“I think Starbucks created a platform and ultimately, a runway for many other companies to emulate. I suspect if we had not achieved what we have, there would have been many regional brands that would have succeeded. But I’m not sure there would have been a national brand of the scope of Starbucks.” – -Howard Schultz, CEO
RUNWAY is a word with many meanings: a leveled strip of smooth ground along which aircraft take off; a raised aisle extending into the audience from a stage, especially as used for fashion shows; an incline or chute down which something slides or runs. The general idea implies momentum – the driving force gained with velocity through a process of events. Sometimes we forget that runway is also a business term. A runway is a launching point for an enterprise or endeavor. It propels something forward to an ultimate goal.
In fashion, the RUNWAY is a path down which models walk and pose to showcase the creativity of a designer. We marvel at the mannequin-like figures who showcase their beautiful designs. It’s easy to miss that at ‘fashion week,’ whether in New York or Paris, the RUNWAY is also where decisions about fashion trends are made that will affect millions of people and represent billions of dollars in revenue. We teach at MORTAR, an entrepreneurship incubator, that a RUNWAY is also an emergency fund for your business. It’s the amount of cash a business owner has on hand to buy themselves time for the months when they’re not making money. If a business expends or ‘burns’ $5,000/mos but the owner has saved $25,000, we say they have a ‘runway’ of five months.
Which begs the question…how long is your runway? How many months could you live without a paycheck or other influx of cash? In America, 40% of Americans don’t have $400 for an emergency. They have a runway of zero months. Without a savings runway, we not only can’t take off; we can’t sustain ourselves during a hard time. In Genesis 41, Joseph dreamed that Egypt would experience 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. In verses 34-36, he recommended that 20% of the harvest be collected and stored to prepare for their coming time of hardship. The wisdom of this proposal for them to create a 7-year runway pleased the Pharaoh, and Joseph was appointed 2nd in command in the Country. This great decision, “also brought increase as every other nation came to Egypt to buy grain.” (vs. 57)
We don’t know what lies ahead, but we’ve been told since we were kids to save for a rainy day because eventually, it’s going to rain. Now is a great time to build a substantial runway for yourself, your family and your business.
“Trauma creates one of four types of people: victims, rescuers, or perps—and if you’re really lucky and really strong, and very willing and brave, survivors.” -Allison Anders- American Director The