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News Clips

What's On Your Mind

Happy Holidays from the
Decision Associates Team:
Don and Sue Moore, Mike Estrich, Ricardo Guardiola, Ken Jurino, Abby Lechner, B.J. Lechner, Jim Ryan, Mike Smiley, Mike Towner and Emily Wachter




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Decision Associates Web Wire - December 2015

Meet Your Replacement
by Don Moore


Don Moore

After 32 years of consulting, I don't get surprised very often by a business owner's request. But recently I have been surprised by the number of business owners who have asked us to help them hire a president to run their company: six in the last year+ and two more in process right now.

There are advantages to hiring a President: If you own a business, it is probably the highest performing financial asset that you have. Why sell it and put the money into a lower performing asset when you know this business, its risks and its potential better than you'll ever know the stock market?  For an increasing number of business owners the answer is to hire a president. The advantages are obvious:

  1. You can keep the business and to take it to new levels of financial performance by marrying the decades of experience of both you and the new president
  2. You have the pride of ownership and sense of continuing to grow it
  3. The business stays in the community, which is extremely important to most business owners
  4. And, get your life back

A Win-Win-Win-Win

All that said, it is a risk-filled proposition. The attributes that make you a successful business owner often make you a poor candidate to hire someone else to run the company that you've built, nurtured and spend most of your time running on a day-to-day basis. These include:

  1. The pride of having built it
  2. The freedom to make decisions
  3. The thrill of success
  4. The sense of "win" when strategies, investments and risks work out
  5. Not having to defer to someone else
  6. Satisfaction of contributing to livelihoods of employees and the community
  7. Having control of the engine that builds your wealth
  8. Knowing that, good or bad, the outcomes are all on you

Something to do every day that gives you a sense of accomplishment….every day.

Key Strategies for Revenue Growth in 2016
by Mike Smiley


Mike Smiley

With less than a month left in the year, now is a critical time to ensure that your plans and budget for 2016 includes key initiatives that support revenue growth.

Market Research. Regardless of your industry, you need an ongoing understanding of your market, customers and prospects. With this data in hand, you can differentiate your company from the competition and better align with customer needs.

Corporate Strategy. Your corporate strategy encompasses allocations of budget, staff and time. It is the foundation for all your functional strategies and the pursuit of organizational growth.

Product Strategy. As you might suspect, this strategy defines the direction of your company's products and sets up your marketing and sales strategies for success. It may include potential solutions to solve market problems as well as plans to launch products.

Marketing Strategy. Building on the insights you garner of your external market, a solid marketing strategy drives demand and generates leads for products and services. In this part of your plan, you are required to understand which marketing channels deliver the best returns.

Sales Strategy. Like the marketing strategy, your sales strategy must build on the insights of the external marketplace. It also must remain aligned with the corporate strategy. The sales strategy requires you to make choices about which sales programs to pursue.

Getting the Most out of Grant Opportunities
by Mike Estrich


Mike Estrich

Over the past eighteen months you have seen Decision Associates promote different grant opportunities to regional manufactures. While most grants can be used for services at Decision Associates, many of them can be used to offset costs of other investments such as technology upgrades, energy efficiency and developing proprietary products. I wanted to take the time to update you on how many companies have been investigating grant opportunities.

As of the end of November we've had meetings with 48 companies interested in the MATAAC grants. By the end of this month 12 will have received funding of up to $75,000 in cost-sharing grants to be used on up to $150,000 worth of outside consultant work. Of the remaining 36 companies, six decided not to pursue the grant, ten could not meet the qualification and the remaining 20 are in some process of qualifying. 

10 Ways to Improve Donor Recruitment and Retention
by Mike Estrich

At this year's Nonprofit Day, Decision Associates was asked to present at their morning roundtable discussions. There were a lot of interesting topics available to attendees, but we decided to concentrate on donor development and donor retention. For those of you who couldn't join our table or were unable to attend the morning sessions at Nonprofit Day, I wanted to share what was discussed.

1.   Pull three to five years of data to examine donation trends. Not all donors write the same check every year. To better analyze the data, use cumulative gift amounts over an extended period of time. This:
- Allows you to classify donors
- Helps to identify individuals or corporations with better than average lifetime donor values
- Allows you to see trends and track it against your events, campaigns, etc.

2.   Start by examining your current donors. Although every donor development director dreams of having millionaire donors itching to give away their hard earned cash, the reality is those are few and far between. Most organizations have different sets of donors, the key is understanding who they are and why they donate. The better you understand the donors you do have the easier it is to unlock new donor opportunities:
- Create profiles of different donors?
- Understand what their household and lifestyles look like (family, pets, own, rent)?
- How does their profession or spouses profession relate to their donation habits?
- Where else do they donate time and money? Why?

News Clips

Decision Associates M&A LLC was engaged by Time Machine, Inc. of Polk, PA to help them make a strategic acquisition that would add proprietary products to their contract machining business. We analyzed over 100 companies and prioritized a slate for them. Skinner Engine was one of those priorities and we are pleased to announce that they have purchased Skinner Power Products. Skinner was founded in the 1860's and continues to produce steam turbines for the worldwide market.

Peer Groups will be re-organizing in January. If you or someone from your organization are interested in joining, please give us a call at 814.528.9400. We have room for you in the Erie or the DuBois area. Peer groups are for everyone, whether you are a business owner, executive director or climbing the organization's ladder.

What's on Your Mind?
Send your comments and/or suggestions for future topics of interest to:

1540 East Lake Road | Suite 100 | Erie, PA 16511 | | Phone: 814.528.9400 | Fax: 814.528.9401