Why over ambition to expand spells doom for your business

It is often said that for one to make it in today’s cut-throat business world, they have to be shrewd, ambitious, focused and persistant, among other attributes. In fact, being ambitious is seen as one of the major attributes that drives success. Just like an American proverb states, “ambition is putting a ladder against the sky”.
Viqué-Ocean Kahinju
Viqué-Ocean Kahinju

It is often said that for one to make it in today’s cut-throat business world, they have to be shrewd, ambitious, focused and persistant, among other attributes. In fact, being ambitious is seen as one of the major attributes that drives success. Just like an American proverb states, “ambition is putting a ladder against the sky”.

Ambitious entrepreneurs are unstoppable because not even the sky is the limit. However, over ambition could be your Achilles’ heel, if you don’t tread carefully on entrepreneurial journey.

This could sound strange to business people because, logically, every business owner is extremely ambitious as they strive to grow and extend their wings further to promote their brand and increase profits. So, how and why is over ambition a bad idea?

Usually, being overly ambitious could be the ‘silver bullet’ that may slowly but surely hurt your enterprise. This is because over ambitious entrepreneurs are likely to become ruthless, dishonest and, sometimes, engage in unhealthy competition to succeed. They have ‘the end justifies the means’ mentality.

They are also more likely to act unprofessionally to accumulate money for expansion of their projects.

This, however, taints their brand and reputation and, will ultimately hurt the business as customers and other stakeholders start shunning their products or services.

The desire to expand is part of motivation in business, but trying to push boundaries unnecessarily harder to get to where you think you want your enterprise to be may not be such a good idea.

Always take calculative steps before you take a leap to expand in any form; either increasing the number of employees, taking a loan, enhancing technology, adding a new product line, opening a second branch or venturing into new markets.

Therefore, growth and expansion require careful planning and a great deal of attention, precaution and knowledge. Equally important is to know your market size, demand for your brand, prospects and the position of your competitors.

Planning for ways to reduce expansion costs in relation to your cash flow and increase clientele base is vital too.

Cash flow should be analysed accurately as these are the most abused aspects during the expansion process as it is channeled from the existing business to service the new undertakings.

As a result, this may create financial problems that could hurt your company. Also, some of your customers may leave you as they feel ignored because you have shifted attention to focus on new markets.

But this may occur if you are driven by the desire to outsmart competitors.

The desire to expand, however, shouldn’t always be about making a quick buck or jumping on a bandwagon because your competitors have done so.

With such a mindset you may be headed for a big fall or may never achieve much. Just as Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli once stated: “He who is blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.”

You don’t want to be a loser, and can avoid such loses by taking it “one step at a time” until your business is on a solid foundation, with enough financial resources and a high level of customer loyalty.

The writer is a business commentator and entrepreneur

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