THE BLOG
09/16/2014 12:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When the Core Is Shaky

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My client was exploring several opportunities to expand his business -- partnerships, acquisitions, product expansions. Lots of opportunities, and all clearly in his sandbox. These opportunities would expand his core business in line with the clear strategic objectives he had set for his company's growth.

As he explored these opportunities, as he discussed them with his team, advisors and mentors, he received endorsement on their value towards his strategy.

He did not pursue them; and he was right in not doing so.

His core business needed attention. For a while now, he hadn't been happy with his core product and his business plan was all about addressing the root causes to optimize his core product. He was funding and resourcing several strategic projects to bring his core business to the point where he would truly differentiate his products for his customers. My work with this customer was all about addressing the core -- process, product, organization and talent.

My client made the right call. Nothing is more important than the core. Adding more scale to a product that is not optimized creates more of the same problems. When you start focusing on other priorities (even accretive ones) while the bandwidth of your company should be focused on core initiatives, you run the severe risk of falling into scaled mediocrity and you dilute existing efforts.

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My client made the call to forego a very good strategic opportunity because he felt his core product needed the attention. He stayed true to the tactical priorities around which his business plan and company were focused -- strengthening the foundation of his company and his products.

Tough call to make, but the right one.

The reasons to expand always sound strategically good. They might well be, but if the core is shaky, then you are building on a bad foundation.

And that is a recipe for disaster.