PROFILE

Xavier Lederer

Business Growth Coach, Founder & CEO of Ambrose Growth

I work with mid-market CEOs and business owners who are frustrated because their business is not growing as fast as they want. As a business growth coach I help them identify and remove growth roadblocks, so that they can grow faster and with less pain.

I leverage my experience over the last 20 years as a high-impact, action-oriented entrepreneurial executive with successful track record of delivering profitable growth in retail, e-commerce, consumer goods, food, and energy:

  • Turned around a food business to deliver +10% growth within 6 months.
  • Grew a stagnant $70M ecommerce/franchise category +70% in 2 years.
  • Increased sales of an energy retailer +25% to $100M in 2 years.

Key characteristics:

  • End-to-end leadership from strategy development to company-wide execution in a multi-channel environment, including e-commerce, retail, key accounts/B2B, call center, direct mail, and other non-traditional sales channels.
  • Recognized as a creative and tenacious problem-solving change agent, driving change through vision, teamwork, performance management, and people development. Experienced leader of cross-functional teams, creating effective bridges across the organization.
  • Skilled at improving organizational effectiveness through talent development/coaching and team restructuring.
  • Full P&L responsibility and executive team leadership experience.
  • Able to team up with a visionary founder, who needs help to structure the business in order to fulfill their vision. Low ego, collaborative leadership style, calm under pressure, strong prioritization and strategy development skills, knows when to be assertive or accommodating.
I work with CEOs and business owners of mid-market companies who are frustrated because their business is not growing as fast as they want. As a business growth coach I help them identify and remove growth roadblocks, so that they can grow faster and with less pain. I hear frustrations like: "I have developed a smart system to grow the company. It worked great for years, but in the past few years we have been hitting rough patches - and yet I am not doing anything different. What is going on?" Another example of frustration is: "I have a clear vision for this company but I can’t get my team to follow along with crisp execution and the same level of commitment as I have. What is wrong?" The root cause of these frustrations is that their company has outgrown their management approach: as it adds more employees and complexity, a business goes through several growth stages, and each requires a different management approach. When a company outgrows its management approach, painful growth roadblocks appear – until the company adjusts its management approach. I help these CEOs/owners identify and remove growth roadblocks by looking at their long-standing issues from a different perspective and by challenging the status quo, in order to accelerate business growth. I will help you architect a growth strategy and set it in motion through clear, actionable priorities and action items – and I will continuously hold you and your team accountable. I do this through a set of tools that are part of a proven Growth Roadmap used by mid-market companies worldwide. I leverage my strong analytical skills and my experience over the last 20 years as a chief growth officer.
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  • Posted on: 08/13/2020

    REI is going remote and selling its corporate headquarters

    This is a bold move that will be met with challenges. Employees are divided on the question: PwC's Remote Work Survey about a post-COVID-19 world recently found that, while only 32 percent of employees want to work remotely full-time, 51 percent want a mix of office and remote work. Only 17 percent want to go back full-time (or close to full-time) to the office. I notice with my clients that companies with strong values that employees live by on a day-to-day basis, crystal clear goals and priorities, and a healthy management team that shows their members' vulnerabilities (i.e. the exact opposite of superheroes), have the highest chances of making remote work a success.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2020

    Simon sees a big and profitable upside in acquiring retail tenants

    I share your concern, but the question is: what would happen if Simon wouldn't buy these troubled retailers? Brands like J.C. Penney attract traffic and other, smaller retailers to a mall; the value they add is therefore much higher than the rent they pay. Simon's reasoning might be very pragmatic: they need these brands to stay around at least until shopping malls figure out a new business model to attract traffic and other retailers. And it would be a cherry on the cake if, on top of that, they would manage to make money in a few years when they sell these brands that they acquired on the cheap.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2020

    DoorDash delivers a virtual convenience store

    Some convenience and drug store chains have been slow at developing delivery services. This initiative can therefore be seen as a real-world test for them and an interim solution before they develop their own home-delivery offering -- either by developing their own network of delivery drivers or by simply leveraging the myriad of delivery services that have popped up over the last few years (or a combination of both).
  • Posted on: 08/06/2020

    Are pop-up shops more relevant in a pandemic-altered world?

    To your point on "nimbleness": nobody knows what the situation will be in 5 months -- will we be in lockdown again or will we enjoy Holiday shopping as usual? Therefore keeping costs down and enabling flexible formats (e.g. outdoors vs indoors vs pick-up only) will be crucial. Consumers seem to accept "quick and dirty" solutions from their TV stations because of the pandemic (e.g. anchor airing from their living room); this might be a good opportunity for retailers to test out new "quick and dirty" retail formats this winter as well.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2020

    Nov. 2021: How should retail plan for a return to normal?

    This wake-up call is well-timed: retailers, especially small retailers, should double-down their efforts to boost their e-commerce capabilities now - and be ready before the holiday season. I still hear many small retailers hoping to get back to normal early next year, and focusing on preserving cash instead of looking ahead. Slashing costs works for a short time, but if the pandemic persists next year we need a real, sustainable strategy to bridge this long period of time. Whoever invests in their e-commerce capabilities in August and September will be able to take advantage of the online holiday season. Procrastinators will miss Q4 2020, which could doom their business.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2020

    Retailers hunt for spare change

    Could this perceived coin shortage be an opportunity to entice more customers to pay with cards instead - or, better, for the business community to innovate with seamless, accessible, and less expensive payment methods? Cash is expensive and burdensome for small retailers, but credit and debit cards are not accessible to all customers. Alternative payment methods have been increasing over the past few years, but none has really experienced a major breakthrough in retail. Will this change due to COVID-19?
  • Posted on: 07/25/2020

    Should online marketplaces be required to verify third-party sellers for safety’s sake?

    How badly will this impact small US manufacturers? I have gone through some of these "verifications" when we started selling on Alibaba. The amount of paperwork and obscure processes involved was astonishing, especially for a small manufacturing business without an army of lawyers. Even proving that we owned our own brand (which was the company name!) was a nightmare. This move has the potential to alienate small US manufacturers from online platforms. Where will they sell? They can't sell to big box retailers, because they can't meet payment terms or lengthy (and expensive) supplier approval processes. Online platforms like Amazon have become powerful not just because they are convenient to consumers, but also because they are often one of the few remaining outlets for small US manufacturers. One way for big box retailers like Walgreens and Home Depot to counter Amazon is to push for more red tape. Another, smarter and more valuable way, would be to become more attractive to the many legit small businesses that sell Amazon.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Will Walmart, Target, Kroger and other chains fix America’s plastic bag problem?

    This is a great initiative! I was running a small food retailer in New York City right before the plastic bag ban was going to be enforced (pre-COVID), and alternatives to plastic bags (i.e inexpensive, practical, and branded) are not obvious. Hopefully more eco-friendly alternatives will be available to smaller retailers in the future, thanks to initiatives like these.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2020

    Google breaks into mobile video shopping

    This experiment looks like a very smart way for Google to re-gain market share from Amazon. For a long time, Google has been the starting point for online shoppers. More recently though, Amazon has beaten Google at their own game: the majority of online shoppers now go straight to Amazon to search for their next online purchase, bypassing Google. It looks like Google is not trying to replicate the Amazon model, but instead has been observing how consumers behave in the product exploration and buying funnel, and is trying to better meet these needs. The future will tell whether this specific initiative is successful, but the approach is definitely interesting.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2020

    Struggling retailers lay off workers and pay millions in executive bonuses

    In this case one might question the need for a retention bonus: competition for talents in the retail top executive arena is at an all-time low, and this move makes you wonder whether these executives will have the internal support to steer their teams out of bankruptcy.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2020

    Are subscriptions a winning strategy to get through the pandemic?

    Are subscriptions growing because they are more attractive, or simply because online sales are growing, and subscriptions benefit from a halo effect? Over the past 10 years I have seen e-commerce companies launch subscription services. Every time it was going to "revolutionize" the marketplace - and most of the times results were disappointing. In most cases consumers want to decide when to receive their products, which contradicts traditional subscription models. The pandemic hasn't changed this basic need.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2020

    Is consumer arrogance driving word-of-mouth recommendations?

    There may be a more subtle type of "consumer arrogance," that doesn't imply consumers bragging about their brand new car, and which triggers pretty efficient word-of-mouth. In the gifting space, the # 1 customer segment is "Heavy Gifters," who love spending time to find unique gifts for their recipients -- to show how much they care about their gift recipients. One way to make a gift unique is knowledge: this is not "just a bottle of beer," this is "beer brewed by Belgian monks in a tiny village that few people know of;" this is not just "a sweater," this is "a sweater made from Peruvian wool from a grass-fed alpaca farm that we visited last year." We are certainly being arrogant when we expose our knowledge when giving these gifts, but with the intention to show how unique and important the recipient is to us -- which is often how it is perceived by the recipient. And the impact on word-of-mouth is invaluable.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    As several commentators pointed out, this holiday season will be much more difficult to forecast than usual, because of the uncertainties linked to the pandemic. Combined with the fact that cash levels will be very low by the end of Q3, this will make this holiday season extremely risky, especially for small retailers. Some may be wise to limit their risks when it comes to costly Black Friday discounts, new customer acquisition, and potential excess inventory. This may be a good time to instead focus on their core, profitable customers -- and potentially limit the inventory they will put on the shelves. The winner will not be the one that sells the most; it will be the one that preserves the most cash by the end of the pandemic.
  • Posted on: 07/03/2020

    Amazon’s traffic is way up, but others are doing even better during the pandemic

    The aftermath of the pandemic will be extremely interesting, for a few reasons:
    • If online sales remain strong for traditional retailers, will they be able to handle the same prices as in the stores? Several retailers offered free in-store pick-up (will they start charging customers to cover their added costs, or accept a lower margin?) and, in some cases, free shipping -- which obviously has a very real cost for the retailer. When online sales are marginal these added costs can "disappear" in the P&L; as the share of e-commerce rises, they could become more apparent and painful.
    • Will consumers attach more value to online shopping, and therefore be more willing to pay for shipping? Online shopping used to be about convenience and broader choice (and sometimes lower prices), but in the future some customers may also enjoy the fact that it offers a safer shopping experience. What will be consumers' willingness to pay for added safety?
  • Posted on: 06/27/2020

    Luxury men’s salon and tailoring shop made house calls as Miami shut down

    Despite the rise of online sales some retailers kept focusing on an outdated mantra: "location location location" -- instead of (re)focusing on the customers and actively empathizing with when to develop better suited experiences. Covid is forcing many of us to step outside of our comfort zone and think outside our retail box. The future will tell whether in-home haircut is a viable business model -- however: actively listening to our customers and testing potential models to better meet their needs, without the constrains of our old paradigms, is definitely part of the solution.

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