I was talking with some members of management today. Thought the concepts might be relevant to all of you so I will cover them briefly.
Efficient versus Effective
We were discussing how certain business units in the company were absolutely taking off. Some are growing at well over 100% annually and making a huge contribution to top and bottom line growth. Seeing a business unit move from $20M to $50M in one year is exciting.
A debate arose around whether we should centralize certain functions of the various fast growth business units so we could save on cost and not duplicate efforts. I mean, we will be over $400M this year and we duplicate efforts all over the place. Almost anyone with an operations background could see the sense in centralizing and creating more efficiency.
It is my humble opinion that this is one of the worst moves you can make. Small teams with A Players can accomplish an amazing amount of success. If they have proven they are an effective unit that understands how to quickly scale and maintain margins the LAST thing you want to do is introduce bottlenecks. Let me repeat, THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO TO A TEAM THAT HAS FOUND MOMENTUM/RAPID GROWTH IS INTRODUCE BOTTLENECKS. Centralizing and adding processes too early slows them down. It will make executing a pivot more difficult. Keep them small and nimble as long as you can. Overspend on great leaders and don’t worry about the small stuff. If a duplicate $200K in payroll allows them to grow an extra $8-$15M in sales are you really going to cry about that? When the growth numbers slow to under 30% we can start looking at ways to be efficient. Till then, lets take share and kick ass. Would you rather have super effective business growing rapidly or super efficient business units squeezing every dollar and overanalyzing every resource? Choice is simple for me. Let’s take share and cripple the competition. Rapid growth is so hard to come by the last thing you want to do is slow it down.
History Versus Future
I was working with someone on the company pitch today. They spent the first 10 minutes talking about the history of the company.
Tell me this, if I have two things to talk you about and a limited amount of time (read attention span) do you want to hear the exciting things I can do that no one else in the market has figure out yet…or do you want to hear how smart we were over the last 10 years to get to this point? Do you want history or future? Not sure? Which will be more applicable to your intended audience? Answer these questions: What is your client trying to become both individually and as an organization? What is your company trying to become? Do those things match up? If you sit and talk history all day, you will never get there. Trace3 is 11 years old and in technology. What we did in 2002 truly does not matter much anymore. We are here and we have a VERY clear direction and value play moving forward. Talk about history over dinner and a drink when you are at a briefing…
Get excited about what we are becoming and convey that excitement before the client’s 5 minute attention span expires.
The fighter still remains.