“The journey is the thing.”
Homer’s Odyssey chronicles Odysseus’s (commonly known as Ulysses) ten year journey home to Ithaca following the Trojan War. The Odyssey describes Odysseus encountering and overcoming numerous dangers in the forms of pirates, seductresses, and monsters. Like Odysseus, businesses confront threats. These threats may resemble pirates co-opting products, technologies or strategies. On some occasions these pirates steal and defraud. The sounds of encouraging but vacuous compliments and promises from customers or investors are dangerously mistaken as commitments; possibly resulting in fatal consequences – not so different than the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey. Ruthless competitors, customers, or investors are easily compared to Odysseus’s monster Charybdis who could destroy whole ships.
My partner, Chuck Moffitt and I each have more than twenty-years of experience advising and operating businesses. Though not exclusively, much of our experience has been working with struggling or distressed companies. I am launching The Business Odyssey as a periodic publication with each edition devoted to an individual topic appropriate for middle-market companies. The Business Odyssey is my vessel to bring to you a few of the lessons I have learned over the years.
Using odyssey in the masthead is a reminder that business is a journey. The business journey oftentimes demands overcoming crushing obstacles and navigating perilous uncertainties in order to claim the rewards of success. In this introduction I am probably overusing this literary metaphor, trying to escape the sterility of typical business writing; a practice we promise to restrain in the future.
Each issue of The Business Odyssey will be limited to an individual topic. Each article is designed to be informative but brief. I have no intention of writing an exhaustive analysis or prescriptive narrative preferring rather to highlight an idea, a concept or an issue that has meaningful value. The forthcoming articles will follow a loose logic by presenting first a more general overview followed by useful detail. The generality provides a conceptual rope that tethers specific issues together. Doing so clarifies the application of these ideas for achieving business success.
My focus is middle-market companies; those companies with annual revenues between $15 and $500 million. Upcoming editions of The Business Odyssey will address topics that range from planning to governance; financial analysis to managing uncertainty; decision making to capital structure as well as other pressing business challenges.
“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience – well, that comes from poor judgment.”
Failure is a valuable source of learning. Much of my work over the years has required me to evade the hazards that threaten businesses and jeopardize success. I hope that sharing my experience can help your businesses succeed while avoiding some of the many dangers that conspire against your success. And reassure others that the struggle need not be fatal.
#Business, #Strategy, #Management, #MiddleMarket, #Finance, #Turnaround