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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Growth mode

Its exhilarating, exciting, and plain simple fun when a business turns around. After reaching a low point near the start of this blog last year, we are getting very busy. I'm continuing to hold the fort as interim editor as our sales team finds new business and the administrative staff (of one full time employee and a couple of part timers) handles increasing volume. We are now dusting off our business plan and preparing for a major planning meeting June 5.

The paradox of this growth is that, looking to the decline and resurgence, I can only see one cause -- people. Last year, former employees lost the spark and enthusiasm; they bickered, complained, and failed to do more than the minimum (and sometimes less than the minimum). I thought the problems might be market related, or caused by changes in client expectations, but now (with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight) I see these elements really don't explain the decline. We are recovering because we've regained the passion for the business.

What lies ahead? We will clarify our plans in early June, and I have learned that it is important to have the employees take a major part in setting the vision -- clearly, I have ideas, insights, and lots of experience, but the business will be defined by the employees. We'll add new publications (and restore old ones), improve our Internet capacities, and enhance our client services.

If you are having business problems, it may not be because of lack of clients, or market, or failure of clients to pay you properly. The problem may be right at home, with the people working with and for you. And, if that is the case, you have difficult and challenging decisions to make, but if you fail to do what you need to do, you will just drag on the pain and failure.

There is light at the end of the tunnel if you keep a realistic view of things. And it is really fun to come out in the bright light of the day with growth and enthusiasm after a couple of hard years struggle.

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