Posts tagged with: strategic focus
The problems, excuses and barriers to achieving big hairy audacious goals boil down to three underlying defects. Dozens of other reasons can be collected under the umbrella of these three primary reasons.
- No strategic focus
- Risk averse
We continue here with the second reason.
No Strategic Focus
Ninety-five percent of all owners don’t have a strategic focus for their business. They don’t know what they should be doing as the leader of their enterprise. They are more than busy, scrambling hand to mouth or from fire to fire, with no time for anything more. They believe there’s no time left for planning, strategy, scheduling, budgeting, forecasting, contingency planning or succession planning – never mind exit planning. Their priority is always tactics and today; the future can wait. For example:
- They don’t know what it will take or cost them to achieve their goals. They are running blind. Either they don’t know it or they avoid thinking about it so they don’t have to see their risky behavior.
- They are still stuck being the technician, the expert, the professional in their business. That’s a great place to start your business but based on that paradigm, you can’t build a business that will produce the wealth and financial freedom you need in the long run.
- They are very good at what they do but never took time to set up the business to support that expertise/offering. When your time is consumed in delivering product or services and there’s no time to structure the business to run independently, you haven’t built a business, you’ve simply hired yourself for your technical prowess. Without a strategic focus and a systematic plan to work yourself out of a job, you can never retire and you can never maximize the valuation of the business.
- They have no clear focus on what they should be doing. They are comfortable in the everyday “busy-ness” working in the business. Their effort has no larger, longer-term objective.
- They have no clear focus of what they are driving the business to achieve. When you don’t have a long-term goal, you will never know when you get there. And you can easily drift in any direction that a “new shiny object” takes you.
- Even if they have an overarching goal stated, it’s not broken down to meaningful and achievable milestone goals. Thus, no one takes action to achieve them. owners have the business in their head. Their team doesn’t. So even if they share their big hairy audacious goals with their team, unless they can break it down to what that means for each department and each team member, these people don’t know what action to take to achieve the owner’s goal, because it wasn’t explained in terms on which they could take direct action. Therefore, nothing happens.
- They have no tracking and measuring in place. Without tracking and measuring tools to monitor results, the CEO has no information on which to make decisions, develop a strategy or set even bigger goals. Without the reports and data, no decisions are made and no actions are taken.
- They don’t have metrics or key performance indicators in place. Every business has metrics and key performance indicators. But most owners don’t know what they should be or even ask for them. Without a dashboard of key performance indicators to focus on, the owner is left blind in making decisions to move ahead.
- They still run their business as a hobby, not a business. When this is the case, the marketplace treats them as a hobby business too. Sadly, too many owners excel at creating and selling their products but neglect building out the foundation for their business. By not focusing on the business as a business, they stumble forward by luck with no plan, constraining growth and minimizing the company’s value.
- They never accepted the mantle of ownership and leadership. Entrepreneurs who won’t lead, should not claim the title of owner of a business. Even with the best product in their market and great team players, they can’t maximize profits because they lack the business acumen to grow or sell the business. Their narrow focus prevents them from achieving the financial freedom they wanted their business to produce.
- They lack, or never learned, the skill sets required for leadership and team building. Not everyone is a born leader. Not everyone has an aptitude to learn these key social skills. Owners who are not interested in developing key leadership and team building skills struggle in the role, resisting what it takes to excel.
It’s natural to focus on what you know and what you do best. However, it’s irresponsible for so many owners to avoid, sidestep and procrastinate about laying a business foundation and a strategic focus that could totally prevent their demise.
“You must remain focused on
your journey to greatness.”
— Les Brown:a top Motivational Speaker and Best-Selling Author
Clearly, 95% of all business owners (large corporations, small businesses, even family businesses) are still in denial of why their businesses are not growing explosively, achieving the goals they laid out in their business plans. Otherwise, they would have fixed these handicaps long ago.
I want to suggest that all the problems, excuses and barriers to achieving big hairy audacious goals boil down to three underlying defects in their thinking.
When you take ownership of these key defects in your mindset and take action to banish them from your business, only then can you break through to grow your business faster (and easier) than you ever thought possible. These defects are a minefield for all size businesses.
These are the same gaps in mindset, skill set and knowledge that ultra-wealthy owners experience in their businesses. The difference is that to join the 5 percent-ers, they were willing to take action to purge these defects in their business in order to achieve their wealth and abundance.
Three Crippling Reasons
There are dozens of reasons why owners don’t achieve the goals they set for their business. I only want to discuss the overarching problems that prevent the majority of owners from building the business they wanted to lead, businesses that would provide financial independence and the lifestyle of their dreams.
Dozens of other reasons can be collected under the umbrella of these three primary reasons.
- No strategic focus
- Risk averse
Some of you will immediately say, “but that’s not me, I don’t have that problem.”
Let’s explore each one in more detail to see if any of these are relevant to why you are not on course to achieve the goals and growth needed to make a planned, financially independent exit from your business. Each one is a flag (some obvious, some subtle) that you are murdering your business.
Owners frequently self-sabotage any lofty dreams and goals they had when they started the business. It’s certainly not intentional and sometimes not even conscious. They hurt themselves and the business in a myriad of big and small ways. If it was only one little thing, their strengths would carry them through to lofty heights. Instead, it’s a range of self-defeating beliefs and habits, one on top of another, that bring them down. A few of them are: attitudes, assumptions, ego, capacity, strengths, resources and timing.
In addition, what allows owners to perpetuate this self-sabotage is that every one of these beliefs is a blind spot. They don’t see it. Or if they do see it, they are good at denying that it’s a problem. For example:
They think it takes great luck to achieve big goals. This is a nice safe excuse to avoid looking in the mirror. Owners who believe this self-talk aren’t serious about doing what it takes to achieve the profitability that will provide their financial independence and true wealth.
They try to go it alone. In my book, this is the most crippling sabotage problem and the easiest to fix. Owners who try to do everything themselves, wear every hat in the business and control everything, limit the business potential simply by their own capacity and the hours in the day. They persist in taking the hardest road possible in the mistaken belief that that’s the role of the entrepreneur.
They are rigidly settled in current routines. Have they ever heard of the definition of insanity?
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” — High-tech variation
You can’t grow a business to get the returns you seek by perpetuating a business model or systems that you learned 10 or 20 years ago or in a different industry. Being close-minded cripples any business. Business vitality and inspiration starts with the owner. The owner’s indifferent attitude and assumptions about what can be done, how to get things done, and their lassitude about what it will take to achieve goals and success can wipe out all opportunities for growth and revenues.
They don’t know how to plan for and implement a plan for goal achievement. Owners who leap into business without a plan have no direction, no preparation, no forecast, and no expectations. They launch like a ship without a rudder. They can’t steer. And if they could steer, they don’t know where to point their ship because they don’t have a goal to aim for. Arrogance and ego can help them bluff for a while. But soon, without planning and systems implementation to achieve clear goals, the business can turn to dust or disappear. The market will move on.
They burn out, go broke or give up before building a foundation to support the business of their dreams. Most owners launch their business with all the passion, commitment, and drive they possess. After the honeymoon, they get consumed in all the work – often more work than they ever thought possible – but don’t see the rewards.
Because of sheer love of the business and dedication, this can go on a long while. Without laying a business foundation under every element of the business, the business is coming up short of their expectations and they get disheartened. When they are too tired, too strapped for cash, have a really bad day or their health fails, they want to quit instantly. They haven’t set the business up as a business. These owners are still integrally involved in everyday operations – they’re a prisoner of the business. They haven’t built up cash or equity in the business. They haven’t cleaned up or documented systems in the business. As a result, they’ve put themselves in the worst possible position to sell their business on the least appealing terms.
They lack confidence in their ability to succeed. They are unsure that all their efforts will pay off. Self-doubt is a poison that seeps into every decision, every action and every dream. When owenrs perpetuate a lack of confidence it permeates the entire organization, setting up a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.
Regardless of how self-sabotage presents itself in your business; it boils down to a lack of absolute clarity and commitment to your goals. You’re just going through the motions.
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
— Nolan Bushnell: Founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s