Top Line Is Vanity

One very wise client that I deal with once made this insightful comment about sales growth:

Top line = vanity

Margin = sanity

Cash flow = reality

The big take-away here is that growth for the sake of growth makes no sense.  While it feels exciting to get the big sale, the real issue is, what is that sale dropping to the bottom line?

This also applies to acquisitions/big purchases.  Why do you want what you’re buying?  Can you make a great business case for it, or is it really about your vanity?  If the margin isn’t there, selling twice as much to make up for it probably isn’t going to help!

Lots of growth businesses make less in real dollars than they did when they were half the size.

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