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Edition 352 – Tortoise vs. Hare

Sometimes in business, opportunities present themselves that make you stop and think. Not just ordinary opportunities. Big ones. Opportunities that could substantially lift the revenue in your business and in the process, change the face of it. Opportunities that could take your business to a level that you’d only ever dreamed of up until this point in your career.

It’s at this moment you should push the romance to the side and ask yourself, what’s the impact on me, my business and my employees of taking on this opportunity?

You see, I’ve worked with plenty of businesses over the past 30 years and every single one of them that is presented with the “big gig” has tended to go down one of three roads:

  1. Business collapse.
  2. Financial stress that contracts the business significantly.
  3. Relationship damage

In the same way a sports star can’t, overnight, go from “better than average” to “once in a generation”, the same applies to businesses. Seismic shifts in the work you are doing in your business will always create damage.

I can almost hear the chorus of naysayers out there, telling me that I’m quashing ambition and entrepreneurialism. However, based on what I’ve seen work and not work over three decades, this is why the philosophy of the tortoise should always out rate that of the hare in your family business:

  1. Rapid growth drains cash fast – and when cash is the blood flow for a business, turning off the cash means you turn off the beating heart of the business.
  2. Your existing management capacity will be inadequate to manage the sudden influx of work – because you’re trying to turn a Toyota Hilux into a Lamborghini Huracan in an instant.
  3. Your people will be unable to cope. If you push them harder, the longer hours will have them walking away. Similarly, quality will invariably suffer.
  4. Your location will most likely be unable to cope with the substantial lift in business, meaning additional facilities will need to be sought out, at additional cost, to accommodate the growth. The setup time and cost of this alone is always understated.

Planned, staged growth in a small or family business is the only way to ensure that:

  1. Growth is locked in.
  2. Profit retained.
  3. Equity built.
  4. The business remains sustainable.

If you ever feel lured by the glitter of the big gig, first and foremost, speak to those people you know will challenge your thought process. It might save you a whole lot more than you’d otherwise imagine.

This Week’s Tip

“Business is a marathon, not a sprint..”