You’ve probably heard of the age old saying “the right tool for the right job”? It is the basis for the argument that not having the right amount, structure and access to financial tools will ultimately hinder the growth, innovation and financial accomplishment of just about any organization looking to achieve any of the three.
I’m big on examples, so let’s look at a few:
Whether a company is looking to introduce a new product or service, add a location or increase the size of its workforce, financing is the facilitator:
Nucor, a steel production company founded in 1940 face a critical decision on whether or not to invest in a new technology for steel castings. In 1986, Kenneth Iverson, CEO, realized that the technology would provide the company the advantage of being the first adopter and long run cost reductions. But it came at a huge price tag. Nucor pulled the trigger and made the financial invest building a new plant in 1989 that included the new steel casting technology. Since, Nucor is one of the largest makers of steel in the United States this very day!
I’m a fan of expressing the inverse effect of “not” doing something. I believe it to be more powerful and action-provoking if you explore decisions this way. Below is an example of a company that in hindsight, wish they would have taken this approach as it relates to innovation:
In 1980 AT&T hired a consulting firm by the name of McKinsey and Company to provide data on cell phone usage by the turn of the century. The company projected that number to be 900,000 using prediction models and so on... Its easy to guess this was wrong with actual cell phone usage in 2000 over 100 million in 2000 and a billion worldwide. AT&T decided to exit the cell phone business, and as you know many others jumped on the bandwagon, a mistake that cost the company well over $12 billion!
Throughout the history of business there’s an infinite amount of examples of the high cost of not innovating and its resulting demise of the organization.
Access to capital is not the reason why AT&T, the keeper’s of the cellular gate, lacked foresight due to other capital intense initiatives. But for small to medium sized privately held businesses, this may very well be the case. Imagine the boardroom decision to not fund R&D but instead deploy the capital you do have to keep up with product and or service demand?
History proves that you don’t want to be on the wrong side of this decision!
There’s a multitude of reasons why organizations ‘do what they do’. Those reasons may include changing the world or the simple fact that no one does it better than we can. Whatever the case, a large portion of those organizations would have on their list: financial success. Now that could take the form of providing shareholder value, creating generation wealth or building the biggest house on the biggest hill no matter the intention, its there for a large percentage of organizations.
I’ve established that financial accomplishment, however your organization defines it, is real and desired and know I would like to highlight three key factors uncovered in a survey conducted by the Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services (DGES) that outline the following:
Financial success is correlated to business financing provided by your commercial banker. The cost of it is real but the leverage it provides outweighs that similar to your businesses building lease or employee payroll.
This can be simply answered by your commercial banker which should include an explanation of the following tools available to you and your organization and how they may achieve your specific goals:
Working Capital Lines of Credit
SBA and Government Guaranteed Loans
Business Credit Cards
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