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Do you "drive your business" as you would drive your car?

How often do you get behind the wheel of your car and start driving aimlessly - with no clue where you are going - or even if all your passengers are on board? Answer - very rarely - hopefully!

In which case, why is that many (most?) business owners "get behind their business desk" and seem to be content with 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, overheads, 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 for business owners to concentrate on short-term priorities - it's just not a good idea to 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 be spending at least 5-10% of their time looking ahead (ideally about 3 years ahead) and concentrating on one (or both) of two key "big business outcomes" - either:

*HOW TO GROW BUSINESS PROFITS and/or

*HOW TO GROW 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 learnt the hard way (often from a start-up business stage) that it is important to focus on juggling the essentials in their business to survive. They learn to "spin plates" and keep about 10-15 plates going. But once the have moved beyond initial "survival" mode - how best to "grow and prosper"? The first thing is to learn some new tricks, and in particular, stop "spinning plates"!

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 (or even come remotely close to doing so).

How to maximize business potential? There are 3 ingredients of success!

Vision %  x Plan %  x Desire % = % chance of maximizing business potential


VISION 

You need to work out "where you are going" (on your business journey) and what you want your business to "look like" when you get there (or at least 3 years down the road). If you don't know those answers how can you possibly get there? 

You need to be able to identify the 3-5 (and no more) "key strategic thrusts" required to make your Vision actually happen.

You need to get your team on board (and "bought in") to your Vision. Gone are the days when you can just tell people what to do and expect them to "blindly follow orders"! They also want to know where they are going (Vision) and why it matters (Purpose). You wouldn't dream of telling your kids to just shut up and get in the car - you'll find out where we are going when we get there (unless its a really nice surprise - that is a recipe for a bad journey!). So why do you think its a good idea not to let your team know where they are going?

PLAN

Think of the Plan as being like the GPS in your car. Once you know where you are going you can concentrate on the best route to get there (but without a destination (Vision) your GPS is pretty much useless).

Basically you need to take those 3-5 "strategic thrusts" (above) and prepare a detailed action plan to begin to make the strategy happen. Better still, stop "spinning plates" and get your management or team to help prepare those plans - so that they "own them".

You need to make your team accountable for delivering their plans - and rewarded for their success when they do so.

You need the right Key Performance Indicators so that it is obvious both to you (and them) if the plans are working (or not). Think of these like having an "estimated time of arrival" (are we ahead of / behind schedule?).

DESIRE

Think of "Desire" as being like the "essential fuel" to get you from "A" to "B" on your journey. Just because we know the destination (Vision) and we know the route (Plan) we are not getting there without "filling up with gas" (Desire).

You (as business owner) need to demonstrate the desire to keep driving towards your destination.

You need to make sure that your team are "engaged" and share your desire.

Sounds simple - but it is perhaps the most important of the 3 ingredients of success - and most businesses leaders are still using 20th Century methods - and then wonder why their team are not "on board".

If you are a business owner, a strategic "Vision Day" should be the first step in your "long-term journey" to maximize your business potential. Just remember - It's never too soon know where you are going (clarify your direction) - and the definition of insanity is for you to keep on "spinning plates" in the same old way and expecting something different (grow profits/ grow value) to happen.

So stop concentrating 100% on the short-term and start thinking about your "big business outcomes"!

Ready to get going on your journey? Start Here