I recently read a great article in The New Yorker about declinism, the idea that things are getting worse and are about to get even more so and we are all going down the drain. It pointed out that the ability for this pattern of thinking to continue is completely dependent on the last person who felt this way being wrong. People have been shouting “the end is near” almost since the beginning, but they have always been wrong. This time will be no different. Life goes on.
Here’s my proof. I recently reviewed Surrender’s client list and discovered that every group we work with has either expanded their business or is planning to: into new territories, locations, products lines, and concepts. Not what you would expect after (or during) the Great Recession. In just the past month, two of our clients have opened new restaurants. One invested even more than they have in the past to open one of their stores, expecting higher-than-average unit volume in return. Three others are looking for new sites. One is developing a brand-new concept. One of our B-to-B clients is crushing sales in a market where they have reinvigorated their focus.
Does that sound like a decline to you?
Over our 20-year history, many of our clients have had the desire to grow before they have had the plans to do so. Their ability to operate on a larger scale and harvest all their potential profits was not in place. We worked with one restaurant group that had expanded to four units and felt they were stuck. But, by working with Surrender to put the pieces together for growth, re-aligning and developing their management team, and bolstering their ability to attract outside capital, they are now at 10 units.
What can you do to move your business forward safely and successfully, prepare for growth and go from where you are now to make the impossible happen?
1. Define options for growth.
2. If you feel now is not the time to grow, look around and identify a competitor who is growing. What do they know that you don’t?
3. Identify areas of your organization that require an upgrade — products, process, people, or capital — before you are ready to take advantage of opportunities.
4. For each of those areas you identify, commit to an initiative, time line, and result. If you do not have the resources in house to do so, resolve to reach outside of your organization to get there.
When you figure out how you can grow, email me and let me know what you have learned. If you are stuck and cannot get started, or feel “now is not the time,” email me right away and I will assist you.
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