Is this the most wonderful time of the year? October is here bringing with it cool weather, changing leaves and the baseball playoffs. To make it even better, the Cubs are in the postseason again! If their streak continues, I’ll have another sleep deprived month cheering them on to a repeat World Series.
All this baseball has me thinking about great baseball movies. There is no shortage of quality movies about this American pastime but certainly one of my favorites is Field of Dreams.
In this 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner, Ray Kinsella (Costner) hears a mysterious voice tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He embarks on a comical, maniacal, and spiritual quest to convert his Iowa cornfield into a baseball stadium in the process of discovering who will come.
The refrain from this movie, “If you build it, he (they) will come,” is often repeated in the business and development worlds as well. The theory is people will always search out the “better mousetrap” regardless of the location.
While I love the saying and the movie, I would like to suggest when investing for your business, rather than, “If you build it, they will come,” as a slogan, let’s try, “If you build it, they might come,” for the following reasons:
1. Building a product does not attract the client.
Just because you have a superior product, that does not mean customers can find it. Sales and marketing push, pull and promote your product to the client while logistics and operations deliver it. Simply building a product does not build the business.
2. The primary concern is capacity.
Whether you are talking people, roads, schools or airports capacity constraints are primary. You would never put a country road leading to a major airport just like you would not ask an accountant who does everything on paper to manage a paperless back office and streamline your process. Consideration of all resources needs to be given. If your interest is in growing a company, the capacity of your systems and people need to be examined. Eliminate bottlenecks to create throughput.
3. If you don’t build it, they can’t come.
Do you remember the days of dial-up internet? Long wait times and slowly pixelating screens would exasperate even the most patient consumers today. What would happen to e-commerce sales if the bandwidth were that slow today? An obvious question, of course, however many businesses are essentially not building capacity yet still expecting to grow. That is why I personally believe, “If you don’t build it, they can’t come.” No building of your capacity (human, network, systems, processes…) means no growth in the business. Clients, partners, and banks want to know you are interested in building a solid foundation on which to run the business.
Field of Dreams is a great movie with a catchy saying but that slogan should not be applied directly to your business. Your business needs attention on all facets of its capacity and simply building out a great product will not grow your business. Businesses that want to grow consider their future capacity now and invest accordingly.