The more successful a new venture is, the more dangerous the lack of financial foresight.
The lack of adequate financial focus and the right financial policies is the greatest threat to the new venture in the next stage of its growth. It is, above all, a threat to the rapidly growing new venture. Suppose that a new venture has successfully launched its product or service and is growing fast. It reports “rapidly increasing profits” and issues rosy forecasts. The stock market then “discovers” the new venture, especially if it is high-tech or in a field otherwise currently fashionable. Predictions abound that the new venture’s sales will reach a billion dollars within five years.
Eighteen months later, the new venture collapses. It is suddenly awash in red ink, lays off 180 of its 275 employees, fires the president, or is sold at a bargain price to a big company. The causes are always the same: lack of cash; inability to raise the capital needed for expansion; and loss of control, with expenses, inventories, and receivables in disarray. These three financial afflictions often hit together at the same time. Yet any one of them by itself endangers the health, if not the life, of the new venture. Once this financial crisis has erupted, it can be cured only with great difficulty and considerable suffering.
ACTION POINT: Develop sound financial plans and controls for your new venture. Don’t look at your accounting and finance people as “bean counters.”
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker