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 September 10, 1999

Sometimes, throw caution to the wind

Sometimes, growth of your business comes faster than you anticipated.

Back in December, as The Northern Colorado Business Report negotiated a new lease for larger office space at 201 S. College Ave. in Fort Collins, we felt that our net gain of about 30 percent in space would do for awhile. So we gave up all of our previous space, believing that a gain of a third would accommodate any growth we would experience in the next couple of years.

Not even, especially when our own rate of growth exceeds the gain we made in space. We found ourselves crammed almost from the beginning. We now stand at 16 employees, with plans to add two to three additional employees within the next month. To fit them into current space would have meant extreme crowding.

Thankfully, we’ve been able to supplement our existing space with ancillary offices upstairs, thereby taking the pressure off, and we do have room to spread our wings with our Greeley and Cheyenne sites.

What’s it all mean? It means that sometimes you can be too conservative in your business decisions. A year ago, while we were experiencing rapid growth, we were watching expenditures very closely in preparation for our increase in frequency to biweekly. The last thing we wanted was to take on too much real estate.

We will always watch spending very closely, but we realize that growth requires investment in real estate, systems and people. Were we to have it to do over again, we would have kept a big chunk of our previous space.

Business owners must make such decisions every day. If a business owner becomes overly optimistic or overconfident, a wrong decision can be devastating as costs soar and revenues don’t meet expectations. Likewise, however, being too conservative in your operations can lead to drains on growth. Lack of office space can lead to lack of people, which can itself lead to lack of revenues and profits.

Determining a happy medium, where risk is minimized and growth accommodated, means well-thought-out business plans, with accurate accounting and as-good-as-can-be forecasting.

What are realistic growth projections? What new products do you anticipate bringing to market? What staff will be needed to accomplish those goals? Do you have room to house all those workers?

Think also about phone systems (with this many new people, we’ll need a bigger system), computers, chairs, desks, parking, etc.

You might need to take your office-supply budget up, as we are, and you might need additional phone lines, as we do. Already, our six voice lines are becoming busy more frequently.

Growth is great for a business, but it also carries with it assorted costs that might not be readily apparent. You won’t be right all the time in your forecasting, but budgeting with as much detail as possible with help ensure that you’re not being overly optimistic — or pessimistic.

Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at cwood@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

Sometimes, growth of your business comes faster than you anticipated.

Back in December, as The Northern Colorado Business Report negotiated a new lease for larger office space at 201 S. College Ave. in Fort Collins, we felt that our net gain of about 30 percent in space would do for awhile. So we gave up all of our previous space, believing that a gain of a third would accommodate any growth we would experience in the next couple of years.

Not even, especially when our own rate of growth exceeds the gain we made in space. We found ourselves crammed almost from…

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