Category Archives: Business Planning


Here’s an INTRODUCTION to a talk that’s to be scheduled in several weeks to a SoCalif real estate investment group … —————-


.. by Carl Sherrill – Business Planning / Construction Management / Architecture – DRAFT – May 03, 2015

… “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”-  Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Capital investments have many components. As well, investors can feel a wide range of emotions when considering the “Big D” to move on a commitment. This is totally understandable, as these emotions include a full range of perceptions – from stress to exuberance. Indeed, some folks may feel all these emotions at more or less the same time!

To move forward on major capital investments, what lessons apply to tomorrow’s big decisions?

Understanding a rational process to produce project budgets mitigates “emotional hi-jacks”.

We use due diligence to uncover specific items, while other issues may support a desired cost-benefit ratio. While other resource estimates may revert to instinct or a “leap of faith” when investors believe in short and long term value.

As one purchases an existing building, some benefits may be implied – this may create an “illusion of stability”.

Otherwise, the perceived risk to build new may appear high, but new construction offers unique missions for proactive sales and marketing programs to overcome previous error.


If you’d like a pdf copy  pls send over an email request –


California CEO – What’s Your Strategy?

Now Grow UP! (not out) – Good idea

Do you like wasting time in traffic? … The article below – published in 2012 – resonates. Traffic congestion is a waste of time.  The investing & politico communities need to examine different concepts to solve today’s & tomorrow’s livability problems …


“Goodbye Sprawl: Southern California Plan is a Long-Term (Unfunded) Model for Sustainability

Southern California’s new Sustainable Communities Strategy plan posits that as a region, we have to grow up, not out. That doesn’t mean Hong Kong skyscrapers, but more apartments near light-rail stations and vibrant mixed-use areas like the ones in downtown Pasadena.” …

see …

Prepare – Make that big-ticket investment decision

Here is a good reference from McKinsey & Co. …

What are some of your concerns?

Preparing to make big-ticket investment decisions

When the stakes couldn’t be higher, the quality of the decision making can make all the difference. Process improvements can help.

July 2014 | byMichael Birshan, Ishaan Nangia, and Felix Wenger

Few decisions in an executive’s career are as complex or sensitive as a multibillion-dollar investment with a payback timetable that can stretch on for decades. The right call can positively transform a company’s value. The wrong one can damage the company’s share price, draw public criticism, and perhaps even cost responsible managers their jobs.

see the link …

Agree: … Speed of Due Dilligence & Risk for Investors

This article makes sense to me …

Speed of Due Diligence & Risk for Investors

Apr 6, 2015 – Richard West … this is from …

IVI / CBRE currently sees an unprecedented trend in how fast due diligence needs to be performed. … This is especially true in core gateway markets such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle & Chicago to some extent.

There is an increased appetite by investors to deploy capital into real estate that’s putting pressure on them to do deals more quickly.

This increasing “need for speed” creates a greater chance of investors being burned on real estate deals, as when times are good in the industry investors are sometimes blind to past failings.

There is no doubt investors have a decreasingly short period to make investments, as right now these gateway markets are hot & more & more equity is available for deployment, causing prices to rise as demand outstrips supply.

The fear is that in order to meet expected returns, investors will be required to either move up the risk spectrum or to diverge from their usual investment strategy while on the hunt for attractive assets.

Some investors may also face additional risk by moving away from their core property strengths & take on assets they are less experienced in managing.

In past years it was not uncommon for an investor to have anywhere between 30 to 45 days to complete their due diligence.

However, we are seeing timelines as short as 5 to 7 days for a buyer to either complete their due diligence or waive contingencies.

We have heard of several cases where our client released hundreds of thousands of dollars in order for the seller to allow them the opportunity to sign the purchase and sale agreement.

The drive for these expedited timelines & deal constraints is simply the competitive nature of the market for these core cities & the class-B+ to class-A quality assets within these markets.

We’re seeing this trend in assets of varying sizes. As the number of potential buyers increases, so does the market demand for fast “go hard” decisions.

While the trend is most evident on larger assets in the $100-million-plus range, it is becoming increasingly common on $10 million to $100 million properties.

For these properties, it is extremely difficult to get exclusive due diligence periods without leaving some “walk away” money on the table.

There’s an obvious, inherent risk with these deal structures, but aligned with a qualified & experienced consulting team a client can often offset this risk.

We are often asked, “How quickly can you prepare a report for my acquisition?”

This approach is flawed from the outset.

Only after a clients’ risk profile is assessed can an appropriate due diligence scope of work & schedule be established, provided a report is actually even required.

The purchaser’s familiarity with an asset type and market help establish the baseline for review.

Flexibility in reporting & communicating findings is essential — often enhanced post-site visit debriefings, detailed conference calls with the team, & preparation of complete summaries with opinions of probable costs may be all that is needed to give meaningful guidance to clients.

Qualified consultants respond to this need for increased speed in due diligence with condensed deliverables, prepared by skilled architects and engineers.

The focus is a “get to the point,” numbers-driven analysis tailored to a client’s needs, which provides critical data they need to make the best business decision possible.

Creative report delivery strategies must be explored, but nothing can replace the trained eye of a highly experienced due diligence advisor supported by a network of seasoned experts.

Having a well-rounded generalist who is a registered architect or professional engineer lead the process is invaluable, especially when specialists are added to the team to review specific building systems & components.

And when there is time pressure surrounding the review of real estate, this makes all of the difference.

Richard West is senior managing director of CBRE valuation & advisory services;  Robert Occhiogrossi is managing director of IVI Assessment Services, a CBRE company.

We ALL Want Successful Investments

Capital Assets – A Clear View … 

We ALL want successful investments

Jun 13, 2014 – by: Carl Sherrill – Business Planning / Construction Management / Architecture

For today’s business, in our new global environment, organizations must grow or die. … This applies to “the corner news stand” to works all the way up to major projects sponsored by international corporations & government agencies.

The need for clear thinking about necessary capital investments is critical. … The evolution of the business plan must overlap the building plan. However, a CEO (or CFO) may suffer an “emotional hi-jack” when facing the stress of a major investment in real estate, equipment & facilities.

To start, most proposed investments need to clarify THREE broad issues: … A) … Where to put it? … B) … What to put in it? … C) … How big to make it?

At first, these issues may appear “simple” – BUT in fact, they are complex & dynamic.

Some organizations such as Apple, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Dollar General, and Starbucks may understand this.

Organizations such as our Federal government can invest in real estate projects and then find that upon opening that new facility, their investment is already outdated and not nearly as effective as it should be.

Unfortunately, major business expansions such as (but not limited to) Krispy-Kreme, Fresh and Easy, and Del Taco (my 1st construction program in Atlanta when I was fresh out of college) did NOT effectively deploy their capital. … While, today, organizations such as Sears & Office Depot will close hundreds of stores.

Reaction is for wimps.

A CEO (and CFO and investors) may react to business situations and make major investment decisions without complete analysis.

Smart, up-front, effective and professional business planning delivers systemic organizational benefit.

Critical and sensitive planning may be delegated to people in the organization who LACK in-depth or experience or objectivity to be effective and unable to deliver maximum impact.

I have a pro-active, step by step process to customize to an organization to examine their situation.

This includes: … 1) … Market … 2) … Sales process … 3) … Operations … 4) … Personnel

With complete and in-depth preparation, the CEO may address investors with improved confidence to secure required growth funds in a competitive environment.

This is like helping the coach & ALL the team players work from the same play book.

When these issues are clearly illustrated with a substantive flow-chart on a time line, the CEO, with internal company leaders, gain a new, better & a more complete view of their organization.

As these issues are better clarified, proposed sites are analyzed with specific clarity, while schematic site & floor plans are prepared with better wisdom for the proposed sites.

With this specific wisdom, cost benefit ratios for the proposed investment are better analyzed and major projects can then be delivered with effective professional service.

This is a lot for anyone to wrap their mind around.

Very often informal conversations are the best way to begin this process to deliver a successful investment.

I guess I’ve delivered over 100 building projects in large corporate & Federal environments. … After introducing this process – my goal is for the CEO to ask: …“What next”? …

I hope this helps … Carl … … (c) … Carl Sherrill – 12Jun14

“The business plan is the Foundation for the building plan”