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Client Work

Selected client work projects and case studies

Note: Any information that would identify the persons or company has been removed to protect client confidentially. These client work case studies are otherwise accurate examples of projects I have successfully undertaken. Your confidentiality is safe with Positive Edge.

Seed-Stage Startup Financial Modeling

Challenge: A seed-stage import/distribution company needed start-up financial modeling and go-to-market assistance. The entrepreneur had products, a targeted market and start-up infrastructure in place but did not have staff with financial modeling, or marketing skills. They needed financial models for the business plan and cash runway projections as well as marketing strategy for the product launch.

Early-stage startups often have founders with very strong skills in key areas, but minimal capabilities in other strategi areas. It’s rare to find an individual with all of the necessary skills. If you do find such a person, they won’t have time to do everything. That why a Team is so important. In this case, the founder had products selected, team members that could find and support distribution partners and help with operations. The founder needed cashflow and runway calculations to manage the seed funding, financial projections for the business plan, and marketing support.

Process: I conducted several interviews with the founder and was given access to all pertinent financial and sales projection information. I modeled burn rates and cash runway under several different scenarios. With further discussions, settled on an optimistic/likely/worst-case set of models. These were formatted into working guidance and investment deck versions. While compiling the above, I also engaged in a number of consulting and sounding board sessions with the founder and key executives and assisted with the initial marketing strategy.

Outcome: The company successfully launched, received further investments and continues to offer innovative consumer products, some as private label and some of original design.

Venture Capitalist state-of-the industry report

Positive Edge case studyChallenge: A Silicon Valley based venture capital firm requested a quick turn around on a detailed analysis of the state of the PCB (printed Circuit board) laminates industry, including a description of the basic fabrication process, industry products, the major industry players, specific promising new technologies and future prognostication.

Time is often as important a parameter as is cost and accuracy. However, there are circumstances when the time needed to get the job done right simply isn’t available, yet the job still must be done right. That’s when “personal overdrive” kicks in. It’s a temporary suspension of work/life balance to help someone who is in a bind. Personal overdrive should never be a first choice, but it’s there as insurance for those times when the world arounds us just refuses to cooperate.

Process: Four days of intensive research, combined with personal knowledge and interviews with industry experts.

Outcome: Delivered 25-page confidential report covering the above, on-time and on-budget.

Conflict Resolution

Positive Edge - Conflict resolutionChallenge: Two director level managers tasked with jointly overseeing a mission critical internal-use software development project. One openly stated that they “do not compromise.” The other openly stated that the first was “advocating for a flawed approach” and at best, could “agree to disagree.”

Compromise and cooperation are the foundations of teamwork – The ability to “play nice” is fundamental to being a part of a team. Yet, strong opinions and forceful personalities are common accompaniments to extreme talent. Often a level of insecurity is at the root of unwillingness to compromise. Getting two such opposing forces to work effectively together requires the ability to demonstrate that when one wins, the other doesn’t have to lose. Both can win by weaving the two talents together and when that happens the team and business is far better off than when an adversarial relations persists between key contributors.

Process: Attended the first six joint planning sessions with just the two managers for real-time observation, coaching and mediation. This allowed the project to start moving forward immediately rather than after a mediation phase. Also met individually with both managers to better understand the conditions behind their non-cooperative views.

Outcome: In the end, the two developed a solid working relationship and the project was completed on schedule.

Executive mentoring

Positive Edge Academia to real worldChallenge: Up and coming, freshly minted MBA being prepped for real-world business with real-world problems.

As an MBA, you typically enter the workforce prepared to analyze, interpret and solve a wide variety of big issues. Unfortunately, that big-picture approach sometimes falls short when presented the chaotic real-world of multiple changing priorities between projects of varying sized and evolving scopes. The popular phrase “you can only have on number 1 priority” may be true from an idealist perspective, but rarely holds up under reality. Large, well resourced companies often have a slate of senior employees that can be assigned to newcomers to bridge the gap between academia and the live business world. Smaller organizations, such as in this case generally do not.

Process: Engaged for 12 months of one on one direct mentoring with an additional six months as a “sounding board.”

Outcome: The subject was shortly seen as qualified enough and promoted to VP level department head.

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In addition to business consulting services, Duane is available for speaking on a variety of electronics, manufacturing and B2B marketing topics as a keynote, panel moderator or technical session subject matter expert. Duane is also a widely published writer. Find articles from Duane on the portfolio page here.

You can find Duane Benson on LinkedIn at and Twitter at