I received the dreaded call on the eighth hole of the golf course. My financial officer said, “Umm … I’m not sure how we’re going to make payroll this period.” Needless to say, this alarming news put a damper on my game.
After 15 years of explosive business growth, it turns out I wasn’t paying enough attention to my company’s finances. I simply let others handle them. That conversation was a wake-up call to assess the state of my business. Along with others in the printing industry, I had sensed the general business was declining and that the warning signs were too loud to ignore. It was time for me to stop “talking the talk” and finally “walk the walk.” Diversification was in order.
After considering what was best for my company long-term, I decided to enter the world of marketing. We made a bold move to integrate our team with a web development firm. We took the necessary steps to carefully merge our competencies, but it wasn’t without its obstacles. On the outset, we faced a huge challenge with our staff. Many were resistant to the new policies and procedures— we had to redo everything. Thankfully, the Rockefeller Habits helped us come together. Another challenge was how to fund the new company. We needed to pay our 24 employees, migrate phones, set up servers, etc. I was forced to take money out of our personal funds because we weren’t prepared. If I had to do it all over again, I’d make sure we had a tighter relationship with a bank.
The merge was ultimately successful, and I came away with some key lessons learned that helped me take my new business to another level:
- Think and plan ahead. Pay attention to industry trends and plan for the future. Your industry may not always be on top of the world, so it’s important to think through ideas and develop a strategy to navigate those waters.
- Focus on partnerships. Consider developing strategic partnerships that can advance your company. Also, choose to work with colleagues whom you admire for their work, creativity and management skills.
- Have patience. When things get difficult, we want change to happen immediately. It's important to recognize that mergers are a process. In the end, that phone call changed the direction of my company. I guess it's true what they say–– adapt or die!
David Vener is the CEO of Burst Marketing and its divisions, Impress and Intellisites. Fun fact: As an avid golfer, David’s claim to fame is winning an NFL charity golf tournament.