“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
You know who said that? None other than Aristotle. That’s right, planning for success is an idea that’s several thousand years old. Sure, luck is always a factor, but you still have to plan to be ready when that luck comes around. A business that’s just “maintaining” is a business that’s being passed from the fast lane by the competition.
Define the meaning of success
Success is defined differently by different people. For me, success is having time, freedom from financial worry and concern, and the ability to work on my business and not in it. Success to others may be year-over-year sales growth, or scaling your business to other states or countries or even growing staff counts. Everyone is going to have a different definition of success.
The key is to define success for you. Money is great because it provides the freedom of time and the freedom from worry, but money isn’t the end-game for everybody. Define success by your individual criteria, and recognize that it doesn’t have to match anyone else’s idea of success.
Begin with the end goal in mind
When I first started my business, my sole focus was getting it off the ground. For years it seemed like all I was doing was surviving, so the thought of “the end” seemed so far away that I never paid much attention to figuring out what it looked like. But it was only once I figured out what the goal looked like that I realized how successful my business really was.
You need to define your business goals for both the short-term and the long-term. If you want to build a global company, you need to act accordingly. If your goal is to hit $1M in sales, you need to figure out what brings in revenue and then scale accordingly. If your goal is to sell the company for $10M, you must figure out each short-term goal in a plan that creates a company worth $10M. Regardless of the goal, there needs to be a plan that matches it, but you have to start by identifying the goals.
Build the right plan
One thing I run into a lot in construction is envy for what others are doing. My company was never as good as Company XYZ and I always based my business goals off of someone else’s model. But once I realized that their plan wasn’t necessarily right for me and my business goals, I became a lot happier.
Just like defining success, everyone’s plan will be different. My plan, for example, included building a staff around me that was competent and trained so that I could reduce my day-to-day involvement in the operations of the business (that’s what I mean when I talk about “freedom of time” and the ability to work on my business and not in it). Another plan was to effectively and accurately calculate my cash flow requirements and growth strategy on a monthly basis in order to save money, often by not taking it for myself (freedom of financial worry and concern).
By defining success, I could more clearly see what was needed to accomplish it. By setting goals, I could then create a plan that suited my business needs (systems and routines, training, bill pay strategies, and more).
Include your personal goals with your business goals
As an owner, your business success is generally tied to your personal success. And while success in business is not necessarily synonymous with success in your personal life, it should be! After all, if your business generates millions of dollars per year and you can’t afford to put gas in your truck, something is broken.
For me, defining success in my business was derived from the success I wanted personally. I wanted to have freedom of time so that I could golf, learn to speak spanish and fly airplanes. I wanted to have freedom from financial worries in my business so that I could have enough money to pay myself a salary that allowed me to do all of those things without worrying about making payroll or maxing out my credit lines. It may sound selfish, but remember, it’s your business.
If you’ve taken the time to figure out where you want to end up, you’ve got the plan in place to get there and you are aligned personally with your business goals, the last (and hardest) step is to execute the plan. Why? Because working your plan is hard and it takes time and money. Unless you start your business with a couple million in the bank, you can’t start taking 12 weeks of vacation right out of the gate.
Believe me, I know your hands are full. You are likely still the glue that holds everything together in your business. But executing your plan is the only way for your business to be successful: all the planning and goal-setting mean nothing without execution. At AJCEO we offer programs that can help you with all of this. Whether you need consulting to help you define success, someone to help you articulate and build your plan or even someone to handle the execution of it, we can help!