It’s a fool’s errand to grow a business without a competent or sufficient management team. I’ve seen it tried a thousand times and fail just as many.
The most common example of this is the entrepreneur who’s been successful to a point but grows a business past his capacity to manage. Growing a business that large is a wonderful accomplishment, don’t get me wrong, but it’s every good entrepreneur’s job to know when he needs to bring in professional management to oversee key aspects of his business.
My case in point for this rule of thumb is Ocean Pacific.
I’m sure many of you recall OP. It was a pretty popular brand back in the day, and it still has a name for itself. Yet Ocean Pacific’s desires repeatedly seemed to outshine the capabilities and strengths of its management team. This is demonstrated by the fact that I’ve had to run Ocean Pacific twice.
The first time I was brought in to change the company because it was in the manufacturing business and expanding overseas without the proper personnel who understood sourcing and distribution in international markets. Though they lost a lot of money before we could reign in the problem, we ultimately got them refocused and left them to it. Had they had the kind of management team in place that understood the nuances of international expansion and management, I don’t think I ever would have gotten involved.
The second time I was brought into Ocean Pacific it was to convert them from a manufacturer to a licensing only company. They had a fantastic design department, but that was about it. They did not have the kinds of managers who could oversee manufacturing, and even though the international issue had been more or less overcome, manufacturing was ultimately not a sustainable model.
But again, the problem was that they lacked the right folks, in this case to manage the brand quality of the licensee’s goods. They just couldn’t deal with worldwide licensing. Once again, this transition sent millions of dollars down the tube, so we were brought back in to properly restructure them and carry out their plan.
So what did we learn. Well, plans are great, but plans only work until you start implementing them. At that point, reality gets in the way. One way to make plans work a bit longer – or at least come out the other side – is to have the right management team in place. You cannot grow or morph a business without a sufficient management team.
Have you ever tried to carry out a large scale plan without the right people in place to help you do it? What were the results?