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Dress Rehearsal

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This story appears in the April 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Every few years, just like clockwork, Bill Biach would have a really good year. He'd reinvest earnings in a new marketing campaign, an extra salesperson or an engineer who added expertise to Biach Industries. Then every few years, just like clockwork, profits would plunge and force him to curtail his marketing efforts, lay off salespeople and furlough engineers.

Biach, whose father founded the 26-person, Cranford, New Jersey, industrial design firm in 1955, went through several cycles before seeing that the cause of the bad times was his reaction to the good times. "We didn't realize it, but we weren't managing these investments well," Biach admits. He'd hire an engineer with expertise in a new market, for instance, but fail to add salespeople with experience in that market. "After four or five years, we had this body of expenses we weren't getting anything from."

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