The good is often the enemy of the best


A basic economic reality is that all resources are limited.  That includes your financial resources, your time, your manpower, your strengths, every resource you can think of.  With every decision there is an opportunity cost involved.  When you choose to do one thing you are therefore choosing to not do other things with whatever resources you are using.  Every dollar and every minute you spend in your business cannot ever be used for anything else.  That is why we do not want to spend a single dollar or minute we don’t have to.  Instead, the goal should be to wisely invest those resources into our businesses and our personal lives.

The usual enemy of the best is not the worst but the good.  Most people do not make decisions that they know will be harmful to them.  Most sane people try to make good decisions that will have a positive impact on their lives and their businesses, but too often we are satisfied with making the good choices rather than taking time to decide if this was the best choice.  You have X amount of dollars available to invest in your company.  Would it be better to spend that money on a new company vehicle or a new machine that would allow your employees to be more productive and efficient?  It really depends on numerous factors that you have to take in consideration as they apply to your particular situation.  The key is to realize that you can only invest that money in one thing.  I see too many small business owners driving new company vehicles while their employees are trying to operate with outdated equipment that costs the company a lot of productivity.  For editorial honesty, I will admit to being one of those owners at one time, and I regret it to this day.

How does one determine the best use of resources?  We have to go back to the vision of the company.  Where do you see your business in five years, and what must happen for you to get there?  Every investment of resources should be in line with that vision.  Not one moment, not one dollar should be spent that will not lead you to the achievement of that vision.  This means that once the vision is determined, strategic planning must follow so you can identify the steps that will take you to the fulfillment of that vision.

In closing, often the best investment of your resources will be in people.  Ultimately, it is not the equipment, the computer systems, the display pieces, the marketing, or anything else that will enable your company to succeed.  It will be the people who use the equipment, the computers, the displays, and who develops the marketing that will determine your level of success.  Investing in the very best people you can find and continuing to invest in their growth and skills will nearly always pay the greatest dividends.

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