A SECTION FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Coming up fast - Building to last - Keeping control

A SECTION FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Coming up fast - Building to last - Keeping control - DILEMMA: My squash partner's business is going great guns. But although margins are high and she's making lots of money, it's getting a bit out of control. She's asked me f

by PATRICK DUNNE works with 3i

DILEMMA: My squash partner's business is going great guns. But although margins are high and she's making lots of money, it's getting a bit out of control. She's asked me for some advice. Frankly, I'd die for her problems. After a period of high growth my own business has just fallen off a cliff. What should I say?

ISSUES: 'Welcome to enchantment, gateway to disenchantment' goes one of my favourite cartoon captions. The joy of achieving success is often dwarfed by the anxiety of sustaining it or the challenges of managing a larger organisation. Chaos may also reign when good luck becomes confused with competence or when hubris distances a leader from the real world. So what is going on here?

The first clues will emerge from an examination of exactly what's out of control. Is it product quality, customer service, the numbers, supplier relationships, the top team, herself? Is her finance director up to the job? She should be able to pick the areas where operational excellence has most leverage and where the lack of it is undermining the business. What the company does itself and what is outsourced also needs regular consideration.

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