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Fast-Forward Business Coaching & CFO Services (314) 328-1250


Fast Forward Business Coaching has been merged into VITAL Management. The contents of this website remain relevant, and you can still contact Fast Forward via the e-mail and phone number on this site. But services will be delivered via VITAL Management, an exciting collaboration between Steve Firszt and Paul Starkey.

VITAL Mgmt services include the Bi4Ci automated, in-the-cloud dashboard service; one-on-one coaching with fractional CFO services, and; full membership (for qualifying companies) in our Bravas Group Cooperative. For details and pricing of our CI management services, visit the Bi4Ci website.

Vol 12 No 217

August 18, 2017


The FINAL Issue

EDITORS NOTE: ACCELERATE was last published in October 2015 - almost two year ago! High time we officially laid it to rest.

It's old news by now, but in case you aren't aware, Fast Forward is not my main gig anymore. Since late 2013 most of my work with integration companies has been as part of VITAL Mgmt. Along with my partner, Paul Starkey, our focus is Business Intelligence for Custom Integrators. Our goal is to use that intelligence, and coaching, to help CI owners maximize the value of their enterprise.

Each week VITAL emails the Tuesday Morning Coffee. About half the length of the average this newsletter, the Coffee is a quick read about the business of custom installation. We share tips and strategies and observations, while occasionally plugging our multiple service offerings.

Now, I won't go into the service offerings today - you can read about those at our new website, But I'll mention that our services are tailored for integrators of every stripe, from under $1 million annual revenues, to over $10M.

Meanwhile, I wanted to do two things with this, the farewell issue of ACCELERATE from Fast Forward...

1)    Encourage you to sign up for the free Coffee at, and;

2)    Share with you my biggest takeaways from coaching integrators since the first ACCELERATE was emailed in early 2005

Biggest Takeaway #1

With each passing year this becomes more and more apparent. To be a successful integrator you need to be able to sell and install, of course. But financial success requires somebody to manage daily administration and reporting in your accounting software (usually QuickBooks). Find somebody really capable who knows QB and get them trained on the best way for integrators to use QB. A good Admin is worth as much as your best technician.

Biggest Takeaway #2

Labor productivity is the key to operational success. When your techs are out there installing and billing jobs, you're making money. When they're not, you're losing money. Do everything you can with your company's process and logistics to minimize techs' non-project time, and make sure your techs are skilled enough to do the job correctly within the time allocated for the project. Sidenote: most integrators do not charge enough for labor.

Biggest Takeaway #3

CI is not the same as a contracting business. Nor is it the same as a retail business. It is a far more lucrative and wealth-creating hybrid that, unfortunately, has not received the best business training from its trade organizations. If there were a standard, documented way for CI managers to run their business we would all be better for learning it, in the first place, and following it. Instead, every CI has his/her own way. Our potential, as an industry, is yet unrealized.

*  *  *  *  *

Interestingly, I started Fast Forward with a goal to help integrators learn the best way to run an integration business. That "way" has improved immensely over the years, and is still being made better by the collective intelligence of the hundreds of companies that I/we have worked with since late 2004.

If yours is one of those companies, thank you. If yours is not, I promise that we are better than ever at helping integrators.

In either case, thanks for having been a subscriber and I hope you catch up with me at


May you Grow & Prosper! 

Steve Firszt, Head Coach
Fast-Forward Business Coaching
For 20 years, Steve Firszt was partner & CEO of an electronics retailer that grew to 4 stores and over $10M in annual sales. Since 2004, he has been working with the owners of electronics integration companies, distributors, & retailers. His coaching system helps business owners organize for growth, manage for profit, and plan for prosperity. E-mail

“I learned an awful lot during this session… this was a huge success for me.” – Ian in VA

Firszt Friday Webinar

Project Management Using QuickBooks -

the TLM Way

Fast-Forward's TLM System defines financial objectives that can be used to evaluate any project. Equally important, the TLM process for tracking projects in QuickBooks is the most illuminating, most efficient way for integration companies to use their bookkeeping software. 55-minute webinar will show you how the TLM process is helping companies like yours improve customer service, efficiency, and profitability. Webinar recording now available.  

Click here to request free download