Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Letting the Numbers Go

The rant over at Seth Godin's Blog on The Curse of Great Expectations is a lot of fun.

There are times when you have to put the yardstick aside, stop counting, refuse to measure, and just let go. I did some of that this weekend, and I anticipate doing even more of it this summer.

It's great to be able to measure success by numbers, and to capture positive and negative trends, but it's also easy to get obsessive over those figures.

I have a couple of friends who have been in business together for twenty five years. Their business makes enough for them to survive week after week with a little extra to put away for a rainy day. They have no expectations of wild growth, and no desire for it.

I see so many who look at return on investment (ROI) as the first measure of whether or not they should even get involved in a company. A recent article I came across actually even advocated that the first calculation be figuring the potential value of a company at its Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Most businesses never make it to an IPO, and often have no desire to get there. The owners recognize that once a business gets to a certain point, they are no longer doing the part of the business that attracted them to it in the first place, but are managing others who perform those tasks.

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