DiscoverBusiness Infrastructure - Curing Back Office Blues
Business Infrastructure - Curing Back Office Blues

Business Infrastructure - Curing Back Office Blues

Author: Alicia Butler Pierre

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Growth is not a bad thing. But too much growth, too fast presents a set of challenges often overlooked when discussing small businesses. The emphasis tends to center on the marketing and promotion necessary to grow your business, and not on the operations and business infrastructure needed to scale your business in a sustainable manner. These back office operations can make or break your business. The Business Infrastructure show provides solutions and real life stories to owners and operators of fast growing small businesses seeking practical tips for dealing with growth spurts.
110 Episodes
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Providing excellent customer support is just as important as the goods and services you offer. Effective communication is vital to creating a positive customer experience. Despite your team’s technical acumen, language nuances can erode that experience. This is further complicated when you have an international customer base. That’s where Marianne Rutz comes to the rescue. As Europe’s leading multi-lingual contact centre expert, she has a proven process to improve front-line and back-office operations leading to more profits and happier customers.  Gain step-by-step insights into her formula. Visit https://businessinfrastructure.tv/ for Ep. 109 show notes.
Joseph Garfield knows what it means to work his way up from the bottom. His entrée into technology started as an I.T. help desk operator. Over time, he advanced from being a “doer” to a strategist when he created his 3D Project Process. This framework not only consistently delivers I.T. projects on time and within budget, it’s even more streamlined than Agile and Scrum! Discover what makes it unique and how you can apply it to your projects. Visit https://businessinfrastructure.tv/ for Ep. 108 show notes.
“Know your workflows!” Sage advice from Susan Blais as she described her experience in choosing the best technologies to optimize her sales and client engagement processes. As a Long-Term Care Professional (LTCP) she knew her decisions must be rooted in data security and HIPPA compliance. Now, she has a strong foundation in place to handle surges in demand for LTCP insurance. Learn how Susan reached this point and expand your knowledge about LTCP along the way. Visit https://businessinfrastructure.tv/ for show notes.
After years of climbing the Wall Street corporate ladder, financial advisor John Stoj became disillusioned with false promises of outperforming the market. He eventually started a sushi delivery company only to return to his first love – financial planning. But this time, things are different.  Not only did he go rogue with his pricing model, but he also digitized his services without compromising security or personal touch. Learn the process for how he did it in this episode.  Visit https://businessinfrastructure.tv/ for show notes.
Eagerly anticipating the release of another podcast episode, one day Berthine Crèvecoeur West found herself forgetting some critical steps.  So this award-winning podcaster and global diversity and inclusion expert took a page out of her own book.  She decided to not only document her process for producing her podcast, but she streamlined it too – and magical things started to happen!  Get the full scoop in this episode about taking lemons and making lemonade in your business.  Visit https://businessinfrastructure.tv/ for show notes.
Being in the Army taught Bill Kurzeja the importance of leadership as he quickly moved up the ranks.  Upon transitioning back to the civilian world, he realized his ability to lead was only as good as his ability to communicate effectively.  In this episode, Bill details the process for how his company successfully improved production by 10-20%, increased customer satisfaction, and transitioned from a culture of “your” customer to “our” customer all through the use of better communication techniques and technologies.
This Season 8 finale is different – it’s not Alicia Butler Pierre’s typical monologue.  She’s joined by her 13-year-old goddaughter, Maegan Lane - a budding teen entrepreneur and COO of a clothing startup, Karma Collections.  In this episode, Alicia answers questions submitted by listeners throughout the season, and, in the process, tells Maegan how it applies to her business.  The result is answers that not only address the specific questions but show the applicability to any business regardless of industry. In a surprising twist, Maegan actually asks some impromptu questions, one of which admittedly has Alicia stumped! 
Mohammad Ali may not float like a butterfly or sting like a bee, like the famous boxer by the same name, but he is a champion – a champion of operations. With over 37 years of combined experience as a high-ranking military official, chemical and industrial engineer, COO, and board member, he recognizes problem-solving as the cornerstone for continuous improvement.  In fact, he started the first auto manufacturing company in Jordan.  In this episode, Mohammad takes us on an A to Z tour of all things operations and explains why he says, “If CEOs do not understand operations, they are bound to be replaced.”
According to Jay Hassell, “Getting things done requires a culture of learning.” As the COO of Novologic, he advocates for people and company culture as the key ingredients for improving operations.  His H.R. background gives him a strategic advantage in driving learning and training initiatives. In this episode, Jay explains how a focus on people, products, and processes leads to increased profit and performance. He also announces a new learning experience platform to assist companies in pivoting from live to virtual events.
We did it – this is our 100th episode!  And joining us to celebrate this milestone is Jared Easley, the co-founder of Podcast Movement.  In this episode, Jared reveals how his military experiences and background in project management served him in helping to build the world’s largest community of podcasters. He not only shares the behind-the-scenes operations of their annual conference, but we also talk about the history of podcasting, current trends, and what it all means for the future. Meanwhile, Alicia gives a heartfelt tribute to listeners and supporters.
Marshall Freeman is the COO of the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), a non-profit organization on a mission to make Atlanta America’s safest large city. In this episode, he details why the APF’s public-private partnership model enables them to pivot and act quickly leading to one of the lowest reported cases of COVID-19 for police officers. Discover what goes on behind-the-scenes as Marshall describes the crime prevention playbook and business infrastructure that serve as the cornerstone and foundation of the APF’s successes.
TV Producers have more in common with COOs and Project Managers than you might think. As Emmy-nominated producer Janice Jensen explains, “We’re all responsible for putting together the pieces” to deliver a profitable product on time and within budget. In this episode, Janice draws from her experience in producing hit shows like Tiny House, Big Living to explain what goes on behind the scenes in coordinating the people, processes, and tools required from pre- to post-production. You’ll also hear be among the first to learn more about her revolutionary new video-based app.
Jon Reid’s exposure to operations, auditing, and finance began during his tenure at General Electric. That experience serves as the cornerstone of his longevity as a C-suite executive and advisor. In this episode, Jon draws from his experience working with various Fortune 500 companies to give small business owners an operational model to aspire to. He explains why introverts make great COOs, why you should surround yourself with people smarter than you, and why small businesses must be creative when expanding since they can’t always access lines of credit the way enterprises can.
“If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business,” and this is why “You have to always think about continuous improvement.” Wise words from Adam Hayes, a civil engineer who now consults and serves as an operations advisor across various industries.  In this episode, Adam reveals the three types of customers every business should consider as well as internal questions you should ask yourself as a guide to meet customer expectations, measure what matters, and ultimately increase profitability.
Operational excellence and business infrastructure are common threads throughout Elzie Flenard’s career. As a former electronics engineer and operations manager, turned podcast producer, he can attest to how important company culture along with a validated improvement model is in getting things done. In this episode, Elzie breaks down the correct order in building business infrastructure as he emphasizes the importance of securing the right people first, then processes, and last the tools. Learn why he says operations can be your company’s profitable differentiator.
As technology and customers become smarter so does the expectation for companies to be faster, better, and cheaper. Back-office workflows now go beyond order-to-delivery, procure-to-pay, and intake-to-discharge. They also include customer engagement – a task once owned by marketing. In this episode, David Ellin taps into his experiences as a COO and VP of Customer Success to give a crash course on the importance of retooling processes, measuring what matters, and conducting kaizen events to enhance customer experience and profit.
With a background in cultural anthropology, certified coaching, and leadership development, Marvell Allen brings a distinct perspective to her C-suite clients. She has a particular knack for helping them eliminate egos and silos as barriers to getting things done. In this episode, Marvell explains how COOs (or anyone in charge of operations) can keep CEOs off the ledge. But, she says, they in turn need support in executing on strategy and keeping the entire supply chain intact. Discover the business infrastructure techniques she says can help.
“Operations is the most important part of doing your business,” says Joseph Powell. As the founder of TenDollarTutors.com and the creator of the ThinkSmart Whiteboard app, he knows firsthand the importance of operational excellence. In this episode, Joseph candidly shares the story of his roller-coaster tech journey and why he decided to step down as CEO of his company and serve as the COO instead. He also provides insights on the business infrastructure necessary to brace for change and stay the course.
Maria Jones describes Chief Operating Officers (COOs) as the “Innovators of execution.” Their role as second-in-command to CEOs is vital to business continuity and delivering on sales promises. Yet, many leaders don’t understand what they do and overlook operations as the core of any business.  In this episode, Maria kicks off Season 8 by debunking common myths about COOs as well as operations using analogies and examples that make their value undeniable.  She also shares key metrics every business should measure to assess performance.
Disaster comes in many forms and we don’t always know when it will strike. Developing contingency plans to plan for and recover from the aftermath isn’t an easy sell, especially when companies are riding high on profits. No one likes to think about what can happen if/when things go wrong. In this episode, host Alicia Butler Pierre shares her personal story of how she forfeited income for nearly a year to help her parents after they narrowly escaped death from a major flood. Two years later, she emerged as a podcaster, one of the world’s leading experts on business infrastructure for small businesses, and the author of a 2x bestselling book. She also shares resources to minimize the impact of a crisis on your small business.
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