Balance and Timing

So much of life and success come down to whether you do just the right amount of something and whether you do it just at the right time. I always knew this but reading about Daniel Lubetzky's journey and decisions in Do the KIND Thing made it even more apparent.

Daniel spent most of a chapter explaining the challenge faced when you actually succeed and get funding. Objectively you think that's when a company has it made, but as Daniel explains, if you want to stay lean and true to your purpose and culture, you have to walk a fine line. What is worth the investment and what is just a waste of hard-earned money? They decided to put the investment money into a separate account and withdrawals had to be approved by Daniel himself. The question he always asked himself and his team was whether any expenditure would help the business grow.

There were times, though, when his board argued that he wasn't spending enough and was therefore limiting growth. A great example of this is sampling. During the lean years, giving away entire KIND bars for free was more than the company could afford, so they'd cut them up and give away small pieces for potential customers to taste. After getting funding, Daniel was eventually convinced to invest in a true sampling program where complete bars (and sometimes boxes) were given away to attract customers. The ROI was larger than Daniel expected and proved that the extra money was well spent.

Similar to the balance of when to spend and on what is the question of when to do things. The easiest example of this is when to look for funding. Daniel held off until his company was fairly successful and the lack of capital was actually holding it back. Since their valuation was higher then, he was able to maintain more of an equity stake and control, but even then he waited until he found the right partner. Also, there were several large partners they did not approach until their product had traction and they had the resources to keep up with these partners' demand.

The funny thing about balance and timing is that what's right for one instance won't be right for the next and you have to constantly revisit all factors. One of the KIND methods to do this is to thing AND instead of BUT: they're always looking for innovative ways to disprove assumptions and add value. 

Have you had to figure out the right balance and time for a major decision? Did it go well? Why do you think it did or did not?

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