Founder and President, Optimize, Inc.
Recognized across North America as an author, speaker and consultant on strategic planning, Santa Clarita’s Marc Emmer has chronicled many of his experiences in his recently-released second book.
How did you grow the idea for Optimize, Inc., and how has the company exceeded even your own expectations since its founding in 2002?
I think a key to building a sustainable business is morphing from the original business model. In our case it took us about two years to figure out that strategic planning can directly impact a company’s enterprise value and create more opportunity for entrepreneurs and their employees. I didn’t find strategy; it found me. Over time, companies need to expand into new service offerings, and I think we did that really well.
What do you believe are the keys to smart and sustainable strategy in today’s ever-changing business world?
Given the pace of change, companies are moving toward a more agile approach where they can pivot based on changes in their environment. Several things are really critical in formulating strategy: You have to have a lot of work up front to understand market dynamics, include the right people to create a unifying vision, and be hyper-focused on creating systems for implementation. Strategic planning should be a repeatable cycle and not an event.
Your second book, “Momentum: How Companies Decide What to Do Next,” was released in March. What can business professionals and leaders learn from reading it?
Momentum is based on real-world stories about our clients, who are remarkably successful entrepreneurs. It is part manifesto on strategic thinking and part how-to on strategic planning. My intent was to provoke thought but to do it in a very practical way. It doesn’t matter if your revenue is $100 million or $1 million, there is something you can apply right away.
How do you believe Optimize, Inc., has made a mark on the world?
I feel so blessed. Our clients do everything from make parts for every major U.S. fighter and commercial aircraft to parts on 40 percent of the world’s pacemakers. One of our clients built night-vision glasses for the SEAL teams that captured Osama bin Laden. Others make pediatric wheelchairs and care for disadvantaged seniors in downtown Los Angeles. Great organizations are drawn to us, because what we do is help them be the best version of themselves. I truly believe we are creating opportunity and jobs. We are making the world a better place and that is a source of pride for my team.