I was sitting in Tim Horton’s having my favourite bowl of chili with Larry, the restaurant owner, when an entrepreneur starting chatting with us. The guy noticed that Larry was wearing his Tim Horton’s dress shirt and asked Larry about his business. Larry mentioned that I helped him to grow his business. That got the entrepreneur talking even more.
The friendly entrepreneur was on a road trip to look at another business to buy as he had a few located in different places.
He said the he expected a return of 10% to 15% on his investment. I asked him how he knew it shouldn’t be 20% or 30%. He didn’t have an answer. You see, there are no speed limit signs when it comes to business growth.
Our car’s engine delivers optimal power and acceleration within a range of its revolutions per minute (RPMs). Your business is the same. You can grow it at different rates, slower or faster, and you will burn more fuel (that is, money) the faster you grow. The key is to find a growth rate where profit grows as fast or faster than revenues so that you are actually strengthening your company as you grow. Growing slowly can preserve cash just like driving slowly will preserve fuel but it won’t help if your competitors are passing you.
Many people don’t rev their engines high enough and carbon builds up. I had a car expert tell me that certain owners who didn’t drive their performance cars often enough or hard enough had more problems because the internal workings never got a chance to set under the heat of high performance.
Philosophically, there’s a huge difference between cruising and accelerating (within the speed limit of course, metaphorically speaking). You need to take chances and accelerate. For one thing, it will teach you what you and your business are capable of doing. Mistakes are uncomfortable and they hurt, but they are valuable lessons and your ego will repair itself quickly.
Make sure you are revving your engine once in a while.
It’s about continual growth, personally and professionally. Failure isn’t a bad thing as long as you learn, pick yourself up, and try again. Not trying, however, can be fatal to a business.
For more information on how to assess your growth potential, click here and take the test.
I’m not sure when you last took professional driving lessons, if ever, so I heartily recommend any of the performance driving schools that are put on by the major manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes. Not only will you learn some valuable skills (that may someday save your life), you will have fun and realize that it’s all about keeping the car under control at various speeds.
On the other hand: “If everything is under control, you’re not going fast enough” according to Mario Andretti.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved. Phil Symchych