Dear Aunty B,
We are a mid-level business that doubled in size last year and we are drowning in chaos.
We have faced a major product recall recently and the seesawing dollar is causing havoc with our finances and cash flows. It seems like a good problem to have, but I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. I slept better when we had no money and I slept in the bottom of a cupboard at a mate’s place.
My question is what do I do? I could hire a GM to set up some systems and a finance director to put in controls and do more risk assessment stuff, but what if that takes too long?
A consultancy firm that would give me advice I could then implement has also approached me. I used them once before and they were great. But is there a faster or better way to attack this?
Sleepless and desperate,
Hmmm. It all depends on you really. Have a cold shower, sit in a quiet space and ask yourself this: Do you think you should remain as CEO?
Do you have the capacity to take the business to the next level? Could you appoint a CEO and become chairman? Or carve off a part of the business to run and let a professional CEO go the next step? And, more importantly, do you want to run a business that may be triple the size in a few years time?
As I suspected… Of course, you are the only person to take it to the next level and I can bugger off. So, ok, if you believe in yourself – and why shouldn’t you – then I think the quickest solution could be to bring in help. You already believe that consultancy firm helped you last time. But, this time, give them different riding instructions.
Work with them on a three-year plan. Decide where you want to be and work backwards. Focus on the structure of the business and the strategy you need to get you there. Work out the structure of the leadership team and I wouldn’t be surprised if you immediately didn’t begin to press go on some of them now.
Yes, there is a short term hit to your finances bringing in big wigs from outside, and there are lots of risks inherent in that. But it is the only way to handle fast growth.
And stop writing to me at 3am. Go and learn meditation or book into a sleep school. And rule number one is never write to Aunty B in the middle of the night.
Your Aunty B