The Ten Million Dollar Trick
I recently read an article that prompted me to look at a few things differently than ever before. The article was broad in scope and didn't offer any answers, but it posed a question that truly made me think. After going through this process in my head, I determined the exercise could use a little fine-tuning. I will explain the exercise, but I would like to establish a few parameters before you proceed.
The article posed the question, what would you do if you were given ten million dollars? Here are the parameters. The ten million dollars you receive can only be used to improve your business. You cannot quit your job or retire. You may only make improvements within the current scope of your business. In other words, you may not add 100 sales people if you don't already have a large sales force. You may add a sales force that is proportionate with your existing business. It may be worth writing down your thoughts while performing this exercise.
This process pointed out areas of our business that could use some extra attention. Although these areas were not being ignored, it was clear that they could use additional consideration. Here are a few ideas to stimulate your thought process.
Would you spend more on advertising?
Is new equipment in your future?
Maybe a little time off (since you can afford the extra help)?
How about a remodel?
A few more salespeople?
Explore new markets?
Expand product line?
More targeted marketing?
More community involvement?
These should get you started.
Oddly, we found this exercise difficult. We built our business with certain things in mind, and have done a pretty good job of meeting most of our initial goals. Of course, the money could certainly be used to make many improvements, and since we are human, a few mistakes as well.
The exercise highlighted business processes that need the most scrutiny. You don't learn near as much about a problem when you simply throw money at it. We knew we were not going to receive ten million dollars, so as we evaluated our business we had a more realistic point of view.
The exercise helped us determine which areas of our business we should focus on, and other areas where we could make improvements. Of course, we won't be able to throw ten million dollars at the issues, but we can certainly take a more measured approach to help our business progress.
The process was difficult at times because we often defaulted to a more realistic way of thinking. Typically businesses are not built on the promise of a ten million dollar windfall. This exercise allowed us to review our business without the natural limitations of restricted finances.
Once we understand a problem we can take steps to develop better practices and cultivate processes that will allow our business to grow. Every enhancement, no matter how minor, can help propel us to prosperity.