Count the cost, and do your due diligence.

2/21/2022

I recall in 2018, being at the height of Married to the Ring’s growth (2 years old) and joining forces with my husband’s construction firm (which at the time his company was 18 years old), I decided to move my home base organization into my first commercial space with him. Although this was my first commercial space, this was not his. 

We were so excited about this joint venture in a 3,000 sq. foot building – and the opportunities we foresaw in it.  After the move-in, we began to count the cost of how much it would be to set up the entire operations.

As the numbers climbed, we discovered we needed to request additional access to capital from a local bank. Only to find out due to systemic challenges faced with local financial institutions, we could not secure the capital. Honestly, it had nothing to do with our credit. The banks said Married to the Ring was too young, and my husband just kept getting declined for reasons that were just not justifiable. For example, the small business banker told him he was two or three points away from the established rubric.

What did that mean? No one at the bank could answer. All they kept deferring back to was this internal rubric.

For this reason, just as fast as we opened – exactly 1 year and 3 months later – we were closed. We could not totally fulfill or run the overall forecast of our operations and sustain it with no working capital while balancing our existing client projects and personal expenses.  

My mind immediately went back to my experience in corporate America. 

Between 1993 – 2004, I had the privilege of participating in 4 bank mergers and acquisitions. I was chosen to lead efforts in the following locations: Wilmington, Delaware → Austin, Texas  → Dallas, Texas  → Heathrow, Florida  → Phoenix, Arizona   → , and Frederick, Maryland.  Although each location had a different culture – the checklist and designs to either grow, consolidate or reduce the workforce at each location required similar detail and funding. 

Here is where I learned about supply chain management

I learned how each department (e.g. finance, systems, marketing, HR, facility, IT, construction, and the list goes on) was co-dependent on the other – in order for the site expansion or site closure to happen seamlessly and successfully – the bottom line – you needed all key stakeholder hands on deck! 

Because of this experience, I was able to translate the same concept learned from corporate America into small business management. But for whatever reason, in this one instance – I skipped counting the total operating budget/cost before making the move. Why? Why? And Why? 

Short answer:

We did not have all of the decision-makers sitting at the table – we assumed we had it all together.

Those decision-makers include accountants, small business bankers, information technology professionals, and so on… we should have looped everyone in ahead of time, so that we could have determined whether this move was doable or should we have waited and reworked our financial plans in the interim. 

This is why TABS places a heavy emphasis upfront on including projected construction management/facility costs in your business plan whether you are home-based or commercial lease or owner. It doesn’t matter if you are working from home or in a commercial space, you must design and develop each space to accommodate the current and/or growth of your business. 

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