Growth is a wonderful thing — if managed appropriately. When you have been associated with shrinking businesses, you appreciate the value of growth even more. But how do you do it appropriately? And profitably? Growth inevitably starts with making investments. Your resources are the most precious thing you have and must be carefully considered. Making investments from a business perspective is usually not an individual sport but a team sport with extreme amounts of planning. Team sports are collaborative and require great relationships with your partners in other departments to make sure that the right questions are asked and answered. Make sure that you and your teammates are on the same page regarding the goals of the organization.
My grandfather was a farmer. While I have never had that skillset, I have always liked to use farming analogies when it comes to investing. As a farmer, you must plant, wait and harvest. It is the planning that I described above that allows you to know where to invest. But what happens after you invest? The “waiting” in business is not a passive time but instead is very busy with the measuring of results. Make sure that you are watching the right metrics and it should include a healthy mix of both leading and lagging indicators to determine if the results you are receiving reconcile to the Return on Investment (ROI) that you were expecting. A solid harvest will produce strong cash flow and profits to your bottom line.
While thinking about the bottom line, investing in your employees will also assist profitable growth initiatives. Your people are a valuable resource and providing them leading technology and tools to do their jobs will benefit the company in the decisions that it makes. Over time, those decisions add up to provide an even greater return for the company. Lastly, investing in those same employees helps to build strong communities – and strong communities is something that we can all benefit from. I hope that your investments pay off this year as we speed through 2018!