Building Corporate Value: The Five Keys

By Charles J. Curto, Managing Principal of Tech Coast Equity Group.


At a meeting of the Technology Council’s Entrepreneur Society, David Knecht, Partner with the CPA and

management value consulting firm of Milam, Knecht & Warner, presented Building Corporate Value:

The Five Keys. Below are take-aways from his presentation.

David began by emphasizing that the basis for increasing company value is increasing transferable EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization). Based on his value-building research and experience in with hundreds of clients, the five keys to building company value are:

  • Having a written strategic plan,
  • Building diversified revenue,
  • Having engaged employees,
  • Increasing productivity, and
  • Employing a performance management system

A written strategic plan

  • Helps maintain management focus,
  • Establishes direction and provides the basis for filtering opportunities that fit the company’s strategy, and
  • Directs marketing toward implementing that strategy.

Research by PriceWaterhouseCoopers indicates that companies with a written strategic plan

have a written strategic plan enjoy a 68.6% greater growth rate than those that don’t.

Revenue diversification results in greater

  • Revenue and EBITDA stability and
  • Transferability of that EBITDA.

Revenue diversification results from revenue streams from multiple products and customers

with on one or few products or customers being dominant.

Based on research by Gallop, employee engagement results in a workforce that

  • Has greater retention,
  • Works safer,
  • Is more productive,
  • Enjoys greater success with customers, and
  • Is more profitable.

Although compensation is, of course, an important factor in employee engagement, employees

engaged, other factors may have equal or greater impact for a particular workforce or employee

in creating, increasing and maintaining employee engagement, including

  • Recognition,
  • Opportunity for advancement,
  • Quality of supervisor,
  • Flexible hours, and
  • Less pressure.

Increasing productivity results from

  • Increasing the EBITDA from a dollar of revenue or return on sales, which in turn is
  • Strongly influenced by process improvement.

Companies like WalMart and Southwest Airlines have made process improvement and thus

productivity improvement a core value which has been reflected in increases to their company


Based on the research of authors Schiemann and Lingle, “companies with a performance

management system substantially outperformed companies without a system.” Performance

management systems are based on the principle that if you can’t measure it you can’t manage

it. Performance management systems in general and dashboards in particular have the

following characteristics:

  • Relevant (linkage to strategy)
  • Understandable
  • Drillable
  • Actionable
  • Track key indicators, including growth, profitability, productivity and value.



This summary is not meant to be a transcript of the session nor a primer on building company value.

Instead, its intent is briefly to share a few of the valuable take-aways from the session, take-aways

which are based on the experience of successful entrepreneurs and professionals who work with

entrepreneurs. Hopefully, these will encourage you to attend future Council programs where you can

meet and learn from the experience and wisdom of other thought-leaders.

David Knecht can be reached at (949) 861-4445 and .


Post in Sales


I have the opportunity to work with a large number of sales teams and to see what makes for highly successful ones and ones that struggle.  In my experience the #1 determining factor in sales team success is whether the company has the right sales people on board or not.  There are 10’s, if not 100’s, of different sales jobs in the market and like numbers of different types of sales people fit those jobs.

Clear Deliverables Are Crucial

A key element in getting the right person in the right sales job is getting very clear on what the sales person must deliver in order to be successful.  Most companies have job descriptions in place and may use them as part of their hiring process. The challenge with most job descriptions is that the documents are lengthy and list a large number of “deliverables.”  So, there is a lack of clarity about exactly what the company needs to look for when hiring and evaluating sales people.

Moving Beyond Job Descriptions

I was trained in a different approach termed “Performance Profiles.” A Performance Profiles does not attempt to address all of the HR and legal compliance issues that a full job description should. Rather it is a document that focuses on the top 3 – 5 key deliverables in the job. In other words the 3 ­5 goals a sales person must achieve in the job to meet and exceed target.

An example of the Performance Profile for the sales job at a client follows.

The client is a small company that provides software to school districts to manage the finances of school construction programs. The software sells for $50,000 to $400,000 per instance. The sale requires multiple sales calls on and presentations to key executives and working with committees to make a sale. Being an entrepreneurial company it does not have a lead generation system set up.

Here is what the CEO and I defined the key deliverables of the job to be:

 1) Prospecting: Since the company lacks a consistent lead generation effort the sales person has to prospect for new opportunities. Candidates had to have a track record of successfully cold calling using email, phone calls, etc. to create opportunities.

 2) Successful track record in sales: This should be one of the top two things in any Performance Profile for sales.  In this case candidates needed a track record of closing software sales in $100,000+ range.

3) Deals with complex accounts: As stated before the company is selling to larger school districts. So we were looking for a person that had track record of developing relationships with multiple people in the C­Suite and influencing them to adopt the company’s solution.

4) Team sales: The company’s product deals with a number of complex issues that most sales people are not able to address on their own. During the sales cycle the salesperson has to bring in technical resources at the appropriate time.   A background in team sales was seen as essential. In other words we were seeking someone who had “quarterbacked” deals by enlisting technical resources and orchestrating their efforts to close deals.

 5) Affiliation marketing/networking: The company sells to the K­12 education market.This is a highly interconnected market that expects a salesperson to know about school districts and their overall challenges, not just those challenges related to the product he is selling. This made a background in affiliation marketing and networking skills a key component of the job. The expectation is that the salesperson would join different “industry” associations and get active on the boards to build his knowledge of and connections in the industry.

We used the key points from the Performance Profile to:

  • Develop our job ads
  • Craft our interview questions to determine relevant experience in each key
  • performance metric
  • Set our key screening criteria for the search
  • Develop our 90 day and 1 year performance expectations for the job</li>

The clarity about what was needed in this sales job proved instrumental in “staying the course” during what proved a challenging, but ultimately successful search.


Brad Leggett is CEO/Founder of The Leggett Group, Inc. His firm focuses on the issues and challenges associated with building, leading and retaining high performance sales teams. Brad speaks on the Keys to High Performance Sales teams and is a business radio show guest on the topic. You can read more of Brad’s writing on The Leggett Group blog or check out the company LinkedIn page.

TONIGHT: “Internet of Things” Hackathon & Accelerator Series, sponsored by AT&T and Intel.


We’d like to invite you to participate in the fourth hackathon of The “Internet of Things” Hackathon and Accelerator Series, sponsored by AT&T and Intel.  This year’s series will focus on gaming and artificial intelligence.

This free LA event will be held on November 15 – 16 at ROC Santa Monica (604 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401).

Developer groups, schools, startups, and individuals are welcome to participate and compete for cash prizes, as well as a trip to CES (Las Vegas) in January to vie for the $20,000 grand prize.

Interested participants can learn more at and register at  You can also follow them on Twitter: @IoTHackathon.

Technology Industry Awards Dinner – April 30

Join us at the 2009 TCOSC Technology Industry Awards dinner for the best companies, the brightest people, and the most fun!

The Technology Industry Awards is celebrating its 15th year of recognizing individuals and companies that have made significant, superior contributions to Southern California’s technology industry. This event brings together top executives from all aspects of Southern California’s technology industries to provide an outstanding opportunity for networking. Everyone involved in the technology industry should plan to attend and celebrate the best Southern California has to offer.

Learn more about this fun event:

Overview  |  Keynote Speaker  Register to Attend  
Local Company Awards Finalists
Judges |  Sponsors  | History | Award Criteria

April 30, 2009
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Downtown Los Angeles

We’ve sold out for the past nine years, so get your tickets today!

Please reserve your tickets now by registering here.

Panel: Digital Content Distribution’s Brave New World

“Digital Content Distribution’s Brave New World: Trends & Issues” was our topic last Thursday night at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Monica.

The first in what we hope is a series of digital media-related events for the Technology Council, this program focused on trends and opportunities in digital content distribution.

Turn-out was stronger than expected for this new topic area, with some attendees driving from Southern Orange County to get a taste of Hollywood’s business expertise.

After a networking happy hour mixer and dinner, we had an all-star panel that represented several different facets of the Los Angeles media and technology commmunity. Panelists included:

Moderator: Scott Fox, Author of Internet Riches

With all that expertise it was a challenge for me as moderator to keep the discussion to only an hour.  The attendees were interested to hear the panelists’ perspectives, and to share their own, on the many challenges facing the film, TV, and music industries in the digital age.

Thanks to all who attended, our sponsors Sheppard Mullin and Singer Lewak, Catrina Luedtke for producing the event, and to Richard Neff for helping me plan and host the evening.

Lessons For Entrepreneurs From Tech Coast Angels

The Tech Coast Angels talk about improving your chances for long-term success in the lead article of the November SCribe Newsletter.  Check this out, along with our other feature articles and links to the upcoming event schedule.

Here are quick links to the feature articles in this issue:

You can also see past SCribe articles in our archive at

Tell us what you think!

SCribe Newsletter October 2008

The October SCribe Newsletter has arrived.  Check out the feature articles and the upcoming event schedule.

Here are quick links to the feature articles in this issue:

You can also see past SCribe articles in our archive at

Tell us what you think!

Panel: How Blogging, Widgets and Streaming Video Can Make Your Marketing Efforts Take Off

Phil Becker writes:
On Wednesday, September 24, I had the opportunity to moderate a truly interesting and educational dinner meeting of that Tech Council’s Marketing SIG. An audience of about fifty people heard three panelists speak on “The New Business Boosters; How Blogging, Widgets and Streaming Video Can Make Your Marketing Efforts Take Off“.

Attendees enjoyed a nice dinner before the Panel.

Attendees enjoyed a nice dinner before the Panel.

Thanks to the kitchen of the DoubleTree Hotel for some tasty chicken.

Thanks to the kitchen of the DoubleTree Hotel for some tasty chicken.

As that title suggests, the talks focused on three new marketing tactics that companies can incorporate in their marketing mix to seriously increase the firm’s marketing effectiveness.

Gary Gabriel, Peter Kim, Scott Fox, Phil Becker

Gary Gabriel, Peter Kim, Scott Fox, Phil Becker

The first speaker, Scott Fox, who is an author, entrepreneur, Director of the E-Commerce Success Institute and a Board Director of the Tech Council gave a great overview of how to build and utilize a blog to increase personal, two-way communication with clients and prospects. Scott used some real-world examples to emphasize the “do’s and don’ts” of blogging, including how blogging can help address misleading or negative images that a competitor might paint of your company or products.

Then Gary Gabriel, Founder and President of Vmatrix, showed us how streaming video has recently become a very effective and surprisingly cost-effective way to educate your prospects about your products and your firm. He pointed out that a well-made video can keep a prospect at your web site for five or more minutes instead of the sub-minute times a static web display might accomplish. Your are essentially using a video as a product advertisement and the click-thru to your web site is far better than other forms of advertising.

The audience for the Blogs, Widgets and Streaming Video Marketing Panel

The audience for the Blogs, Widgets and Streaming Video Marketing Panel

Finally, Peter Kim, Founder and President of Interpolls, introduce the audience to the recently emerging capabilities of web-based widgets. It turns out that these widgets can be any sort of bi-directional application that you can conceive of to involve the user in the subject – normally the product or service you are marketing. This includes games, questionnaires, and even the ability to purchase your product directly via the widget. The real strength is that a user can copy a widget to his or her own page on a social networking site where other views can find and use it. This becomes a very low cost yet effective form of viral marketing.

Steve Stallman, Chairman of the IMPACT Committee enjoys the Panel with Catrina Luedtke, Executive Director of TCOSC

Steve Stallman, Chairman of the IMPACT Committee enjoys the Panel with Catrina Luedtke, Executive Director of TCOSC

We finished up the evening with about 45 minutes of Q&A, where the audience had a chance to drill-down on each of the subjects. It’s too bad we had to call a halt at 9:00 PM as the attendees had a range of excellent questions and really seemed to be intrigued by all three marketing tools.

– Phil Becker, TCOSC IMPACT Sales & Marketing Committee Volunteer and Panel Organizer/Moderator

Thanks to our attendees and sponsors.  Have you joined the Technology Council yet?

Venture Net 2008 Photos

Feedback on this year’s Venture Net has been great. 

Standing Room Only @ the Wetin South Coast Plaza

Standing Room Only @ the Westin South Coast Plaza

The event was sold out – almost 500 people in total!

A sold out ballroom full of investors, presenters, and friends.

A sold out ballroom full of investors, presenters, and friends.

Scott Fox, Author of Internet Riches hosts the day.

Scott Fox, Author of Internet Riches hosted the day.

Mark Skaist hosts the afternoon panel of investor judges.

Mark Skaist hosts the afternoon panel of investor judges.

Feyzi Fateh (Corent), Anjay Bajaj (Altos), Michael Oliver (Corent), and Paul Minor (iPhotoMeasure) at VentureNet.

Feyzi Fateh (Corent), Anjay Bajaj (Altos), Michael Oliver (Corent), and Paul Minor (iPhotoMeasure) at VentureNet. David Sacks, CEO of Geni

The USC Marshall School of Business sent Jerry S. Cohen, Ivka Adam, Prof. Steven Mednick, and Patricia Yun.

The USC Marshall School of Business sent Jerry S. Cohen, Ivka Adam, Prof. Steven Mednick, and Patricia Yun.


Matt Coffin (Founder of LowerMyBills) interviews Jason Calacanis (CEO of Mahalo).

Matt Coffin (Founder of LowerMyBills) interviews Jason Calacanis (CEO of Mahalo).

Scott Fox and an audience volunteer pick winners for the door prizes.
Scott Fox and an audience volunteer pick winners for the door prizes.

These photos courtesy of Ben Kuo of the leading news source for Southern California
technology news and deals:
.  Thanks, Ben!


Thanks once again to Venture Net’s sponsors, including Deloitte & Touche, the law firm of Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth, and the CJ Patrick Company, as well as the many volunteers involved in the screening and event planning process.

We welcome your involvement in our programs.

Venture Net 2008 Winners

Venture Net 2008

Venture Net 2008

13 of the hottest early stage technology companies in Southern California joined us yesterday for the 13th Annual Venture Net.

We were pleased to also welcome 400+ attendees, including dozens of venture capitalists, angel investors, and private equity firms, plus keynote speeches by John Suh, CEO of, and Jason Calacanis, CEO of

Presenting companies included:

• Capzles, Inc.
• MeetingSense
• RingRevenue
• Orgoo
• Magnify360
• IS Accountable
• DialPlus
• Mefeedia
• Lingospot
• Digital Performance

The Best of Show Award went to Magnify360 – a SAAS platform that maximizes the performance and ROI of websites, microsites, landing pages, and the marketing campaigns that point to them.  Olivier Chaine, Founder and CEO, presented for the company and accepted the award.

Thanks to all the hard-working selection committee members and all of our Venture Net 2008 sponsors, including Supporting Sponsors Deloitte & Touche, Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth, and the CJ Patrick Company.

Special thanks to Catrina Luedtke for her outstanding production of another successful event.

Please click for information on joining or sponsoring the Technology Council of Southern California.

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