There are times in business that long-term success must come at the expense of short-term gain. In this article, entrepreneur Brian Colpak outlines six steps to help visionary leaders attain success in the long run.
It’s not always easy to keep your eye on your long-term goals. Too often, we get sidetracked by those potential short-term wins. But, achieving lasting success requires the discipline to focus on the future.
The six steps that follow are guaranteed to help any business owner maintain focus and avoid the distractions that cause chaos.
1. Work Your Plan
Remember your business plan? Yeah, the one you worked so hard to develop when you first started your business but then gradually stopped using as a guide.
Pull it out, dust it off, and update it if you need to. Your business plan outlines your original vision for your company. Unless you have solid evidence that you were mistaken in your founding assumptions, don’t abandon your business plan.
Identifying a shiny new idea – even if it’s a good one – is not an adequate reason to change your company’s direction. The promise of a quick short-term win rarely turns out to be better than your original well-thought-out plan, and chasing every new idea can make your business appear to be erratic. Customers, partners, and financial backers get nervous when they see erratic behavior.
Avoid turning your company into your industry’s version of “Bob’s Jewelry Mart and Pancake House.”
2. Don’t Avoid Change
Because you are sticking with your original business plan and vision, by no means indicates that you should avoid change. Staying the course does not mean you should stop looking for operational efficiencies and innovative ways to build the company you set out to create.
Don’t change your company’s direction. But do find better ways to achieve your goals.
3. Understand your Risk Profile
Every person has a different risk profile – your willingness and ability to take risks. If you are uncomfortable making large investments with a minimal probability of a significant return, then don’t do it. Find an incremental way of accomplishing the same thing.
On the other hand, if your style embraces risk and you can accept the potential downsides, go for it.
The danger for business failure exists when business owners acquiesce to external pressure to operate outside of their comfort zone and then can’t stay the course to the end. It’s changing horses mid-race that cause chaos for a company in the long run.
4. Embrace Growth
There is always an element of risk in running a business. A business owner or manager with a very conservative risk profile may find it difficult to make even changes necessary for growth.
As the familiar euphemism says, “If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.” This saying is true about your business. At least some of your competitors are growing, so if you’re not, you are, relatively speaking, shrinking.
Rather than chasing shiny new baubles, invest in technologies and innovations that will help you grow toward your vision.
5. Keep an Eye on the Future
One of the primary reasons that many companies fail is that they take their eye off the future they first envisioned. It can seem mundane and not very future-oriented to keep pursuing the same vision and following the same business plan. But, done right, it can be exciting and future-focused.
We’re not talking about continuing to make and sell buggy whips. There’s no future in buggy whips, but by keeping an eye on the future, yesteryear’s buggy whip maker may well be tomorrow’s leading global manufacturer of personal transportation accessories.
6. Be Passionate
The last step we’ll discuss here is probably the most important. Companies that lose their way by changing directions over and over often do so because the leaders have lost their passion for the original vision.
Staying passionate about an idea requires a dedication to making improvements. Guided by your risk profile, you can remain passionate about growing your business into the future by adopting new technology and innovative processes. All the while staying the course you initially set out for yourself.
About Brian Colpak
Brian Colpak is a tech entrepreneur and the founder of Continental Global. After spending most of his career in managerial positions, he founded and led a company that was recognized as one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Massachusetts before starting his current company. These days his main focus is on an upcoming project in Dubai.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.