One of the biggest challenges facing any small business that has become part of a larger organization is making the numbers month in and month out. The level of discipline required to do that is not typically something that a small, privately held company has been forced to develop. Yet, in some cases, a company is accorded a high degree of operational freedom if it can deliver consistent revenue and profit growth.
To put your business in the position to deliver, first, don’t sell unless your business is growing. Second, don’t sell until you’ve learned to build an accurate forecast and deliver on it. And third, although you had to be an optimist to be a successful entrepreneur, be ruthlessly pragmatic when building your annual budget. Strive to underpromise and overdeliver.
Let’s be realistic. Becoming part of a larger, publicly traded company means exchanging one set of pressures for another. You’ll never again face mortgaging your house to make payroll in a downturn. You will, however, be challenged to figure out how to make the strategic investments necessary to grow your business, while continuing to deliver top- and bottom-line growth.
Sherri Leopard Owner/Founder Leopard Broomfield, Colo.