One of my fondest adventures as a teenager was riding a motorcycle from Denver to Seattle with my family. I was just old enough to have my own motorcycle license. Those who know me would’ve been surprised to see me fully decked out in black leather! But, then again, some of you would say, “Of course, it was black, she always wears black!”
The fastest motorcycles in the world top 200mph! But, Bill Roberson, in his article Unreasonable Need for Speed?, notes firmware can be used to limit the top speed of motorcycles. That’s right, in 1997, the European Union decided that 300kph (186mph) was fast enough and leveraged high taxes on bikes going faster. To keep motorcycles selling, manufactures added firmware to reduce the top speed!
Sure, extreme road speed can be dangerous, but can you go too fast when growing a business? Yes! Just ask Brian Hamilton, who details the following list of hazards fast growing companies encounter: misunderstanding what’s going on financially, thinking that sales growth trumps everything, hiring the wrong people, losing touch with the customer, and allowing receivables to outrun sales growth (Watch Out For The Five Hazards Of Growing Too Quickly, Forbes).
How do you build momentum without going too fast, too quickly?
- Practice 0-60! Roberson uses the phrase “velocity nirvana” to describe “0-60 in about 2.3 seconds”. To accelerate that quickly, even expert riders need to practice shifting the manual transmission. Moving sequentially up the gears requires coordination between hand and foot levers. Parts of your business may need to practice coordination. Skipping steps, though it may seem faster, just doesn’t work.
- Replace the air filter! Motorcycle enthusiasts know if you don’t replace the air filter, performance suffers. Businesses capable of great momentum establish sound daily habits and perform regular maintenance (reviews and repairs). Failing to catch the little stuff causes employees and customers alike to be alienated early regardless of how great your business concept is!
- Stay alert! It is easy to get caught going through the motions when traveling long distances. On a bike, the steady hum of the engine, whipping of the wind, and the highway narrowing to a point takes a toll. Business leaders need to be vigilant, too. Keep up with the ever-changing environment like activities of competitors, shifts in market, changes with suppliers, and new customer needs.
- Keep your helmet on! When building momentum, you must expect the best and plan for the worst. Throwing caution to the wind is foolish and costly. Risk-taking is required to set your work apart, but there are reasonable limits and protections.
Your business can reach a “velocity nirvana”, if you avoid tempting mistakes. Consider the hazards along your road to success. Know your numbers, hire the right people, and stay in touch with the customer! Take your time, conduct regular reviews and repairs, stay vigilant, and consider safety first. Don’t be afraid to pop a wheelie once in a while, but hang on to those handle bars!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting Christians in leadership around the globe for the purpose of Community, Accountability, and Transformation. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.