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Start with WHY – another take!

You may be familiar with Simon Sinek’s TED talk and book. Here’s another WHY angle.

A client of mine who is the founder of a small manufacturing company. When I met him, it was himself, his wife, and an assistant in their small workshop, struggling with cash-flow issues.

They said they wanted to grow the business so they could eventually have a better life/work balance. We set up a plan to do just that by increasing capacity and sales, and it was extremely successful - within 12 months sales jumped through the roof, they had 3 more employees, cash-flow issues were a distant memory and they were working harder than ever to keep up with demand, something we had talked about before starting to execute the plan, and they had thought they were happy to do for a while.

Reality, though, was different. The bigger business meant the client was doing less and less what he loved – making things - and spending most of his time managing a bigger team to deliver multiple orders on schedule while maintaining quality, dealing with customer service, Health & Safety issues, etc. On top of it, space was becoming an issue, and they needed to find a bigger one, something that would have reintroduce pressure on their cash-flow.

All this had its toll and the client had a nervous breakdown.

When he got better, we sat down again and talked about what they really wanted for themselves and the business, resulting in another plan that was less ambitious, provided lesser financial results but improved their mental health and happiness.

This is, obviously, an extreme example but it taught me a lesson - before even starting a growth plan it is essential to think long and hard what is the ideal outcome, what will you be required to pay for it in terms of your free time, stress levels, and short-term happiness, and make sure you know what is good for you.

This is not necessarily a Yes/No question, as you can choose the level and type of results you want and plan for them, but if you are happy with what you are doing now and understand that a bigger business means bigger responsibilities that may make you unhappy, stop here.

If, however, you are convinced that you want to grow your business, a structured and focused process will enable you to find the right balance for you and achieve the results you want.


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