| The first critical business mistake
Want long-term success in your business? It may be time to start clarifying your vision and inspiring your stakeholders to join you on your mission.
BUSINESS. Want long-term success in your business? It may be time to start clarifying your vision and inspiring your stakeholders to join you on your mission.
Many business owners, even profitable and apparently successful ones, have a business that is overwhelmingly reliant on their constant presence, demanding their personal time, attention and input to continue to function and survive. With a business like that, even if it’s financially rewarding, they end up stressed to the max with relationships at breaking point (or worse).
Most owners of SMES (small to medium enterprises) become more focused on short-term survival than long-term success. Typically, short-term cash requirements become the driver for most things that happen in the business. If the need is constant, the needs of the future development of the business are often totally neglected.
Most business owners spend their time putting out fires – but the only way to stop this problem long term is to work on prevention rather than cure. If you deal with the causes, then you won’t have to worry about the fires at all. This means taking time out to analyse what’s going wrong and planning what needs to be done to achieve the goals.
With a short-term focus, the tendency is just to bounce from one crisis to the next in a reactive mode. When you get stuck at this level, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and the vision and purpose with which you started the business get clouded and lost outside the scope of your daily focus.
This is the cause of so many issues that occur in the business that undermine its success. Einstein once said that you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it. That is true in business as well. You can’t solve problems of execution by thinking only about how to execute better. However, often the problems in execution disappear when vision, objectives and strategy become clear and are the focus of everyone in the business.
When your whole team is on the same page because of the clarity of working for a compelling vision, inspirational objectives and well thought out strategies, the power of that focus overcomes many of the frustrations and barriers that arise when the focus in just on short-term challenges.
Normally, most people start a business with a clear idea of what they personally want to achieve from it – but it doesn’t take too many challenges or setbacks before they lose sight of their initial dreams and goals. Soon, the daily pressures of finding and pleasing clients, working with difficult employees and managing finances push the initial goals out of sight.
Most businesses drift aimlessly, with the ongoing challenges dictating the amount of time and income the owner is able to enjoy. Long hours working in the business become commonplace for the stressed owner. After a while, the owner can easily feel that running their business is like being on a hamster wheel every day. A lot of effort is expended going nowhere.
If you do not start out with a clear vision, or lose sight of it at some point, the business will ultimately drift aimlessly. Without a vision there is no direction. Having a vision allows
the owner to instil the business with purpose and meaning. Without a compelling vision, a business has little chance of creating any real value.
There is leverage inherent in a compelling vision when that the vision is to create a business that works for the benefit of everyone who is involved in it; for the customers, for the employees, for the suppliers and financiers as well as for the owners. When the vision is like this, it cannot help but compel all stakeholders to want the business to succeed and to do their very best to enable success to happen.
The promise of forward momentum with everyone involved in the business working cohesively together with the aim of making the business succeed may seem an impossible objective for many business owners. However, this is how the most successful businesses are started and how they are managed for success.
If you are stuck in your business, working hard but not making enough headway, perhaps you are making the mistake of having a short-term focus. If so, it’s time to change how you think about your business and start to clarify why you are in it and what you want to achieve over the long term in a way that adds value to all, then start working on inspiring all your stakeholders to join you in your mission. n
If you do not start out with a clear vision, or lose sight of it at some point, the business will ultimately drift aimlessly.
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Greg Roworth is a business growth specialist and author of Run Your Business on Autopilot – How to Leverage Your Business for Maximum Profit in Minimum Time. He is the founding director of a team of business growth specialists at Business Success Systems.