Bemus Landscape experiences greater company-wide communication and holistic business understanding after completing an Income|Outcome Andromeda business simulation workshop.
Bemus Landscape, Inc. began as one man’s venture in earning cash to pay for college in 1973. From humble beginnings mowing lawns and raking leaves, Bemus progressed to construction, landscape design, and eventually landscape maintenance. Bemus is setting the example of adaptation to changing industry climate and the shifting demands of their customer base.
Although taking a hit following the economic downturn, Bemus is now healthy and growing. Recently the executive team realized that the company culture and attitudes could also use some business maintenance.
The Growing Disconnect
Corin Bemus, along with the rest of the executive team at Bemus, recognized a significant disconnect between their operations, accounting, executive, and sales teams. While each department understood they had an impact on the business, they couldn’t easily identify how everyone worked together to form a functioning business.
Corin’s wife suggested signing up for an Andromeda finance business acumen course to bring the various departments together, with a united purpose of understanding the various aspects of the business, especially in terms of finance implications, and how each department’s puzzle piece fits into the company’s bigger picture.
While attending the Finance for Managers workshop, the Bemus staff engaged in team simulation exercises. In this 1.5-day workshop the teams (comprised of staff from every department) were given full decision making power to develop and implement business strategies using real world dynamics.
Some of the activities the teams tackled were:
- Examining market drivers: supply and demand, niche marketing, quality
- Competitor awareness, setting prices in a competitive market
- Ongoing strategic analysis, updating the strategic plan in response to changes in the industry and in the marketplace
- Budget and cash flow exercises
- Monitoring cash flow
- Maintaining the ‘books’ of the operating company (Income Statement and Balance Sheet)
- Performance measurement and analysis
- Posting, comparing, and discussion of results
Competition Fosters Clarity
Despite initial concerns that non-finance staff would be bored by the content, the simulation called for team competition, which everyone was on board with. Simulations are specifically designed for teams so that, with only an hour or so of introduction and explanation, even a group of non-accountants will have enough foundation to make decisions regarding working capital, inventory, and cash flow.
“It was fun. Really, really fun. You’re learning stuff, but you don’t even realize because it’s fun and competitive. At the end of the day, we kept wanting to get in just one more round. We had high-fiving and trash-talking between teams, which led to great team building.”
One of the most important outcomes the Bemus team walked away with following these competitive simulations was a greater understanding of how and why everyday decisions and actions impact other areas of the company.
Impacts and Impressions
Six weeks have passed since Bemus attended the Finance for Managers business simulation workshop, and while the long-term effects of their training have yet to be fully realized, there are plenty of immediate benefits that Corin and the executive team have seen.
“All of these things were in the game and it brought them into focus in a very simple way. We learned a lot about our company, in particular, and we learned a lot about how companies work in general, which for us, was great,” says Corin.
And at the executive level, more conversations are taking place around managing for growth—including investing in capital assets, fine-tuning key performance metrics, and empowering managers to better manage expenses. The bonus? Every person attending their meetings has completed the simulation, which gives them the understanding and confidence to contribute and make informed decisions. Not to mention faster meetings.
“We have had situations come up where we reference the things we learned with Income|Outcome. It’s like, ‘Remember when we did this at Income|Outcome and we came to this situation? What did we want to do?’ It has become a strategic tool that we use to guide our discussions.”
As Bemus continues to grow and add new staff, they plan to utilize the Income|Outcome Business Simulation workshop solution on a consistent basis to ensure all employees are well educated about their business and how, together, they can make the best decisions and contributions to ensure a solid future for their company.
Malik Sharif facilitated the Bemus business acumen workshop. He lives in Southern California. Malik has been developing and presenting financial literacy/business acumen programs since 2007. He is a multi-faceted finance professional with over 16 years’ experience in leadership and advisory roles. Malik’s finance experience includes conducting business valuation analyses, developing vision and strategic plans, and coordinating M&A transactions.
Better Business Acumen, Better Business Decisions, Better Business Results