2020 seemed to come with built-in challenges that have easily distracted many of us from the wonderful things in life. Stress can be brought on by obstacles and change, yet this can be offset when we take time for gratitude. In my experience, it sometimes takes a conscious effort to make sure we’re not taking many of the wonderful parts of life for granted. I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Have an attitude of gratitude.” However, gratitude is something that we must practice implementing—the word “practice” refers to us taking the time to list or log the items, people, or things that we are grateful for to help us create an increasingly strong appreciation for the blessings we enjoy. This means we may sometimes forget, or feel like we aren’t “good at” gratitude; however, continuing to practice it will undoubtedly yield rewards.
Think about what you are grateful for in your family, your friendships, and your professional life. Think about what you have– even beyond material possessions. Once you have considered what you are grateful for through actively creating a list, it’s a great time to voice or share your gratitude with the important people in your life. And finally, share your gratitude with others who may not be as blessed as you. Shared time, energy and financial contributions are all ways to pass your blessings on to others.
Personally, I’m grateful to be alive, healthy, and happy. I’m doing well, I have great clients, and a healthy family. This year I’ve gained two new “children” (others call them in-laws), along with a new grandson!
May we all appreciate the blessings of one another and our collective achievements. All the best to you and your family in the coming months.
Fundamentals 3.0: Operations
A 2020 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) found:
A typical fraud lasts 14 months before detection and causes $116,200 of loss over that time
Construction, manufacturing and health care industries share a greater risk of corruption-related fraud than other types of fraud, such as skimming
A lack of internal controls contributed to more than one-third of frauds
Protective Processes Protect Your Business
Action taken to prevent occupational fraud allows you and your stakeholders to rest assured. Effective processes include checks and balances that minimize risk and negative impact. ECA provides companies with the tools—and if needed the motivation—to complete the necessary planning and vital execution. Proactive steps include:
- Establish a strong code of conduct from top management down
- Monitor financials and bank statements for disparities and changes
- Ensure that no single employee has consistent power over a particular function through utilizing a separation of duties
- Conduct related training and create a confidential employee reporting system
- Establish internal controls to monitor and ensure segregation of duties, including within the purchasing, procurement, and payment processes
NDX: Hard Lessons Learned
“The nice thing about working with Chuck is we were able to start slow—where we were at the time—and work up to where we are now. As we’ve grown, our services from ECA have grown. We use Chuck as a sounding board, a collaboration room; that’s how we set it up.”
-Lex Dutson, Partner, NDX
What does NDX do?
The “X” is for excavation. NDX is a civil contractor working primarily in Southern Nevada, owned by partners Lex Dutson and Brian Nielson. In 2006, employees Lex and Brian bought out the founder and restructured the entity from a sole proprietorship to an LLC. NDX’s work is mostly federal government, public works, and commercial. A small percentage is residential. They do excavation, grading, wet and dry utilities, and mechanical demolition. Brian describes the business at the time of their buyout as “wake up every morning, strap on your boots, and work your butt off.” A couple of good years at NDX were followed by the economic downturn of 2008, which led to a slow, eight-year recovery. Since 2006, NDX has grown from an annual three million in revenue to fifteen million today.
What made you decide to work with ECA?
Brian: “We started looking at how many years we had left before we wanted to retire, and knew we needed to start taking steps toward making it happen. I was tired—we both were—from years of manual work and from putting in long days. We needed a fresh perspective, to evaluate how we were delegating and what we were spending our time on. We were looking for a fresh set of eyes to help guide us in some of our business decisions. We knew there was a better way. Luckily, Chuck was on our radar. And we trust him—that’s with everything!”
How does Chuck serve NDX?
Operations and Staff
Brian: “We’ve grown to 50 employees and restructured with Chuck’s help. Some staffers’ roles and levels of supervision have shifted, and Chuck has helped us to sway a couple of the more challenging personalities toward a team mindset. Through systems, processes and procedures, he’s guided us to a place where we are confident in how we’ll move forward. He even met with the management team one-on-one to help them understand the changes that needed to take place for us to reach our goals as a company.”
The Work of Owners
Brian: “We’ve shifted from working in the business to working on it. Chuck was instrumental in helping us roll out the procedures that let us focus on business growth instead of doing the grunt work. It took time to get here, with planning and execution steps, but it was worth it. We run our business. We make the decisions. Chuck provides the expertise, the processes, trusted referrals, and the implementation ‘kick’ that we sometimes need.”
Lex: “The stress is ever-present, but over the last few years some of it has been alleviated. Now that we have the right people in the right positions and management from top to bottom is better, we’ve gained time—we no longer have to be in the office from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every single day. If we need to take a few days off, the business operates normally in our absence. In fact, we took two key employees on a week-long trip for the past two years, and the company functioned just fine while we were gone. If you can take your top management away for a week and things don’t fall apart, that’s really telling.”
Lex: “Chuck talks with us about what he calls our end game. I’ve shared all about where I want to be in the future—we each have—and Chuck gives us the reality of what it will really take for us to have that future. He tells us how to approach our business as a tool that can get us there.”
Why do you think some owners hesitate to hire a
consultant like Chuck?
Smiling, Brian says: “Some owners are in the habit of spending all they bring in. They think Boat or Chuck? A boat offers more immediate gratification. A different type of investment has a different type of payoff.”
It’s ideal for owners to know the nuts and bolts of all aspects of business, but too often there are tools missing. I provide the support to fill in the gaps, identifying the obstacles ahead, allowing owners to move forward with the successful building of their operations—and their future.
I bring improvements to businesses through processes, procedures and systems, increasing the appeal to potential investors and increasing the bottom line.
So, what future are you building?
Seek expertise. Reap long term benefits.