Building Brand Without Bottoming Out

Consider the following for a brand over time: price goes up, volume sold increases, and costs go down. I’ve learned that these factors are an effective measure of how well a brand is growing.

Sounds like any growth is therefore positive, as many would believe. But what happens when growth is uncontrolled?

Imaginably, current customers would suffer. In the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) industry, if more qualified professionals cannot be hired quickly enough to keep up with demand, the existing professionals providing services would be squeezed. Communication would degrade. Rather than lifting the image of the brand, the opposite could easily occur. 

Moreover, if too many professionals are hired too quickly and the work is not won as expected, profitability would tank.

I have watched an AEC company very successfully grow its practice over the course of a dozen years, but every step was taken with caution. Markets were vetted–and are continuously vetted. (In fact, if an office is no longer in an area that brings in significant revenue, notwithstanding any other advantage for leaving that office open, senior management does not hesitate to shut those doors.) Experienced personnel already familiar with the brand often change locations to facilitate growth. An increase in revenue is achieved, but modestly and continuously over time. 

This has taught me how crucial it is to approach growth strategically and cautiously. Just because a firm may be able to double its profits in a single year, does not mean it should.