Jul 052016

Bottle of secret sauceTake a look around your office.  Whether it’s a home office, a shared co-working space, or a multi-acre complex with golf carts to get from one building to the other, you need three things or your business will starve:

  1. Space
  2. Stuff
  3. Staff

Space: You obviously need enough space to do your work, space to build, design, test, eat lunch, and all the other things.  But you also might need space to educate, train, or show off to the public.  You may want green space, a meditative or quiet space, and you may want to provide space for daycare.  It’s up to you, but plan accordingly and continually evaluate your space requirements, costs, and projections to make sure you have not just enough space but the right space.

Stuff: This includes all the material you use to make whatever it is you make, all the furniture, desk, lighting, and physical things that go into your space, but it also includes policies, procedures, and plans.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters aren’t common in Upstate New York, but with today’s cloud-based services and interconnected systems, all it takes is one Hurricane Sandy or sustained power outage in your Denver data center to take out critical systems.  Make sure your stuff includes a disaster recovery plan, succession plan, and that passwords and the like are not known by just one person.

Staff: It may go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – you can’t do anything; hire people smarter than you and let them do their jobs.  If you don’t have the right people, and the right number of people, then your company is starving for talent.  Go find some.  There are lots of services that will help you do this, and there are lots of places to find talented people these days.  No matter what you do, don’t skimp on the brainpower and make sure everyone knows what their jobs are.  Your secret sauce for killer Buffalo wing cheeseburgers may be great at the backyard BBQ, but if your staff doesn’t know how to make it, then you won’t be able to sell it.  Always have clear expectations (if not clear definitions) of what each person should be doing to make your company great.

Remember, these three things are to your business what oxygen, food, and water are to your body.  Without enough, or without the right kind of each, your body suffers.  So to, will your business, if you don’t have the right combination of each.  Your job is to be the leader that figures out what that combination is, or better yet, hire someone smarter than you and make them do it for you!