Lerch Bates Inc. Building Insight

Global Leaders in Technical Consulting for the Building Industry

Stick to your knitting or venture out?

Many firms have wrestled with this idea. “Do we continue to do what we have always done and are good at or do we venture into new areas and take a risk?” These are considerations our own firm, an industry leader in elevator consulting for over 60 years, faced as we deliberated on a recent expansion of our services into elevator and escalator inspection, transit consulting and business intelligence consulting.

Staying the course is safe and predictable.  It lacks risk, which in this economy is something serious to consider.  Employees are comfortable with staying the course.  They understand it.  Staying the course is easier to manage too.

However, if you are in a mature market, staying the course might mean stagnant growth.  A new venture can open up new revenue streams.  A new venture can bring in new clients.  A new venture can also bring excitement to your firm.

New ventures should not be entered into though without a lot of thought.  Nothing can kill the excitement of expanding your business like failure.  Planning a new venture should be a paramount part of venturing out.  This includes business plans and financial models.  How will you enter this new venture?  Who will manage it?  How will you market it?  What clients will you target?  Where will the resources come from, both financial and human?

The more questions you ask yourself up front, the fewer surprises you will run into later.  However, no amount of planning can anticipate everything that will come up.  You need to be prepared to swifty respond to the unanticipated.  Also, as you progress, you may find that your plan may be off in certain areas,   therefore, flexibility is of high importance.  A well thought out plan that allows for flexibility is the key.

For those of you who have ventured out, please comment on your successes and failures.

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