At a recent, fun-filled, weekend-long party I met a business owner from Atlanta. This gentleman was building a novel business related to college sports. As a University of Georgia alum, well connected in the sports community, and living in the middle of the somewhat enthusiastic (aka rabid) Southeastern Conference (SEC), the idea he described immediately struck me as a winner, potentially a big winner.
Why did I think that? First, as a lifelong sports fan I know “sports” and the SEC are borderline redundant (meaning a ready market to sell into). Second, it was easy to see multiple benefits for customers. Third, he described a very thoughtful and deliberate way he was building the business. Fourth, he was (and still is, two weeks later) intelligent, credible, and likeable.
What concerned me? The foundational activity from which products would emerge would be incredibly labor-intensive, thus potentially inhibiting his ability to scale. I explained how I thought this would be the difference between a very-nice-but-relatively-modest business and a truly scalable and extendable offering.
I highlighted how important technology and process would be to the success of the business. If he could solve how to make that core activity more efficient, he’d dramatically improve margins thanks to decreased labor costs, and increase business value through unique and leverageable intellectual property. And he’d make it much harder for any potential competitor to ever pose a threat.
I truly love these types of conversations. The fun for me is in hearing others’ passion and ideas, and then providing a unique perspective that often results in “ah-ha!” moments for others.
If you’re a business owner who frequently feels alone at the top, overwhelmed, and stuck working too far in the business, you owe it to yourself and your team to find that counterpart, whether full time or contract. As the saying goes, none of us is as smart as all of us (exception: Congress), and creating a multi-dimensional view of the business is likely to pay significant dividends.
How ’bout them Dawgs?