Managing Director of TMH Consulting & Investment Group Thomas Michael Hogg started the company to help other organizations embark on their journey to profitable growth. He is also an author, growth hacker, CEO mentor, and regular columnist. He writes for El Financiero, and he has been featured in Bloomberg TV, CNN Expansion, El Economista, SalesTech Star, Global Finance, Mexico Industry, Reforma, Negocios en Imagen, Milenio, Cluster Industrial, among many others.
Prior to leading TMH Consulting, Thomas Michael Hogg also boasts of more than 20 years of experience in advising more than a handful of large multinational corporations. These include adidas, PepsiCo, Johnson Controls, Campbell’s Soup, Bulkmatic, among others. He has also advised SMEs and nonprofit organizations, and he also spoke at Mercedes Benz’s Innovation Week.
Aside from TMH Consulting, Thomas Michael Hogg has also written the book “Profitable Growth Strategy: 7 Proven Best Practices from German Companies.” Through this book, he promises to give his readers valuable insights into growing profitably. For example, you’ll know “how to make profitable your unprofitable business,” and “how to help a CEO stop being the bottleneck of the business.”
Through his work at TMH Consulting, Thomas Michael Hogg has helped over 300 businesses reach values of up to 7 to 12 figures, “with up to $8 million USD in Monthly Recurring Revenue.”
A sound work-life balance is crucial where family and spiritual quality time should on your 8020 agenda. Thomas Michael Hogg, TMH Consulting
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Thomas Michael Hogg: At TMH Consulting & Investment Group we bring a strategic clarity and direction to our client’s growth plans. Most importantly, we share a passion for results with our clients. In our projects we have achieved 20–40% annual sales growth, 5–20% bottom-line growth, 30% target market penetration, and +50% key account lead generation. One specific success story was when the board of a client wanted to close an unprofitable business unit. The CEO told me he didn’t know what to do because there were many jobs at stake. During 4 months we implemented a new B2B sales and marketing strategy to get new target customers. The next months we worked on several cost drivers. After one year the company was back on track reporting profitable growth with top- and bottom-line results above industry average. On the one hand I was happy for the employees, on the other hand I was surprised to see that the board and shareholders were able to sell this specific company’s business unit two years later for multiple million dollars while keeping all jobs. This is our passion to achieve profitable growth and value for all involved parts: the customer, the employees and the company owner(s).
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Thomas Michael Hogg: A sound work-life balance is crucial where family and spiritual quality time should on your 8020 agenda.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Thomas Michael Hogg: I guess my first boss at adidas, Guenter Pfau, was very influential. He had a great and smart leadership approach, always in a good mood and joking, but in certain crucial moments he was super-demanding and competitive. My favorite story is when I did a really good job in something, he knew it was time to get my feet on the ground again, saying: “It is so good that we have you.” My pride went through the roof listening to this compliment. And then adding very quickly: “Well, and if it weren’t you we would have someone else.” Oftentimes he mentioned the same sentence and up to the present day I remember this lesson.
A good company lasts and overcomes many crises. A great company is the number 1 in a specific niche.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Thomas Michael Hogg: A good company lasts and overcomes many crises. A good company oftentimes is above the industry average when it comes to business practices and customer service.
A great company is the number 1 in a specific niche. A number 1 niche player delivers unique solutions and quality content. A niche champion is obsessed with having the best product and service. A great company serves a profitable market segment and is quick what means “high” speed to market. A highly successful niche player has qualified sales experts. A #1 niche player is an industry benchmark and stands out in the long run. A great company has high profitable growth and invests strongly in human capital and HR strategies. A great company combines both being financially the most successful firm and also being the best place to work in the industry.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Thomas Michael Hogg: REMAP YOUR OBJECTIVES. You have to set clear objectives and always increase your competitiveness and profitability. Decision makers have to go even further as defining the basic vision, objectives and core business. At TMH Consulting we re-define the business objectives in a simple 5-step REMAP process considering Reach, Empowerment, Metrics, Accountability, and Precision. Understanding and sharing this “REMAP” definition with all employees helps the C-level to execute.
The most important and first point is defining the future REACH of the company. Ask yourself again what is the purpose, the reason (the “Why”) to impact on customers. Impacting customers means to serve them with an outstanding product, service or offer. One of our clients defined among our advice the “REACH” (the goal) to impact and transform the Marketing practices of AAA companies. The Founder and CEO shared this vision with his team and invited his millennial employees and even some of them centennials to impact
and transform their industry. The firm had a highly successful profitable growth journey from 2014 to 2020. Not only do you need to establish a motivational reach. The REACH needs also clear financial goals (Sales and EBITDA). In order to achieve high profitable growth you have to set these reachable goals but at the same time define a high market reach. This is called the “business vision” in terms of IMPACT, EBITDA, PEOPLE and COMPANY SIZE.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Thomas Michael Hogg: At the beginning Covid-19 crisis we recommended Company Owners and CEOS the following:
– Push for (target) market share growth. The most important Top Management task is to maintain and grow the market share in their industry. During a crisis it is easy to gain or lose market share depending on the agility and financial stability of each market player.
– Defend your #CoreBusiness and key clients sales. Serving your key customers means “key”!
– Transform your business model, especially your financial model focusing on cash flow and profitability.
– Improve your #competitive position through improving substantially your service level.
– Organic and market-relevant #innovation impacting the business model.
– Inorganic #growth if financial and cash flow situation allows so.
– Divest. Or close certain business units. Especially companies without financial reserves and without access to debt.
Agile and sound decision making on these points will make the company survive and probably come back stronger.
Be the best in class. Thomas Michael Hogg
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Thomas Michael Hogg: The target market definition. Having a clearly defined target market (niche) was new for the CEO of a technology firm. The firm had more than 90% of revenue and EBITDA in a very specific industry during the previous 5 years. The CEO decided to take into account a strategic recommendation to focus on the niche they performed best (sales and profit-wise) and fully committed to defend and strengthen their market share in this niche.
While the overall country’s GDP growth this particular year was 1%, the financial results of the company were surprisingly good.
56% sales growth and
32% profit growth!
Lesson learned: The most common mistake I have seen as a consultant is the lack of target market definition. You have to define the niche you enter and conquer. Be the best in class.
And of course there is a tradeoff. You need to be very good in a niche that means in a specific industry, market, geography, demographic, or segment.
In a larger company where you may have several brands and business units the niche concept also applies. Each business unit / brand should have a specific business plan, market segment and EBITDA goal. Each business unit is accountable to become best in class when it comes to quality and profit.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Thomas Michael Hogg: Without making improvements and innovations on customer experience you may get obsolete. The velocity of customer demand and upcoming new habits in the digital age are so drastic that many companies won’t be able follow. Strategic innovation sessions and external support on customer experience matters are crucial. Having these sessions take into account the newest trends:
o The convenience generation
o The super consumer: highly engaged users being more demanding than ever before
o Automated and frictionless buying
o Growth of video and voice tools
o Useful Big data: Future value or Commodity
o Industry 4.0 or even 5.0
o Artificial intelligence, Machine learning and IoT breakthrough
o Salesforce transformation models
o Funnel Hacking
o Digital Marketing
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Thomas Michael Hogg: Reputation is crucial. Indeed we have received many CEO concerns that the organic results on Google show sometimes really bad news. It is so important to implement a reputation and SEO strategy so that prospects, clients and other stakeholders are finding more good news than bad news. Social proof and response are essential for a successful brand strategy.
Reputation is crucial.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Thomas Michael Hogg: The lack of resources (time and money) allocated to a well-planned and realistic strategy have been one of my essential takeaways on why many enterprises fail.
CEOs and Business Owners struggle with both strategy decision-making and strategy execution. Mostly, there is no good strategy growth roadmap. Oftentimes they lack to understand and define the highest standards concerning quality, innovation and customer value.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Thomas Michael Hogg: Giving more education and training on “Profitable Growth” inside the company. Profitable Growth gives the company a VISION of lasting and re-investing. Profitable Growth is made for shareholder and employee value. Pushing the business and transcending as a brand at the same time is possible, even being an employer brand. We need to erase the idea that profitable growth (financial focus) is contradictory to an employee focus. We live in a HR world and the importance of people-focused enterprises to not only generate company value but also employee value is highly important. In other words, being an employer brand while meeting all shareholder goals. Is this possible? Yes it is and with common profitable growth goals meeting the financial objectives there should be a sound budget allocation for all HR strategies. The future question should be rather if employee value creation can be fulfilled without profitable growth. The answer is a clear “No”. A company without profitable growth is not able to invest in people.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Thomas Michael Hogg:
– Linkedin: Thomas Michael Hogg
– Twitter: ThomasMichael_H
– Instagram: thomasmichael_h
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!