By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Bob Camp has spent most of his career helping companies in a variety of sectors accelerate their growth.
“I have a wide understanding of different business models, sectors, and value creation.” he says, citing his work in manufacturing services, information technology, value added resellers, software and management consulting.
“The education we provide our business owners has to change,” Camp firmly believes. “A lot of what they’ve learned in a classroom or from books hasn’t prepare them for their business. Making meaningful improvement in growing markets business strategy, and organizational development need to be more than experiments or self-inflicted wounds. That is why we need business leaders that have been successful, sharing their experiences, their scar tissue to help others break-through to the next level.”
With that philosophy in mind, Camp is launching a business accelerator focused on Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and their leadership teams.
“It is a 90-day program for companies that need and want to get to the next level and beyond,” he says. Those types of businesses were the ones that were his clients as a management consultant.
“I look at strategy in a different way than many based on my turnaround and accelerating growth experiences,” Camp explains. “It starts with knowing that company’s unique desires and opportunities to fulfill those desires.”
For him, every business is unique.
“I don’t look at 43 things or boiling the ocean, so to speak,” Camp says. “I get focused on what’s important to the client and help them find the one, two or possibly three things that can change the trajectory of their business. We then focus in on the one, the most promising and energizing that they have the capability, capacity and commitment to excel. This gets the team working together and continuously improving on their performance. You create a halo effect when people work together and learn disciplines of execution that expands to other areas and efforts.”
His key focus is that critically important concept – execution.
“The accelerator is for the team,” Camp adds. “How do we get the executive team on board? You find the shared motivators, clear direction, and you set progress milestones. More than the end game, it is about progress and continuously learning how to get better.”
He sees three growth pillars for accelerator participants to address – monetizing their markets, incorporating intentional innovation into their businesses, and optimizing their organization’s performance.
“This program is designed to work best with a small number of companies,” Camp says. All will participate in a series of group workshops where the focus will be on the mindsets, methods and mechanics for building sustainable, scalable and successful business. There is also a significant benefit learning from fellow participants and getting feedback from peers in the program. After each workshop, Camp will spend dedicated time with each participating CEO and his/her team at their place of business guiding them get the results they want.
Having helped a number of companies scale their business, Camp has some firmly-held thoughts on what works and what doesn’t.
“Most companies only grow to their management’s capacity,” he says. “What most haven’t been taught or haven’t successfully implemented is how to scale. The management team is critical but there’s more.” Camp explains that a business won’t scale beyond management’s capacity to guide and control it without building processes, systems and disciplines that are repeatable, predictable and can be picked up, moved to another region, or applied to a new product or service offering. It is another level strategy and execution.
“There’s a lot more to scaling that hiring more bodies,” he says.
Camp intends to stay involved in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Jim Biggs and Jonathan Sexton deserve all the recognition and support they can get for what they are doing and accomplishing,” he says of the key players at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. “They are doing more than many communities.”
Camp also cites local assets that many understand such as the culture, geography, talent base, and technology generators (University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory). While he’s heard that the region’s risk aversion nature is something that has to be overcome, he sees very positive signs for the future.
“Can we do more,” Camp asks? “Absolutely.”
He cites what he sees as hidden strengths. “I see a lot of giving back here by people at all levels,” Camp says. “That’s not something I think many see. We sometimes take for granted our most valuable asset because it’s simply what we do.”