As entrepreneurs and CEO's, we spend most of our time and effort caught in the grind of running our operations. Human resources issues, customers, and just stuff take up most our awake hours. We often crawl into bed for a few hours at night, too fried to think.
I want to suggest a simple and powerful exercise that can pull you out of today, and make you think about tomorrow.
Sit down with a cup of coffee and two pieces of paper. On the one piece of paper write down what top line and bottom line revenue companies you think you will achieve in three years if you stay on track and keep doing everything that you are doing today.
Now take the other piece of paper and write down the top and bottom line numbers three years from now if all your wildest dreams were met.
Take a step and look at both numbers and ask yourself what is holding you back from reaching your growth goals.
Some possible answers might be:
- You don't have a solid enough management team to allow you to grow. Micromanagement is limiting your growth.
- You need to strengthen your processes and systems so you can grow.
- Perhaps your growth is driven by an acquisition plan--that is not in place.
- You might need help in ramping up your sales team and infrastructure.
- Working capital could be limiting your growth.
Hopefully, you have an answer on what you believe is the primary issue that is holding you back from growing. Once this is clear, it's time to think about how to pay for the investment.
Sometimes, cash flow is strong, and there is plenty of money to invest in growth from operations. Other times you need to finance the investment either through debt or equity.
How much money do you need to reach your goals? If you feel comfortable that you can make interest and principle payments over a period of several years, debt is a good option. If there is no cash flow to support the payments, equity should be considered.
Take the time to step back from the daily grind, and think about what's holding you back from growing your business. The answer might just be on two blank pieces of paper.