The Chicken-and-Egg of Growth

by | October 4, 2016

In last month’s blog and FOCUS event, we discussed the strategy and foundation needed to expand your business in not only a “smart” way, but in a way that leverages what you do best.  Knowing your “secret sauce” and building a plan to bring on the people and resources to build upon it is core to your expansion success.  Once that plan is in place, you must execute well.

A question that comes to mind for me is, “What is required for excellent execution?” and in my experience, the answer is “focus”.  Everything in the firm must be focused on the end goal.  The plan must be clear to the entire team – this means that key steps and milestones must be outlined and the team must be held accountable for success.  And “success” must be defined, too.  It already sounds like a lot of work!

We then find ourselves in the “chicken and egg” problem.  To achieve excellent execution, you not only need “focus” but also resources.  To achieve success, the company usually requires additional resources – both financial and people resources.  Yet often at this stage, the company doesn’t have the financial resources to buy the people or infrastructure resources and it needs the people or infrastructure resources to get the financial resources.  What’s a business owner to do?

Typically, the default answer is that the business owner works 90 hours per week to move things forward.  The challenge with this approach is that the business owner doesn’t always have all the skills necessary to execute on the strategic plan.  The business owner is the visionary and understands what needs to happen, but often can’t do it alone.  At least, this has been my experience.

The solution I’ve found to the “chicken-and-egg” problem is to engage with one or more advisors or coaches who have experience in this area to help me along.  This may be a business coach, CFO, General Counsel, key industry advisors, or a mix of them all. Although this approach does not help get the work out the door, it helps you stay aligned with the strategic foundation you’ve put in place so that you are consistently making decisions in line with your plan.  When you can maintain this alignment, you can make smart decisions that will apply the limited resources you have in the right way, moving toward the “success” metrics.  Over time, your organization will expand in a strategic way and you’ll have a framework for doing it over and over again.