FROM THE TANK: SHOULD YOU EVER WHACK-A-MOLE?

Written on the 23 June 2016 by Dr Glen Richards

FROM THE TANK: SHOULD YOU EVER WHACK-A-MOLE? A FAST-PACED game of whack-a-mole often evolves as a business begins to scale up.

Based on my past experience with Greencross (ASX: GXL) and my work these days on a number of companies including Shark Tank startups, it seems the faster you grow, the more chaos occurs.

For the unacquainted, whack-a-mole is the game you sometimes play as little issues pop up across the business. These could be related to HR, supply chain, marketing programs failing to get lift-off, cash flow crises, funding headaches and IT glitches.

Typical early stage entrepreneurs try to solve every crisis themselves or in actual fact, they create these crises due to inflicting many and varied new ideas on to their business. They see too many opportunities, have too little control and too little time to keep all the balls in the air.

Resources of cash and time are limited, but it is vital for the leadership team to slow down and become more focused, more disciplined and more strategic. There's simply no other way to success, even though it will seem at odds with the pace of the business at the time.

Quarterly company resets, such as planning retreats, that take input from employees, customers, and market and industry trends are vital to focus the company on the critical issues that will lead to success. The five key imperatives or company focus points that come out of planning retreats determine where the company and team should spend their time and money. If a company is growing rapidly, they may need to undertake these resets as often as every 30 days to keep chaos at bay.

In the early days of Greencross, I would often have an 'entrepreneurial seizure' in the shower and then roll in to work to hijack my team to look at my next 'big idea'. As CEO it was obviously my right to do this. We would then scurry around for a few days, ignoring our plans and roadmaps to investigate the possible opportunity, only to realise we were wasting time and energy on the wrong things. The 90-day company reset forced me to stop hijacking my team. I was 'allowed' to turn up every 90 days with my list of ideas and contribute to the planning session alongside the critical issues that were being raised by our employees, customers and fellow managers.

Greencross' Healthy Pets Plus wellness program for pets was one such idea. I had the 'idea seizure' but had to wait for the next planning session before I could put it in front of my leadership team. This afforded me the ability to actually put some work into the idea as well, which included putting together financial forecasts, gauging the reaction of key opinion leaders in our veterinary hospitals, and investigating relevant programs around the world. By the time I fronted my management team, I was ready to argue my case. We now have over 50,000 pets enrolled in the program. It has been an amazing success for pet health, client loyalty and shareholders.

Whack-a-mole is a fun game but not something you want to be playing in business. Businesses scaling rapidly should especially steer clear of playing by focusing their time, energy and money on the key issues and just a small number of imperatives that will deliver the best bang for their buck.

Dr Glen Richards joins resident Sharks Steve Baxter (internet pioneer), Janine Allis (Boost Juice), Andrew Banks (Talent2), and Naomi Simson (RedBalloon) for season two of the Network Ten series Shark Tank Australia on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Follow 'From the Tank' - Business News Australia's Think Tank - for Richards' views on everything from private equity to IPOs and those unbelievable Shark Tank pitches.

Read up on the exact framework Dr Glen Richards uses to judge whether a startup is worthy for investment.



Author: Dr Glen Richards
About: Dr Glen Richards is a veterinary surgeon and founder and former CEO of Greencross, Australia’s largest pet care company. Glen spent 10 years building a multi-million dollar integrated pet care empire, which now operates more than 130 veterinary hospitals in Australia, New Zealand and China. The company is also Australasia’s leading specialty pet care retailer, with more than 200 stores operating under the brand names Petbarn and City Farmers.
Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn

Latest News

VITA GROUP POSTS STEADY RESULTS DESPITE ROUGH YEAR

IT'S no secret Vita Group (ASX: VTG) has had a testing year, however the company has still managed to deliver ...

KOGAN BREAKS FORECASTS IN ITS FIRST YEAR OF PUBLICLY LISTED TRADE

RAISING the bar high in its first year as a publicly listed company, Kogan.com (ASX: KGN) has smashed its forecast...

CAMPLIFY MOTORS INTO THE UK MARKET

CARAVAN hire and RV sharing community Camplify has made its move in the European market, establishing its first op...

COCHLEAR R&D INVESTMENT DRIVES NEW PRODUCTS AND BOOSTS PROFIT AND REVENUE

COCHLEAR (ASX: COH) has boosted its 2017 full year net profit by 18 percent to $223.6 million and has forecast furthe...

Related News

WESFARMERS BOOKS BUMPER PROFIT BUT SUPERMARKET WAR HITS COLES' BOTTOM LINE

SUPERMARKET giant Coles has posted its biggest slide in earnings since it was acquired by Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) 10 ye...

ANALYSTS PREDICT WHAT AUSSIE LIVING IS LIKELY TO BECOME IN THE NEXT CENTURY

AS THE Australian population continues to grow, analysts are predicting what the country is likely to look like wi...

SEVEN WEST REPORTS MASSIVE LOSS AND CUTS CEO TIM WORNER'S PAY PACKET BY $450K

SEVEN West Media (ASX: SWM) has posted a full-year loss of $744.3 million and cut CEO Tim Worner's pay packet by ...

HOW MAKING MISTAKES AND PASSION SCORED WEIGHT LOSS PARTNERS A DEAL WITH SHARK TANK'S JANINE ALLIS

THEY partnered up to provide a scientific and targeted approach to dieting, and Kate Save and Geoff Draper cut Sha...

BOOK YOUR FUNCTION SPACE HERE

 

 

 

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details
Subscriptions

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter