On my first visit to a new consulting client, I was impressed with the brand new prefabricated metal corporate headquarters. Their mom-and-pop business had grown so fast that they were having growing pains, and that's why they hired me. How could fast growth be a bad thing? Well, it is when you aren't prepared to manage the growth the right way. It can leave you feeling like you're under the gun from customers and staff alike. The best you can do is manage on roller skates.

The Mrs. had called me because they were struggling with trying to manage the workload and their employees. They'd gone from just running three crews a day to 10 crews a day in only three years. And now, all their resources had been stretched.

One of the things they'd outgrown was from home. Their residential area would not allow them the truck traffic. Mom and Pop were having more babies, and the house was already too small. Grandpa stopped by to help watch the kids during the day so Mom could re-join Pop at work. The solution?

They had this beautiful building erected on a new site to serve as both their office and their living space. Their home is on the first floor, right behind the office.

Sacrifices Pay Off

It's nothing new to run your business out of your home, but it's pretty novel to run an operation this size from inside such a modern shop. It all works because they planned so well. They had figured that living in the shop meant long days running the outside operations, but it wouldn't keep Pop from being around to see his kids grow up. Now, they're just one door away. After the kids are asleep, he heads to his desk and finishes up the paperwork and begins planning for the next day. During the day, Mom manages the phones and does the other inside office work by heading out her living room door and into the office.

It's so well-planned that, when they created the floor plan, they figured as their business continued to grow, they'd convert the living space into more offices and they'd move out and buy a home elsewhere. The good news is that this time is fast approaching. The money and sacrifice by squeezing living space into their working space is all paying off.

The kids are growing up quickly and the business is now clicking along since we put the systems and training in place that created two fully trained managers to help run Pop's crews better. And Mom now has a full-time office person to help her answer the phones, dispatch and manage the accounts receivables and accounts payable work.

Their decision to hold the line on spending at the right time helped the business do what was needed. Everyone needs to make tough choices on when to spend and when to tighten the belt. Conserving the assets and knowing when to invest in the business will reward you in the future.

There are plenty of other accommodations to our business we have to make tough choices about. My Aunt Bea, my dad's sister, put her career on the back burner and drove an oil truck while my dad and uncle were away during World War II. She kept the business going until they came back.

I meet a lot of women who are working in the business and balancing their time raising the kids. Usually they've been placed in the role of running the inside operations of the business, but not always. There are many women who are the best at selling,working on the equipment and managing techs. Does anyone ask for more work? No, usually it's just created out of necessity and forged with a desire to support each other.

Today's sacrifice is paving the way to your future's success. There is a time to put your foot down on the expenses - so you won't always be squeezed for space.