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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Business planning, growth, and patience

We're preparing for our second annual full-day business planning session with Caswell Corporate Coaching Company. My sense is this is the last time we will 'need' them before we can do this stuff on our own (though when we are successful, the cost of having the consultants along as independent third-party guides may be justified). Without prejudging the results of the planning session, I'm now sifting through the possibilities and potential of the business and the trade offs between restraining growth and pushing forward at the earliest opportunity.

"Restraint" suggests that debt be minimized, systems clearly established, and consistent and stable profitability be achieved before we add any new markets or restore the markets that we closed. "Pushing forward" suggests that with experience and a good sense of the business foundations, we risk more by sitting on our current structure as soon as we see that the road is clear to grow.

In a practical sense, restraint is likely to be boring for me. I am 'used' to running and overseeing a much larger business. If my ability to respond to circumstances is nimble enough, and the team around me are capable of aggressive growth, why not move forward. But the slower pace may simply be much wiser -- restoring a healthy balance sheet and tightening up current processes will lay a much better and more solid foundation for planned (yet rationally assertive) growth when the time comes.

Right now, I know where my thoughts are heading and of course I must make the final decision. But I will wait until after the planning session on June 5 to decide. In the meantime, it is both rewarding and challenging to think ahead and see, more clearly, where we may be heading.

1 comment:

Tim Norton said...

Best of luck with this, I'm always one to go for the hi-growth path too, but it sounds like this time it might be slowly but surely for you.