In the middle of an attempt at company reorganization, Michael Sheridan wants to know if it will all be worth it in the end. Other readers need advice on launching a new food product, and entrepreneuring part-time. In Resources: how to value a service company.
Design for Working
My company was set up according to the traditional model: a hierarchy, with departments arranged according to function. Customers with questions came in at the ground level and moved up the ladder of command until they reached someone who could make a decision for them. Now we're setting up performance teams -- each with employees from several departments -- that respond to customers more quickly. That means a lot of change, though, and some employees aren't ready for it. I'd like to hear from CEOs who have revamped their companies' structures. How did you find people who work independently and communicate well? And was the switch worth it in the long run? Did it improve your bottom line, grow your company, and make your customers happy?
Fringe Benefits Management
I'm trying to get our frozen gourmet appetizers distributed in supermarkets and "white tablecloth" restaurants across the country, but so far I've had little success. The high-end restaurants where our turtle soup and crab cakes would be appropriate hesitate to try a frozen food, or prefer to use their own recipe, even if ours is better. The supermarkets charge prohibitive slotting fees and want only cheap food products. Very few brokers and distributors are willing to introduce products into stores and restaurants. Does anyone know of alternative markets or new ways to pioneer a food product?
Ron Gurba Jr.
How do I find a small-to-midsize company that could use my expertise on a part-time basis? My work publishing several fax newsletters provides me with a stable income but leaves me with free time. I'd like the challenge of helping to grow a business. I don't need a large salary, just a position where I can put my experience as an entrepreneur to work. Is there a network I could tap into?
Marc S. Hyman
Industrial Machinery Exports
New York City