Beyond the Build


Growth Presents New Challenges

The purpose of any businesses is to grow. The last few years have been tough in this department, but remember how it was in the good ole days of last decade?  We saw speed, revenue, market share and profit. Most business owners are wired with a desire to get “back to the future.”  Not so fast.

For the firms who have survived the Recession, to me, saying “hello” to the next cycle of expansion presents just as many challenges–maybe even more as we  begin to spread our wings again.

It sounds easy, but as I told someone this week, nothing is easy these days. We are seeing tons of opportunities emerging. Hopefully, because of the hard lessons learned, we are running more smoothly and getting better results.

As this new period of growth surfaces, a few thoughts come to mind:

Don’t Outrun Your Current Infrastructure. Having good ideas and service opportunities does not necessarily mean you have the right practitioners in the trenches. You can call the plays, but is the team in shape to execute? There is no sense throwing the ball if  no one is there to catch it.

Learn the New Rules. There was the way before and there’s the way now. People and companies that were successful before may have changed during the downturn. Companies that were “best in class” are being outclassed. There is new set of rules and playing field. Listen to different sources, then form your own opinion for the right trail.

Connect the Dots. More than ever, being successful means we all need to be thinking about federations. Connect the dots with connectors. Build loose groups of facilitators, help each other and act as flankers.

Pack Up Your Crystal Ball. With the exception of a few rare instances where it looks like businesses can see the future, none of us can. We can guess. Sometimes we are correct and other times we’re not. While the market changes, collecting data and being obsessed with a plan may not get it. Years ago, b-schools taught us 5 and 10 year business plans were a must for success. No longer. It’s speed and mid-course corrections. Gather as many facts as you can, then have the courage to execute.



Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.