Business Goals: The Long and the Short of it

Staying faithful to a grand business strategy doesn’t mean you can’t be nimble.

Staying faithful to a grand business strategy doesn’t mean you can’t be nimble.

A CLEAR VISION or understanding of who, what and where you want to be should guide all strategy. It provides a guiding light for the organization, righting staff and management when they stray off course, which can easily happen over time. A long vision requires patience, however, which is often in short supply in the business world. Any company looking far into the future must patiently formulate short-term and intermediate strategies that will keep it going until the vision can be realized.

Burnaby’s Delta-Q Technologies Corp. was founded by Ken Fielding and Rob Cameron in 1999 with a vision to someday enable electric car use. This was a grand goal; in the late ’90s, SUVs still ruled and the idea of an everyday vehicle running on electricity was almost laughable outside extreme environmental circles.

Alternative-fuel options being tested at the time, such as fuel cells and natural gas, further relegated electric vehicles to the fringes. Even though it was entirely possible that electricity could be the winner in the alt-fuel race, the company founders knew they would have to be patient if they were to realize the vision. But they also had to make a living in the meantime.

Knowing that it was still in the dark before the dawn of the common electric vehicle, Delta-Q, backed by a group of private investors, formed a phased strategy that began with perfecting technology for use by a targeted market in the interim.

For several years, the company developed power conversion technology in the form of a better battery charger that could be used by small, purpose-built electric vehicles such as golf carts. Battery chargers had existed for years but were notoriously inefficient; in its first phase, Delta-Q set out to change that. After four years of development, it began rolling out a charger (or power conversion unit) to the small, purpose-built vehicle market. Soon it had become the main original equipment manufacturer for makers of electric golf carts, which were rapidly replacing carbon-fuelled carts because they are cheaper and easier to maintain.

Meanwhile, the business environment changed considerably, and the world, particularly in Europe and Asia, discovered the environmental benefits of electricity for powering vehicles. The electric car may not be on the average consumer’s radar just yet, but many organizations are recognizing that electricity is a good source of energy for fleets and for vehicles used in contained settings and for specific purposes.

As that market grows, Delta-Q is entering Phase 2 – producing power conversion units for electric-powered vehicles used in fleets. It is even looking at supplying equipment to makers of lightweight electric cars that are emerging in such places as Japan for use in crowded cities. The company plans to perfect its larger-scale power conversion for this market just as it did when small vehicles such as golf carts were being electrified.

Then in the near future, when the electric car becomes a common reality, it will be ready. And its perseverance will have paid off.

Take the long view. In this time when many technology companies are being built to flip in a few years, some tech operations have to think in terms of decades. Choose wisely.
Get the backers on board. Patience can be in short supply among backers, so make sure financiers are on the same page and share the vision.
Keep the vision alive. You may have to focus on the short term to survive, but keeping the long term in view will guide you through the obstacles along
the way.