Remember the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner? He heard a voice in his corn field in Iowa saying “Build it, and he will come”. So Costner built a baseball field. The other voices he hears in the movie say “Ease his pain” and “Go the distance”. To get the full story google “Field of Dreams”. For me, the movie is metaphor for what you must do in your business to grow it:
Build it and they will come – invest in growing your capacity before you drive your sales.
Ease the pain – stop trying to do all the work and focus on the activities that you are passionate about, delegate.
Go the distance – be resilient and believe in your strategy, hold your nerve.
The first step is to build it. It is not by chance that the firm’s that invest in capacity and process first, achieve significantly improved profitability. The behavioural impact of increasing capacity is to then go and find the work. By investing in additional capacity, you then tell yourself, well I must now go out and find the extra work to feed the extra capacity. So your behaviour naturally changes. We are going to be hungry, so I must go out and hunt. The firms that don’t invest in additional capacity take the view that when they find the extra work they’ll look to find the extra manpower. But they rarely do, because the work they are currently doing keeps them chained to their desks doing the work, not out their finding new opportunities. They stay hungry, because they aren’t hunting, just consuming the scraps that feed their current tribe. Sounds a bit primitive, but I hope you get the point.
The difference between success and failure of any strategy is in its action plan and implementation. There is no magic solution to growth, just tried and tested common sense. The most common excuse, yes excuse not reason, why businesses don’t increase capacity is becasue they say they can’t afford it. I say you can’t afford not to. If you need to employ a new lawyer or engineer, I bet you look at this as a total annual cost. “A new lawyer will cost me $100,000”. All people do is focus on the cost. The fact is that to grow revenue you need to have capacity to do the work. All of that revenue doesn’t come on the last day of the year, the additional revenue happens during the year. If there are 220 work days in a year, then the average cost per work day is $455 per day. That’s $455 of additional revenue that you need to generate each day to break even. At a charge rate of $300 per hour, that’s only an additional 1.52 hours work per day to break even. Surely it isn’t a stretch to find that. 2 extra hours per day and you’re making a priofit of $145 per day, or $31,900 per annum. 4 extra hours per day and it’s additional profit of $163,900 profit. Hey, if it doesn’t work, you can always unwind it, it’s not going to cost your $100,000. There’s loads of opportunities out there, you just need to go find it. Start with your existing clients first.
“Build it, and he will come.”