Here’s another one from my Dad, a very wise man. He gave me this advice right after I received my driver’s license years ago. It took years to understand the importance of this prophetic statement.
Taking this advice literally:
Gun shots, drunk drivers, mayhem, and even curfews qualify as just some of the things that could bite in the early morning. And heck, soon I found myself the father of a teen-age female driver, and truly understood my Dad’s admonition.
But how does this have anything to do with our business lives?
Think of our midnights: time and money.
Take deadlines for example. We often miss them, sometimes by a long shot. Every day a deadline for development, rollout, marketing campaign or even corporate reorganization is missed, we burn fixed overhead – money. And we know that there is only so much available to burn at that.
[Email readers, continue here…] Companies have gone out of business from a lack of time management, especially when additional capital is not available when most needed. Time management is a critical element in an early-stage business for this reason. The sense of urgency senior management must create is a real and necessary skill. Like most management skills – not easy nor pleasant. But necessary.
Money – the asset we take for granted until low or gone.
We admonish our CEO’s to keep six to twelve months of liquidity available. We know from experience that raising money may be nearly impossible when economic times are tough, and when we have under-performed on our business plan. We tell our CEO’s to raise cash when not needed – because that is the time when it is easiest to raise. Or when the news is particularly good. Or the terms offered are especially favorable. Or even just when available at any reasonable cost in equity or interest.
Good managers are good students – easily coached by those on their boards or advisors who have been through eh rough times in their business lives.
So, it is true for us in business too. Nothing good happens after midnight – that event when money or time catches up to our business plan and begins to bite. Gun shots, drunk drivers, cash crises, deadlines missed.
Do you have that sense of urgency?