Mark OrtonOver the past seven years I have come to focus my consulting almost exclusively on business coaching. This is giving me opportunities to work with owners and managers of startup and small businesses. I am really enjoying this because it puts me in a position to really apply the broadest range of my skills where I can have immediate and ongoing impact. I absolutely know that if I help a business owner perform better, their business will perform better. This produces a very virtuous feedback loop.  My clients like working with me because I help them grow their businesses and grow themselves. They find that they are spending more time working on things they are good at. And, my clients like working with me because we always find opportunities to laugh and have fun.

Telephone-based Business Coaching

During the last three years I have surprised myself with a transition to working with clients almost exclusively over the telephone. I have proven to myself , and clients have confirmed, that this is effective and time and cost efficient. We can easily schedule an hour telephone conversation into busy schedules.

If we need more or less time we can easily work that out. An hour talking with me turns out to be about the right amount of time each week. We can talk about current issues and keep a focus on the important tasks that we have identified to drive the business forward. When we add a web-connected computer to the mix, we can review financials, plans, and reports together. If I am working with a team of managers we use web-conference tools that are so easily available.

Hot Topics Among Clients

Marketing and sales performance tops the list of functional areas that I am currently working on. And within those, web marketing is the burning issue. The days of approaching marketing as an exercise in the 4Ps (Product, Price, Placement, & Promotion) are clearly over. The 4ps still apply but within a very different marketing environment. Today we need to figure out a workable strategy that utilizes the best mix of pay-for-click advertising, organic search engine results, and the possibilities of connecting with potential and current customers through the social web (Facebook, Twitter, etc.. Then, we need to find the tools to organize and monitor the activities required tocarry out the strategy.

Cash flow projections are important in the current economic environment because many companies have suffered actual declines in sales, or significantly decreased rates of sales growth. Without an effective cash flow projection tool in place, owners are finding themselves needlessly short or out of cash.

The role of the Web and social media have emerged over recent years to be active topics among all of my clients. They see some of the opportunities and are puzzled (as I frequently am too) as to how best to integrate them into their overall marketing and business operations. Between my own engagement in Web technologies and the expertise and experiences of some of my clients who are entirely focused in the Web sphere, I continue to be able to engage in active knowledgeable discussions of these issues.

Other Work

I maintain an interest in helping companies learn how to be high-performance organizations through applying lean manufacturing/lean enterprise principles and practices( also know as the Toyota Production System – TPS). My experience really focuses on applying these to job-shops, a non-traditional environment for the methods so closely attached to repetitive manufacturing.

In addition to working in the manufacturing sector I have developed expertise in applying these approaches in the service sector. In this arena I have developed a special tool, Moments of Truth Analysis, that greatly increases the impact of lean enterprise methods in the service environment.

Riverside Business Coach

Riverside Business Coach is a privately held business coaching company based in Hudson, NY  serving clients around the US and overseas.