enjoying the journey instead of postponing our happiness. The message is clear; Laughter is the Ultimate Gift!

4. It's Best When It's Your Turn. Every kid wants to go first because they get to be the active driver of their experience. Knowing this, why do so many of us relinquish our power and allow life to happen "to" us? Studies show that happiness at work and home is often linked to responsibilities where individuals have more autonomy. Of course, this same principle goes far beyond our careers and home. We're wired to be the architects of our own existence, not the subjects of others. In an era with nearly limitless possibility, there's no reason you shouldn't be calling your own shots and laughing along the way. I've experienced that those people, who can control their own destiny, laugh at themselves and with others along the way, embody a special gift. I suggest you try it!

In today's turbulent times, many of us are in a state of imbalance, stress, or  even panic. Yet sometimes the most potent insights are right in front of us. As my good friend would tell me, Michael "get your house in order, learn to smile and laugh more, and everything will fall in place."

Go Ahead, get your head in the game and make yourself, your friend and family members laugh hysterically. It's the ULTIMATE GIFT, try it, I believe you'll embrace the feeling!

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Friday, 18 November 2011 21:37

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Job Benchmarking - Job Matching

 Let the Job “Talk” to Create a Solid Foundation for Selection

by  Dennis Hunter, Consultant

We are all on the lookout for better ways to secure the talent necessary for success.  But we should ask “what talent does a job require for superior performance to be attained”?  Only the JOB has the answer, so let the job talk . . . and listen carefully!!

The patented Job Benchmarking - Job Matching process that our “Success by Selection Assessments service provides enables our clients to determine the behaviors and motivators required for superior performance.  The process makes it easy to remove common biases often associated with the hiring process.  Instead, factual data based on job requirements provide a solid foundation for selection success of new hires and, later, for coaching.

The SBS Assessments team has applied the patented process provided by TTI, Ltd. --- an internationally recognized organization with a proven track record --- to two jobs common to our clients --- Sales and Technical positions.   The process is a unique and effective solution because it benchmarks specific jobs, not the people in the job.  To do this, we let the job talk through an interactive process and job assessments.

After we identified the two positions we wanted to benchmark, we designated Subject Matter Experts from several client organizations.  SMEs are people within our industry that have a direct connection to either the Sales or Technical jobs and we used their expertise to create the benchmark.  With SMEs input we defined the Key Accountabilities for each job --- the critical goals and key business successes that the job is accountable for.  Then, keeping the KAs in mind, the Subject Matter Experts responded to a job assessment providing their input on performance requirements of the job. The composite input from the SMEs resulted in a job benchmark for the Sales job and another for the Technical job.

With these current Sales and Technical job benchmarks “on the shelf” we can now offer you the opportunity to measure your candidates using the TTI Success Insights™ Report and enable you to directly compare their talents to the talents your peers identified for success in the Sales job or in the Technical job.

Please contact the Taylor Business Group to find out how our Success by Selection Assessment service can help you select the best. You can reach us at (816) 737-3681.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011 20:22

Taylored Comments

Identifying Top Performing Salespeople

A Salesperson, is not a Salesperson, is not a Salesperson

by Dennis Hunter, Consultant

Successful salespeople are not all the same . . . they have different profiles just as what they sell differs from industry to industry, service to service or product to product. But all too often hiring managers revert to the old standard of “I’ll know a good one when I see one” approach to identifying individuals who are applying for a sales position.  Managers from the old school go with their gut rather than methodically evaluating each candidate to determine their unique Sales Characteristics and Behavioral Selling Style.   This sort of “drive-by” evaluation is risky since a bad sales hire can be extremely costly in terms of training time, lost sales, dissatisfied clients or poor bottom-line revenue generation. There’s a way to avoid these pricey pitfalls.

The Taylor Business Group can provide you with a reliable and validated assessment that is designed to evaluate the characteristics and styles of salespeople. The assessment evaluates an individual’s behavioral style and workplace motivators --- basically “how” they do things and “why” they do the things they do. It contains fifty pages of insights that can be used during the selection process, but also during on-boarding or coaching. In future blogs we can focus on other segments of this comprehensive report, but for now I want to focus on just two aspects of the reports’ insights --- Behavioral Selling Model & Time Wasters.

The Behavioral Selling Model, a scientific, professional selling process is included in the report.  It exposes the level of sales effectiveness the respondent possesses naturally and will depict how they are able to adapt in order to meet perceived on-the-job demands. The amount of difference between the respondents’ adapted and natural styles is significant because the greater the difference, the greater the potential for stress and job dissatisfaction.  The model scores, defines and reveals the respondents’ natural and adapted tendencies in six selling components: Prospecting, First Impressions, Qualifying, Demonstration, Influence and Closing.

To a salesperson, time is money --- both to the company in terms of revenue and to the salesperson in terms of compensation. The Time Wasters section details both causes and solutions for maximizing time and increasing overall sales performance.

Contact the Taylor Business Group to learn more about this comprehensive TTI Success Insights™ Behaviors and Motivators – Sales Version Report and how it can be incorporated into selection
or coaching initiatives for your sales staff.

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Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:34

Taylored Comments

Ratio Analysis for Small Businesses

by Lindsay Gleason, Consultant - Finance and Accounting

There are a variety of financial ratios that measure the health of a small business. Just as your Income Statement (P&L) and Balance Sheet measures the financial success of your company, so do financial ratios. Understanding these will help you analyze your financial statements.

Lets look at 6 ratios that we use to determine the fiscal health of a company. Goals must be set for specific attainment of these ratios and they should be reviewed as often as Financial Statements (i.e. monthly):

1.  Working Capital Ratio - also known as the Current Ratio:

This ratio measures the company’s near term ability to pay its short term debt obligations due within the next year. It tends to measure the adequacy of working capital to operate the business as well as liquidity.

Formula - Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities

Goal - $2 of Current Assets to $1 of Current Liabilities

2.  Quick Ratio - also known as the Acid Test:

This is a much more stringent test of short-term liquidity. Quick assets include cash, short-term investments and accounts receivable (net of allowance for doubtful accounts). It is sometimes expressed as Current Assets – Prepaid Expense & Inventory, though inventory is sometimes included if it can be turned quickly.

Formula - Quick Assets divided by Current Liabilities

Goal – at least $1 of Quick Assets to $1 of Current Liabilities

3.  Debt Ratio:

This ratio shows what percentage of the firm’s assets is financed by debt. Generally, a lower ratio indicates less risk for the firm as the burden of debt repayment and interest is less.

Formula - Total Debt divided by Total Assets

Goal – 100% or less

4.  Sales Days Outstanding:

This measures the average number of days it took to convert accounts receivable into cash and indicates the effectiveness of credit and collection activities. The longer the timeframe used for this calculation, the more accurate it is. The lower the number of days, the faster A/R has been collected and cash has been treated as the king it indeed is.

Formula - Average Accounts Receivable divided by Average Daily Sales

Goal – Less than 35 days

5.  Debt/Equity Ratio:

The lower the percentage the better. This ratio shows what portion of the financing has been provided by creditors’ debt. For long term solvency and stability, enough financing needs to be provided by owners. If the owners do not have enough owners equity or “skin in the game” the business is in a riskier financial position.

It is not uncommon for small business owners of “S” Corps and LLCs to remove too much of the profits from operations leaving the company heavily financed by debt. This is not just riskier for the firm but it also costs more to pay interest and be burdened by debt repayment than to use profits and owners investment to pay creditors.

Formula - Total Liabilities divided by Owners Equity

Goal – As close to 0% as possible

6.  Annualized Return on Assets:

Higher results are better. This ratio measures how effectively a firm generates profits with its available assets. Interest and depreciation expenses are ignored to remove the effects of financial leverage from borrowed funds on profit.

Formula - Net Income plus Interest and Depreciation divided by Total Assets.

Goal – 50% or better

If you follow these ratios, your business will be stabile and viable. All of these ratios are part of the Roadmap to Profitability Financial Dashboard that is available for your use.

More information about the dashboard and our Financial and Accounting Consulting Services can be seen by clicking on the appropriate tab of the TBG website. Or just call us at (816) 737-3681.

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