Why business owners really need to know “where they are going” and “what they want their business to look like”!
How many times do you get behind the wheel of your car and start driving aimlessly – with no clue where you are going? Answer – very rarely – hopefully!
In which case, why is it that most business owners “get behind their business desk” and seem to often be just “driving aimlessly about” with apparently little idea of where they are heading?
Actually that is not strictly true – business owners are usually very clear on their “short-term direction” – important things like revenue, margins, profits and market share. In fact they are mostly very good at looking ahead (say) a week, or a month, or a quarter – but rarely much further ahead than that.
It is obviously 100% essential to concentrate on short-term things – it’s just not a good idea to only do that 100% of the time!
Basically -If business owners ONLY EVER concentrate on the short term they will ONLY EVER concentrate on the short term!
Depending on what stage business owners are at in their “business lifecycle” they really need to spend (about) 5-10% of their time looking ahead (typically about 3 years) and concentrating on one (or both) of two key “big business outcomes” – either:
- HOW TO GROW THEIR BUSINESS PROFITS – and/or
- HOW TO GROW THEIR BUSINESS VALUE
So why don’t most business owners do that?
Most business owners have had no “proper training” in how to look ahead longer-term. They learned the hard way that it is important to focus on the essentials if their business is to survive. But once they have moved beyond initial “survival” mode – how best to “grow and prosper”?
First thing to say is that most business owners don’t need much, if any, help with whatever it is they actually “do” (they are already experts at building or selling or servicing their particular “widget”!).
What most business owners need some help with is “building a business” – mainly because they are most likely to be doing it for the first and only time. Without some help most business owners are highly unlikely to maximize their business potential.
How to maximize business potential? There are 3 ingredients of success!
“VISION” x “PLAN” x “DESIRE” = MAXIMIZED BUSINESS POTENTIAL
- You need to work out “where you are going” and what you want your business to “look like” in 3 years time.
- You need to identify the 3-5 (and no more!) “key strategic thrusts” required to make your vision happen.
- You need to get your team “bought-in” to your vision. Gone are the days when you can just tell people what to do and they will “blindly follow orders”!
- You need to take those 3-5 “key strategic thrusts” and prepare a detailed action plan to begin to make the strategy happen. Better still, get your team to help prepare those plans – so that they “own” them (see below).
- You need to make your team accountable for delivering their plans – and rewarded for success.
- You need the right Key Performance Indicators so that it is obvious both to you (and them) if the plans are working (or not).
- You need to have the “desire” to keep “driving forward” until the plans have been successfully implemented and the vision becomes reality.
- You need to make sure that your team are “engaged” and share your desire.
Just like when you are going on that journey in your car – the first step before you set off is to know where you are heading.
A strategic “Vision Day” should be the first step in your “long term journey” to maximize your business potential.
Most business owners will benefit from some facilitated help to do this. As stated above – it’s not something most business owners are used to doing for themselves. Just remember:
It’s never too soon to concentrate on clarifying your business direction
- It really doesn’t matter what you “do” or your business type – the same fundamental principles always apply in every business.
- The only thing that matters is your desire to grow your business profits and business value.
After all – the “definition of insanity” is for you to keep doing the same things and expecting something different to happen. So stop concentrating 100% on the short-term and start thinking about your “big business outcomes”!
Ready to give it a try? Contact Paul Latham
Intiruged but still thinking it over? Read our 3 page overview: Collabor8 – Why do business owners need a Vision Day?