Job #1: Confidentiality

PRIVATE MARKETING ORGANIZATION

PMcommunity.org is a relatively small, elite marketing umbrella for LOCAL cross-discipline professionals to serve each others’ clients whenever they are in need of the others’ services.

Unlike any other meeting venue, members only connect when there is a pre-qualified, sales-enabled REFERRAL at hand.  (more…)

Openness & Transparency are Overrated

Confidentiality Trumps Free Flow of Information

Social medial permeates everything today. But, for our money, social media is best only for personal expression for those so inclined. For business, i.e. serious business, Linkedin is perhaps the only resource of interest and even this must be guarded.


LEVERAGINGPM COMMUNITY GREW OUT OF ANALOG SUCCESS!

Contrary to rumors, PM Community, (aka PMcommunity.ORG  started as a non-profit concept of “let’s help everyone to be better” concept. That was last-century “old school” thinking. A group of well-intended, graying senior executives thought it would be a superior idea to GIVE-BACK (to the Small & Midsize Business (SMB) community) by PAYING-IT-FORWARD.  Amazingly, they already had “Proof of Concept” in the form of the highly successful “Business Group.” This entity had a remarkable run back in the stone ages, starting in the early 1980s.

ITS MISSION: Assemble like-minded independent practitioners in different disciplines–like serving the same general SMB clientele (in law, accounting, brokerage, auditing, banking, consulting) who would like to make themselves available to help each other’s clients whenever outside/outsourced services where needed. →And, there would be absolutely no cost, no obligation, nor fee-splitting/sharing of any kind. The objective was to find out how much value could be added by each one’s [independent, but collaborative] participation.←

Obviously, proximity was the key.

Every licensed professional was (must be) in private practice within the same local marketplace. Why? Because they would already know, like and trust each other. The thought was rather than letting their individual needy clients go onto unknown third parties, they could refer clients between/among each other. The caveat was that the client was under no obligation and was free to go anywhere else–assuming they had competent representation.


CONFIDENTIALITY IS OUR BENCHMARK

In point of fact, every “participant” would be/become a fiduciary to the new client and, therefore, each would only do what was in the best interest of the client. Since the majority of the common projects were M&A related, all pros were on the same-side. They would be working for the same common goal: to optimize the client’s [shared-experience] outcome! Should any professional ever have a perceived conflict or difficulty, she/he would defer in favor of the client’ best interest/progress to successfully complete the deal. In other words, self-interest was not an issue since the goal was in fact mutual for the “common client.” FYI–the client individually engaged each professional separately. The arrangement was to form a pseudo Multiple Discipline Practice for each & every case/project.

The common thread throughout every deal was CONFIDENTIALITY.

business meetingWhen the elements of mistrust & self-interest were removed from the equation, this was surprisingly easy to accomplish. Without the burden/shackles of formality, every representative was a player on the same team. While “interlopers” tried to join the team when they heard/witness how business transactions could be completed so effortlessly, they were generally rebuffed. The exception was was everyone else in the Business Group agreed & endorsed the newcomer without reservation.


FACILITATION & COMMUNICATION WERE KEYS

The early 1980’s technology was limited to the excitement of the facsimile machine. The telephone with courier services & snail (certified/registered) mail had previously ruled the day. Networking actually meant connecting people. PCs would come later. This is yet another reason why close-proximity was crucial. The only to get people on both sides of a transaction ON THE SAME PAGE was to have one party OWN the responsibility of ensuring constant communication.

The average SMB business transfer of say, $2 million, usually took several months–often more than a year! (Remember, email had not arrived yet!)  Do we have to state that many transactions failed for lack of timely information & communication? Yes, we lived and worked in a ANALOG world. This is perhaps the best reason why the Business Group was such a winning concept for clients as well as pro-participants. Whenever deals seemed to stall or go sideways, remediation & correction was dealt with by the “project manager” or lead player in the group.

The fact of the matter is that a Project Management as a recognized discipline was new and, at best, in short pants! Fast forward to today and no self-respecting intermediary or transaction consultant would ever participating in a deal-destined-to-fail. History is replete with Chaos on major transactions without a detailed plan and proper orchestration. No wonder any deal that was on-time, on-scope (completion) and on-budget was a miracle!


DEFYING TRANSPARENCY & OPENNESS MANDATES

Back in the stone ages (1980s) before the advent of PC’s, networking was by/between people–who actually knew each other. The biggest issue then was “equity,” i.e., making any relationship balanced & fair. To be sure, there were as many 2nd-agenda types doing business then as there hackers, scam artists & other nasty fools now. But, at least we could see them then! Today, the digital world is all about freedom, instant communication, openness, and transparency! For the most part, we buy into this EXCEPT when it comes to serious business that requires careful consideration, protective discretion and confidentiality. AHA, we’re found out! We’re analog rebels masquerading in digital clothes! Hardly. But some things cannot to easily changed despite the excessive permissiveness of the internet. For instance, social media is just that SOCIAL. It is not BUSINESS…

… especially business that is in transition, transformation, or transaction. 

Hence, the rub. We are NOT social types and do nor espouse random openness. Granted, there a place for it–as it relates to people and personalities. But, since we are all about project and processes, there is little use for it. Our brand of marketing (Concierge Marketing) is serious business that DEMANDS strict confidentiality. Ask any professional if they would expose sensitive information about their clients in a capricious manner. (If you ever did find one, do not tell her/him about us!)


ADMISSION OF SLOW (and STEADY) GROWTH

Since the Community doesn’t advertise, doesn’t do business with the public or even have clients, we are not very well known. This is deliberate since we learned the hard way that we couldn’t be all-things to all-people. We had to shut the doors & windows in 2005. We had to institute internal policies and guidelines for our members. As members well know, we are not an association or any type of dues-collecting forum that spews bright newsletters periodically. Rather, we are deadly serious about helping SMB clients through their most Trusted Advisors participating in Concierge Marketing. After ten years we still have a some of the ugliest cluster formation known to man … and that’s why members are pushing for a Recruitment Promotion that works!

Through the month of September, we’ll be accepting membership application from qualified professionals in every discipline who (check this out) ONLY PAY ONE MONTH’S MARKETING FEE and we will waive all other marketing fees till next year. How’s that for an incentive?! FYI–this will not to promulgated officially until Labor Day when, hopefully, our new website is finished. But, you read it here first! If you’re still an outsider, it’s not going to get any better than this!

Pay just $30 or $59 and get up to 4 months Concierge Marketing totally free/gratis! And, before someone should ask, YES, our 100% satisfaction guarantee would be in effect for the WHOLE period. Incredibly, just for asking before New Year’s, a new member could get her money back … as long as she realizes that she won’t be eligible to reapply for membership for three years. For most, this would be a very tough pill to swallow, but at least it’s on the table.



Kindly note that all PM Community blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes and are intended for a specific niche audience, namely, independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. Our material is not designed for public consumption nor for any specific trade group or professional services industry. | © Copyright 2014 pmCommunity.org. Other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners.



PMCOMMUNITY.ORG: Hidden Resource

PRIVACY Stunts Growth!

Readers, here’s another not-so-well known truth divulged about us: independent professional service providers join us FULLY EXPECTING that we’ll continue our policy of NOT advertising, promoting or disclosing the identities of who they are, anything to do with their clients, or to do with marketing projects, i.e. especially when they are “in play.” While this may be “usual & customary” for all fiducial practices, it is decidedly NOT the case for marketing companies. You know, those who make their livelihoods by usually broadcasting, promoting and advertising.


Can Your Marketing Do This?

Can Your Marketing Do This?

PM COMMUNITY GOES AGAINST THE GRAIN

Our closed, members-only marketing organization is unique insofar as we resist what others in our genre embrace. In our 10-year history we have never advertised in the classic sense for one reason: CONFIDENTIALITY is OUR BENCHMARK. To this end, we deliberately have no membership directory, no self-service online search facility, no membership manual (rigid rules) and thus should not be considered a mere Referral Service. Folks, there are enough of these other types up & down the internet.
We are niche marketing consultants with “skin in the game.” Every request for service (RFS) made to us by members is considered special and handled by skilled professionals (BRMs) who must verify qualifications (i.e. authenticate the project) before search/research utilizing our proprietary marketing system. Operationally, we treat every RFS as a unique project (with a fixed beginning & proposed end date).
Kindly note that our project databases are not shared with others nor are they maintained online. Usually, they are purged after 180 days from the date of last contact. This may seem perplexing to outsiders. Doing this is “old school” in a digital world! That is, everything is now supposed to be open & transparent; but not when SMBs are “in play. We trust that YOU get this. And, hopefully, now you understand why the Community so strongly resists Social Media and other “temptations” that could lead to possible breaches of confidentiality.

Folks, privacy is taken very seriously, We cannot allow our growing community to get ‘hacked’ or have the possibility of a member inadvertently leaking an identity or info that would harm another member’s client. To this end, as part of our ‘fail-safe’ protection, even our internal processing [of members’ clients’ information] is done anonymously. We’re proud to declare that no one, repeat nobody, is more scrupulous when it comes to matters of security & safety.


CONFIDENTIALITY ABOVE ALL ELSE!

Everyone knows that the internet was/is the ultimate Game Changer. Now, 20 years later and virtually nothing is the same except how to treat confidential & highly sensitive data when a Small or Medium Sized Business [privately owned] is “in play.” You know, whenever SMB-owners contemplate or initiate a Major Change* undertaking.

Absent the deep pockets of public companies, SMBs must rely on and engage outside resources [outsourced contractors] to work in/on their businesses. Without exaggeration, this is the time when private companies* are most vulnerable. Larger projects, aka planned major changes, bring with them considerable risk–perhaps none greater than the fact that businesses in transition are irreparably altered. (Hopefully for the better). Anticipating future results is not risk-adverse. There should be little wiggle-room room for miscalculation. Accordingly, change management should be set firmly in place from the onset. There will be no do-overs.


By definition, *Major Change involves multiple outsourced Subject Matter Experts doing projects that cost over 7 figures. All stakeholders must work in unison in order to deliver the best planned results possible. This fact alone necessitates confidential treatment to protect the SMB-client from potential harm. No where is this more true than when the major change happens to be an M&A event. This is the point in time where SMBs are most vulnerable. FMV attainment is often in direct proportion to this “confidentiality factor.”


Forget You! bigSeveral months (even years) prior to actually implementing a major change, strategic planning is vital. At the very least, the creation of a sound business case (justification to change) and/or a formal business valuation to determine authoritative prevailing-market parameters should be recommended to your clients.

Word of caution: Trying to short-cut the process, like charging forward with a commission-hungry entity before change/project due diligence, could bring about undesirable results and/or severely & needlessly limiting your business client’s options.

This is when members earn their Trusted Advisor’s badge! Being smart enough to help clients with shaping their future … DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE CHANGE is outside of his area of expertise. As a Community Member, you have direct & immediate access to a vast local talent pool of every discipline under the sun! For your client’s sake, use it … before your competition steers him in another direction.


PRIVACY IS THE OPPOSITE OF TRANSPARENCY

Summing up, it should come as no surprise that PMcommunity.org is not well known in the social media world. We like it that way. In truth, we’ve never embraced it [except LINKEDIN} as a serious BUSINESS matter/tool. Once again, we really do think it is terrific for all things PERSONAL and perhaps for SOME business activities. But viewing all the hacking & stealing in cyberspace, our admin feels that it is the worst case scenario waiting-to-happen for SMB’s-in-transition or transfer.

And, now you, too, know the rest of the story. [RIP Paul Harvey]




Please DON’T Bother to Like Us

Borderline “Anti-Social” Community

THIS IS A DELIBERATE REPEAT OF THE SELF-ADMISSION OF BEING AN ANTI-SOCIAL COMMUNITY BLOG…March 25, 2014

We’ll get to our perceived “negative posture” in a minute, but let’s explain to first-time readers why they’ve come to the right place; that is, to find out why any organization would request people NOT to like them. Other readers and possible “member-candidates” sitting on the sidelines may be wondering whether this “Community” really deserves their company? Since time & space is limited, let’s just say that members are encouraged to STOP thinking about themselves, and to START thinking about better serving their Clients.

→ Granted, we may be the ones who deliver fully qualified, sales-enabled, personal referrals—sometimes in the High Net Worth category. But, to the Community, this is always a secondary consideration. ←

The most important reason for joining our Community should be to add more value (read: provide better service) to (existing) clients. Sure, we’re aware that some members let the tail wag the dog. But seriously, in the real world, helping SMB clients in time of need should be first and foremost. Our members know that our job is to position them to more easily assist clients in need of their support—usually—in their hour of greatest need. And when might this be? Whenever a Baby Boomer says he “thinking” of retiring.2007 Postcard w-mmap

FYI–millions of these owners are going to come to market—with or without you—in the coming decade. M&A events are clearly their last & greatest chance to cash in (out) on their life’s labors.

In case you’re not aware, (right?) M&A events of all kinds, shapes & sizes happen to the very lucrative opportunities for clients and trusted advisors alike. Sure, paydays happen to be bodacious, but, because advisors are fiduciaries (whether in law or in fact), clients must come first. Delightfully, outsourced advisory members get to enjoy doing their best work toward the common goal of collaborating toward a unified Optimum Outcome.

MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE (there are no do-overs!)

Our-Your Clients--professions-midBefore any client is allowed to “hit the market,” attentive advisors should help (teach counsel, cajole) them BEFORE the fact. The act of converting equity into liquidity demands careful planning and execution. Allowing entrepreneurs to procrastinate (until they’re ready) is a very dangerous thing on many levels. Of primary importance is getting the business prepared for “the future.”  This is not an act of weakness, retreat, or quitting–by any stretch of the (entrepreneur’s) imagination. Wonder why so many widows are forced to settle for half a loaf? Long before a business broker or boutique i-banker is summoned, there’s lots of mandatory prep work to do.

So whose responsibility is it to sound the subtle alarm of preparedness? The correct answer is that particular trusted advisor who listens to her/his client articulating his desires and intentions. E.G. “Where is my business is going? Is it equipped to go there? What M&A format would be right for me? What would I need to do—in the short & long-term? What’s my company worth (present state) and what could it be worth (future state)? What are my tax implications? Is now really the right time?” And so on. Ironically, these queries are often not asked by an insider, but by someone coming in to troubleshoot or to solve a problem. Read: an outside professional like an outsourced Subject Matter Expert compelled to act in the client’s best interest, albeit temporarily.

WHY WE DON’T LIKE SOCIAL MEDIA

The headline makes a simple request: please don’t like us on Facebook naturally. Good question that begs the answer to “Why”? Candidly, because of our professed hangup on confidentiality, that’s why!

We’re know that the “rest of the world” has/is going there. Frankly, PM Community is not ready…yet. There may come a day–in some format, but now “the risk of needless exposure is just too great.” The fear is that we’d be forced to relinquish one of our most treasured attributes, namely, being a genuine “hidden resource.” Members enjoy the fact that they belong to a “secret society” of sorts because all our work is done completely behind the scenes…with no one is the wiser.

Admin feels that the Community is better off NOT being a Social Butterfly. We do not crave more & more members. (Okay, qualified members, of course!) Our expressed desire is to position cross-discipline professionals [here’s our added value] by providing them with on-demand, expedited, cross-matched, connection opportunities in the local market.

The overall result [problem solved] is that EXISTING CLIENTS get urgent needs addressed, often on-demand or at least on a just-in-time basis. This eliminates conventional methods that can be grossly inefficient, time-agnostic, needlessly costly, and often apathetic to sensitive/confidential issues impacting the client’s competitive situation. Trusted advisors know all too well that privately-owned SMBs are always better off—without a public spotlight on their problems, difficulties and struggles. Every major change should be handled only by like-minded, trusted professionals. Period. //  GM