(Brady | Photo courtesy of CrossPointe Capital)
Imagine for a minute that the last three years have been the first three “quarters” of a football game, and you are the quarterback. Now you’re coming up on the fourth quarter (2023). Your first quarter (2020) started great with an eighty-yard kickoff return and a quick surgical pass to the endzone for a touchdown, followed by a picture-perfect field goal.
In your second possession, the defense was like swiss cheese, and your running game kicked in, with the backs punching through holes everywhere. Ten carries later and you’d scored again. The two-point conversion worked. It looked like the game was yours for the taking.
Right after that, however (March/April 2020), everything changed. Now there was a whole new lineup. Suddenly you faced the biggest, meanest linemen you’d ever seen and two panther-quick rushing linebackers. Three body-crushing sacks later, and the game stopped being fun.
The rest of the quarter (2020) you scrambled. There was no pocket. No protection. Each time you had the ball you were hunted and often pulled down by that #@$%& linebacker wearing the #19 COVID jersey. Then there was political bickering in the huddle, arguments about inequity in play calls and seven referees with flags in hand holding a grudge against your team.
So, you scrambled. Sometimes you had to just ground the ball. Occasionally, your tight end broke free for an unplanned screen pass and a couple yards gain. Mostly, your team just got pummeled.
Finally, the “quarter” (2020) ended. You survived. Maybe you were a little ahead, maybe a little behind. Regardless, you and your team were bloody and battered. But the game continued. For most business “quarterbacks,” 2021 and 2022 involved even tougher conditions and a lot more scrambling.
If you’re a business owner, the metaphor is probably painfully applicable. Many business owners survived 2020, 2021 and 2022, and some even came out ahead by dodging, weaving, scrambling and “pivoting.” The entrepreneurial MVPs were the ones who creatively figured out how to stay alive to play another year. They navigated the simultaneous challenges of constantly changing government regulations, lockdowns, health concerns, social unrest, political chaos, supply chain breakdowns, inflation, escalating prices and a crumbling economy. Just surviving, when so many other businesses struggled and failed, was often a reason to celebrate.
However, scrambling is not a sustainable business practice. Continual scrambling is exhausting…and it often ends painfully. Constant pivoting does not build enterprise value. Business value is built on a buyer’s assessment of predictability, opportunity and minimized risk. As heroic (and maybe even a bit exhilarating) as the scrambling game might look, business value is not built on the CEO/quarterback’s creative maneuvering through marketplace minefields.
Maybe you were one of the few who didn’t have to change their game the last three years. But you probably will, since the aftershocks and fallout in the market from 2020-2022 are still to come.
In 2023, we have, yet again, a new playing field. For many businesses, the old game is gone forever. 2023 is a year to figure out how to consistently and predictably score in the new marketplace conditions. If you continue to execute the same old plays, or even constantly scramble to make up new ones on the fly, you may survive, but you will not build enterprise value.
2023 takes fresh strategy. How will you develop your predictable scoring strategy in the year ahead? Who will you select to bring a fresh perspective and help you re-invent your business and thrive? It’s totally possible. Twelve months from now you can look back with confidence and pride in the increasingly valuable business you’ve built.
Perhaps we can assist. We use a 12-step process that’s been developed and proven over the last dozen years. Clients are enjoying a 71 percent increase in value…or more. Whether you plan to exit soon or build for the long term, our 10x Value Catalyst program can help you enhance the value of your business, enjoy more free time, control and peace while positioning you for transition under optimum terms.
The last three years have probably felt like a long game. But now it’s time to stop scrambling and start predictably scoring again. If the concepts you read here are intriguing, reach out through our website to discover ways you can end 2023 with a strong “fourth quarter” win, starting with our complimentary Value Builder Assessment.
Michael Sipe is an entrepreneur, local business coach and mergers and acquisitions advisor.