About 15 years ago, someone once told me, “A strategy isn’t just what you decide to do, it’s what you decide not to do.” And a couple of years ago, serial entrepreneur Steve Messer added something to the effect of “As an entrepreneur, you need to balance unlimited opportunity with finite resources.” I don’t know about you, but the entrepreneur in me really wants to do 100 things at one time (surprising once you find out I started my career as a CPA) which I do know is a recipe for disaster and a sure-fire way to piss off your team. Of course, the challenge is picking those opportunities that are “right” for you and your company.
I recently came across a great article from CFO Magazine on growth, “How Not to Grow.” Here were my top takeaways and ideas from the piece:
- The article cited Steve Jobs’ statement that if Apple had pursued the idea of a tablet (as a follow up to the Newton) too early in the late ‘90s, the company would not have had the resources to build the iPod. So even Apple has to worry about resources? I guess I need to, too. Also, timing is everything. Ten years ago, the world was ready for the iPod, not the iPad.
- Coinstar has had success with its DVD rental company Redbox, but they are already planning for the day when Redbox growth slows due to movies being even more widely available at the home. This told me that you have to always be evaluating the prospects of your products and services down the road and adjusting accordingly.
- The average success rate of a new product or service is under 50 percent. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I highly recommend that you read the original article. Like a lot of content that is created for bigger companies, you have to figure out what it means for you, but it is a great read.
Robert Levin is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The New York Enterprise Report. Levin has extensive experience with midsize and small businesses, having previously held CEO, CFO, and COO positions with companies in several industries. He is also a contributor for The Huffington Post. Levin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (212) 307-6760.