Capacity, capital and customers. You’ll see this phrase referred to on our websites, social media and on other material developed and distributed by the Birmingham Business Resource Center (BBRC). I began using that combination of words as I envisioned the concept of the center as a “one stop source” for small business financing and related technical assistance.
I’ve often used the analogy of the BBRC a three-legged stool. Use your imagination. There is a stool with three legs: one representing capacity (ability to provide goods and services at a maximum level), one representing capital (cash flow), and the third representing customers buying your goods and services. Now it should be easy to see that in order for a small business to succeed, it needs all three Cs– capacity, capital, and customers. To be honest, all three legs are essential for any business, large or small, to succeed.
Imagine you’re looking at the stool and see that the legs representing capacity and capital are well developed, but there are no customers. In that case, it’s easy to see that the business has problems. The stool is unsafe and cannot stand on its own.
If capacity and customers are available, but there’s no capital, then there are other sets of problems. And if all the capital and customers were available, but the business lacked capacity to meet demand, then the likelihood for success is still going to be limited.
If you saw such a stool with imbalanced legs, you’d consider that it was improperly manufactured, poorly built. You certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting on it. I contend that the same is true for businesses. Imbalances in businesses’ capacity to deliver products and services, the lack of capital resources to fuel business operations, facilitate delivery of products and services, or diminished or poorly developed market opportunities that provide customers must be corrected if a business enterprise is to survive.
Our mission at the Birmingham Business Resource Center has always been to help businesses succeed. Our understanding that these three necessities – capacity, capital and customers – are essential has been the driving force, our mantra, to serve metro Birmingham and beyond. It has fueled our existence and given us the tools necessary throughout the past 25 years to help small businesses start, grow and succeed.