You’re the Boss

The article, posted to the NY Times this weekend, discusses the challenges of growing a business.  There are many factors to consider, including infrastructure, the right employees, expanding resources and training, and the overall focus/goal of the company.  Alexandra Mayzler owns Thinking Caps Group, a company that offers an array of study and educational tools for students of all ages.  She has a company that just passed its 10 year anniversary and has been able to expand into 5 different cities.

This article brought me back to how we participated in our activity of planning out a wedding via a Project Plan chart.  As we saw, there were many different versions of order in what we thought was important and how we defined our Critical Path.  Since we didn’t have cost involved with each activity, it came down to our personal preference of what we felt would be important to us in a wedding, and weighed our decisions on how long we thought activities would be, and a logical order (obviously you have to send out invitations before you can finalize a total count for dinner!).

After reading this article, I reflected on how all companies come to a point during a project that they aren’t quite sure what their critical path should be.  If we are talking more on the operations side, as we did with the Rock Bands activity, it’s a little easier to see since that’s based on financial decisions.  But when looking at a business, there are so many critical paths to consider, including financial, operational, special projects, and the right people.

But as we get more involved with our charity projects and raising money, there are a lot of different outlets and tools we can use in order to reach our goal.  How can we know for sure we are taking the right path?

For our group, we first needed to have a clear idea of who we were targeting for donations, which was going to be friends and family through social media. From there, we needed to put the right tools in place to make this as easy as possible.  This came by us using numerous social media outlets, including Link’d In, Facebook, Twitter, and of course personal e-mails.

Coming back to the article, it’s up to Alexandra to continue to figure out where her focus should lie, and how to create the right momentum in her business to grow and change.

After reading the article, what other ideas would you have for her outside of hiring the right people and expanding leadership skills in order to help her increase her growth?

5 thoughts on “You’re the Boss

  1. I would also suggest marketing as part of her critical path to expanding her business. She needs to develop ways (i.e. networking, ads, etc.) of getting her name out there in new cities that she wants to expand into.

  2. I agree with the other comment regarding marketing the business. It is important that she focus on the external factors to ensure there is growth in the company. It is definitely a balance but without talking and connecting to your customers then you are missing the people buying your product. I would suggest looking at 1, 3 and 5 year marketing plans to outline the strategy and direction. It will also let the employees rally behind what their company stands for and connecting with the customer.

  3. I think not only in project management it is always important to watch out for scope creep. How often have we seen a great company try to do much and lose their way or core values. If we look at Sears Holdings they were once a great catalogue company and now they are consistently listed as a top brand to go out of business. Sears has expanded into many arenas and some argue that they are trying to do much instead of just their core competencies. I don’t envy anyone running a business because you have to look out for scope creep but at the same time you need to be innovative and ahead of your competition…

  4. well in my opinion, I believe expanding her activities will be based on the business needs.
    Right, wrong or critical path we all learn from it which we will be gaining experience.

    but good, skilled and well trained workers always get opportunities and leave because it is for their own benefit.

    I believe that how to keep the good workers at work and maintain their satisfaction. Cause you never know, once a wrong path or critical situation prevented they can solve and maintain the situation.

    Not all projects will be achievable, but the way you handle the project to reach its maximum that really matters.

  5. Of course the need to estimate the critical path of a business project as accurately as possible is highly essential for the success and growth of a company. However, growth usually also comes from satisfying customers which reflects positively on the bottom line of a company.

    Therefore, as an extension to Colleen and Rob’s comments, Alexandra could increase growth through learning from her customers, which are in this case are students, about the ways in which they like to learn and learning tools that they would be beneficial to them.

    She could create questionnaires and mail subscription newsletters to be sent to the students.

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