Beware the Sirens Song
By Russ Holdstein
Keeping your eye on the goal, and doing what you do best, is a sure way to grow your business, internet or otherwise.
A Reader Writes: My partner and I began building surfboards three years ago. In the past summer our production has become almost overwhelming and we have hired two employees. Now we are being pressed by customers, industry reps, and our retail shops to come out with a clothing line. Our problem is lack of capital. Can you help?
I’d be cautious about jumping into a new business just as your existing one is beginning to boom. You know surfboards, but clothing is a completely different business. Fact is, you’re on the brink of making a classic mistake far too many entrepreneurs make. When I was running my business one of the smartest things I ever did was to ignore the Siren song of my customers. Customers who liked our payroll service continually asked us to provide additional accounting and data processing services. I just said no. I’m convinced that decision was one of the smartest things I ever did. It enabled me to keep my people focused on what we did best so that we were able to make the most of our market opportunity. We kept our energy directed at perfecting what we did best and we sold the hell out of it. If you and your partner start spending time learning a new business, who will keep the existing one cranking? If you can make as much (probably more) money by investing your time growing your surfboard business why would you want to enter a new business that you have to learn from scratch (and that has the potential to drag down your existing business)? You can already see that you’re getting distracted from you core business simply by trying to line up financing! What would happen if you actually got into production? I would give you different advice if you told me you’ve been in the surfboard business for 10 years and your sales had plateaued. But you are a young company with a ton of market potential. Take it from someone who’s been there, not only with my own company but with several others as well, keep your eye on the ball, focus on what you do best and don’t get distracted. The payoff will be more growth, more profits and fewer problems. What more could you ask from your business! © 2008 Russell S. Holdstein All rights reserved.