Let’s face it. Every small- and medium-sized business faces challenges and meets that proverbial fork in the road at some point in its evolution. Often, growth brings a perpetual series of forks with tough decisions and inherent sacrifices no matter which path you choose.
It is what you do at these critical times that will determine if your business will grow to be a success and achieve your vision. If you are an entrepreneur, you know how rare it is that a growing business will follow the initial plan as drawn up – no battle plan survives the first contact. That is why it is important when you reach these forks that you step back and objectively evaluate the business, operations, personal, capital requirements, and future outlook to see if the original business plan still holds or if a strategic pivot or some other adjustment is needed. Companies do not grow in a straight upward line – there are ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and no company ever succeeded without a few challenges along the way. Companies that can maintain an organic nature that allows them to pivot and adapt quickly have the best chance at survival in an ever changing environment.
Often in order to make the best decision and mitigate as many risks as possible a detailed assessment or diagnostic should be performed. These can be done internally at the management or board level or by an independent third party who has experience building and running successful businesses and can bring an outside perspective. What is most important is that this review is truly objective and provides valuable insight on all the possible paths forward.
There is no denying that starting, building, and running a successful business takes infinite amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. You will inevitably make mistakes as all companies do. What is most important is learning from those mistakes to ensure your company is stronger and knowing how to identify forks in the road when they appear. Mistakes and failed plans have a negative stigma but the truth is, assuming you survive, it should be considered a badge of honor.
Company creation, growth and success is a constant series of forks and often times an objective operational assessment will help guide your company down the long, winding, and often problematic road to business success – don’t blindly go forward, step back and gain a full perspective.