| 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.

Living Now - - Editorial - by Greg Roworth

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.

Con­nect with other read­ers & com­ment on this ar­ti­cle at www.liv­ing­now.com.au

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.

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