With 2012 winding down, there are a few key posts I’d like to share before we flip the calendar to 2013. This first one is to recognize (just about) everyone who has contributed to the growth and success of Lean Blitz Consulting over the last year (and then some). We don’t get to where we are today without a lot of help, advice, and support.
The concept for Lean Blitz Consulting – using Lean and other continuous improvement principles for small businesses and sports organizations – is one that I’ve hemmed and hawed for many years. It’s always scary to take a big leap into a business space that is all but vacant and I finally made that leap in Ohio. Thanks go out to the Edison Community College (OH) Small Business Development Center for some legal and tax advice, Dan at Schlegel Creative for designing the mighty snappy Lean Blitz logos (there are two designs in use), Casey Kiel at Casey Kiel Creations for logo ideas, Brian at Quint Creative Signs for the fantastic booth banner used at the Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show and other events, Kathy Sherman at the Piqua (OH) Chamber of Commerce for her support of the venture, and to the folks at Helping Young Professionals Emerge (HYPE) of Northern Miami Valley (OH).
A super big special thank you goes out to Susie at Up and Running in Dayton (OH). A friend of the family for many years, she took a chance herself on entrepreneurship into a business space she saw equally vacant and now she owns two service-oriented fitness stores in Dayton and Troy, Ohio. She encouraged me to follow a path that I believed to be the best one with starting my own company, even if it wouldn’t be the safest path. Her stores provide a unique offering to a niche market of runners focused on fitness and competition as well as other fitness-related sports. Susie, the next time I’m in Ohio I’m coming by the store – I’m due for another pair of Saucony Guides.
While attending the Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas last December, I got a big plug from ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield in his coverage of the Winter Meetings Trade Show. Thank you for the coverage, David! It certainly helped not only having a business-centric mind but also being a well-read baseball fan and catching all of David’s work throughout the year. Also, thanks to Ben Hill of Ben’s Biz Blog and MiLB.com for the shoutout and Dipquest 2011!
One of my most fortunate face-to-face meetings down in Dallas was with Mark Graban, a devotee to Lean in Healthcare. He has written books and articles about Kaizen and hospital continuous improvement, hosts a very popular blog at LeanBlog.org, is a noted consultant and speaker…and he invited me out to lunch (barbecue!) while I was in Dallas. He has been one of the biggest supporters of using Lean in sports, the Lean Blitz blog, and the growth of the consultancy. I really don’t think there’s a big enough thank you that I can provide here. He’s been a great mentor and he has allowed me the opportunity to guest post for him (here and here are my favorites). He is working on a relatively-new venture called KaiNexus.
As I relocated to Augusta, Georgia, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce (special thanks to Blaire, who has helped me connect with new clients seeking process optimization), the Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters, the Augusta GreenJackets baseball club, the Young Professionals of Augusta, Christina Kach at Catch Careers (even submitting a blog post), and John with The Genesis Group. I also have clients to thank but to protect their anonymity for now I’ll just say thanks to Katie, Deb, and Tammy!
Another big thanks to Matt Wrye at the Beyond Lean blog for the review of Lean Blitz. I’ll speak more about this in a subsequent post, but I reached out to various continuous improvement bloggers about sharing ideas. I’ve had Matt and his Beyond Lean blog (as well as many others) in my RSS feed for a few months now, and as I look to incorporate a lot of their teachings into my own blog posts and presentations I hope to help spread the “gospel” about the power of continuous improvement and provide some further publicity for other writers.
I’m also extremely thankful that as I continue to work on my explanations about what Lean is and how it can help small businesses and sports organizations I’m hearing more “okay, I understand” and less “mmm, I still don’t understand.” Opportunities for optimization are all around us, and I’m even learning significantly as I read more and more blogs. (Quick plug – lots of great continuous improvement blogs can be seen and reviews on them read here at John Hunter’s Curious Cat Blog Carnival Annual Roundup.)
There are many more folks that require my thanks that have not been listed. Everyone who has read, heard about, touched, or somehow influenced this blog and this venture, I appreciate your support. Thanks!