Aiming for Audacious Growth

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Financial Management Solutions Inc. (FMSI) is gearing up for $5.5 million in revenues by 2005 — nearly double its anticipated 2003 revenues.

A bold goal, but a doable one, says W. Michael Scott, co-founder of Atlanta-based FMSI, which provides performance-management information services to help banks and credit unions schedule tellers, lower costs and increase productivity. Always looking for new ways to improve his business, Scott took FastTrac in 1999, nine years after launching FMSI. “FastTrac helped me step back from the company and look at it from a distance,” he says, noting the insights were vital to moving forward. In fact, FMSI has nearly tripled its annual revenues in the past four years. Mapping a route. To prepare for its new “big, audacious goal,” FMSI has created a formal sales plan that details individual and incremental steps needed to reach the magic number by 2005. For example, each salesperson knows what he or she must do — from the number of telephone calls to prospective clients to the number of demonstrations and closures required each month. A new marketing campaign is also in the works. The first step, however, is to survey clients from the past two years to better understand why they bought FMSI services. That information will be used to craft the marketing campaign — and to improve FMSI’s products and services. “We need to have clients as successful as possible because that makes us successful,” Scott says. Building a senior management team. Last year, Scott replaced his CFO, a 12-year company veteran. “It was extremely difficult to do; however, the job had outgrown him,” Scott explains. More recently, Scott created two new positions, director of sales and director of client services, which he filled by promoting two top-performing employees.  
Down the road, Scott also plans to replace himself as CEO and assume the post of chairman. “Having a senior management team in place allows me to function in a different role,” he explains. “If we’re going to become a $10 million company, I need to make time for big-picture planning.” More-detailed reporting. Scott continues to improve FMSI’s financial and key-item reports, creating monthly score cards. “If you don’t track what you’re doing, you won’t have benchmarks to improve on that performance,” Scott says. Peer learning. This year Scott joined TEC, an international organization of CEOs. Involvement in TEC also helps Scott break away from his company and view it a different light. In addition to gaining insights from other CEOs, Scott can offer his perspective on their firms’ problems, which he finds stimulating. Advice: Setting a big, audacious goal helps your employees stretch. “It gives your staff something to shoot for,” Scott says. “Start by saying something like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could achieve X?’ Then people start thinking about ways to achieve that. Ideas come out of the woodwork, and plans begin to evolve to meet the goal.” Writer: T.J. Becker
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