I heard a terrific quote the other day, but I cannot remember who said it, or where I saw it. It's a pity because I'd really like to give them credit, but the saying basically went like this:
“Growth for the sake of growth is the same goal of a cancer cell.”
Powerful stuff. This idiom can be applied over many different situations and over many different perspectives, but let's shift the focus onto business. Or better yet, business growth. In a typical mindset, an owner wants to expand their business. You know, more equipment, more customers, more assets, more more more! And it's good to be motivated! Don't get me wrong. But sometimes, that motivation can be toxic, and maybe not for the reasons you'd suspect.
Businesses that are not turning over a profit typically look at this solution first- more sales. More income is great! It helps you run the business more efficiently, give bonuses, treat your employees right, and let's not forget about building you that nest egg. But some businesses don't have difficulty with finding work. Yet they still push for the gain of more customers, more cashflow. And often, they will keep on expanding until they reach a point where they might have to close down. Wait…what?
Why would that happen? A business with a lot of customers, literally flush with work, is going out of business? Oh yeah. It's easier than you think, and it's because no-one thought to look at all the other problems. Every business has problems- Budget is no exception. But when business owners, CEOs, Presidents, you name it, get flustered over money, more often than not? That's all they focus on. Other problems get overlooked.
Is your pricing right? Is your overhead realistic? Do you have to put any customers to collection? Are employees too slow on the job? Are customers being treated well? How's the quality of our work? These are just a handful of the questions that sometimes never get asked simply because a business was focused too much on the wrong thing.
See what I mean by meaningful business growth? It doesn't always mean a new client, a fat check from a recent job, or even a bigger office. Business growth is a process, because a business grows in parts. If one part gets too big, the whole operation suffers, and if you aren't looking at the problem, well. I don't think I need to go on.
Make sure you know what's wrong in your business. What's right! Have a finger on your business' heartbeat because until you ask the questions and do the digging? You're just guessing.