July 27, 2005
Counter Cliche: Win The Peace
Fred’s VC cliche of the week this week is a good one, Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst. It’s certainly true, as he says, for startups going through a financing, and in many other instances. I may regret mixing business and politics here, but since Fred has done that before (with the same caveat), I’ll give it a shot as well.
As important as it is to prepare for the worst, entrepreneurs and politicians alike need to make sure they’re also planning to win the peace — in other words, planning for a successful outcome.
How much happier would we be as a country at war right now if our administration had had a full plan in place for what to do after they toppled Saddam? Similarly, CEOs need put some cycles against scenario planning for successful outcomes so they’re not caught flat footed when things go well. How can lack of planning to win the peace come back to bite you? Here are a few ways:
– You’re not staffed properly to support a big contract that comes in — and you have no pipeline of candidates or contractors to backfill
– You don’t have media buys lined up for an marketing campaign you want to run as soon as the financing closes
– You haven’t started an integration plan before a tenuous acquisition closes, so integration doesn’t happen quickly enough
There are certainly other examples as well, in war as in comapny-building, but what it all comes down to is the need to scenario plan for best cases as well as worst cases. It’s all about avoiding costly lead times.