Edit ModuleShow Tags

Is your lemonade stand on a closed road?


Published:

It's spring and the lemonade stands - staffed by budding young entrepreneurs - are starting to pop up. This is a great learning experience for a young lass or lad, but might it also teach us something?

On the way home from a recent bike ride, I took a road that I enjoy and ride on frequently. I saw a large "Road Closed" sign, but figured I could find a path through on my bike. I continued another mile down a big hill to the construction site. As I suspected, I got through.

Strangely, however, a young girl sat about a block up the hill - well past the sign announcing the road closure - with a lemonade stand. She was too far away to attract the construction workers and well beyond the revenue-killing "Road Closed" sign. I thought about stopping to give her a bit of free consulting, but my pro bono dance card was already full.

I got to thinking, How many businesses are all spooled up and ready to go but metaphorically positioned on a closed road? There are many closed roads in business, such as:

• Having a retail store with poor ingress and egress (When a young couple asked an old Irishman for directions, he said, "Well, if I were going there, I wouldn't start here!")
• Selling a great product that's focused on the wrong market (This is like selling refrigerators to polar bears.)
• Risking capital in a business that has high risk and potential for government intervention (Would you invest in pot dispensaries at this point?)
• Trying to grow a capital-dependent business without the requisite growth capital (As a business owner once said to me, "How can I be broke? I'm profitable and my business is growing!")
• Ignoring new technology (Look no further than Blockbuster and the music industry. ...)

In business, it's easy to tell that the road is closed once you hit the construction area, but often there are signs announcing the closure that we don't see because we're not looking, or we chose to ignore them because we're breathing our own exhaust. The fact that you love lemonade and that it's convenient for you to put your lemonade stand at the end of your block doesn't mean it's good business practice.

Risk analysis, scanning the horizon and taking the time to look "beyond the four walls" are critical to avoiding closed roads. Is your business positioned on a highway, or are you like the little girl with the lemonade stand?

{pagebreak:Page 1}

Edit Module
Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Why you should be sleeping on the job

Decades ago, Seinfeld’s George Costanza was nearly busted for office-hour sleeping sessions under his desk. Today, though, a growing number of companies are waking up to the benefits of power naps.

How to decide if an IPO is right for you

It’s a perplexing time for middle market Colorado executives who are deciding how best to raise capital for their companies. For starters, let’s look at a few recent examples of companies trying to navigate the present market.

AOL's founder stops in Denver to spotlight the American dream

Steve Case has taken to the streets on a cross-country Rise of the Rest tour to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurial ecosystems between the coasts. And this year’s five-day, five-city excursion- Oct. 3-7- makes its way to the Mile High City on Oct. 4.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: