Many of us, when starting our businesses, were testing the waters. Rather than taking the plunge, we put a toe in. “Will this work?” was the baseline. We might even have had a sense of what the answer to that question looked like — what was the “success” that would drive us to keep it going? As our businesses have grown, we’ve discovered where we excel and where we need some help. Sometimes we’ve even accepted help in the areas where we need it; but more often, we’ve made do with what we have. But long term, this approach won’t cut it. Investing in your business is more than doing the client work; the business and your team need you to lead them to the future.
Investing in your business is another way of discussing the common concept of working “on” your business rather than “in” it. It’s easy to serve the clients – that’s usually where we begin in our testing of a business concept – and to put out the fires. It’s much harder to think about where your business will be in 1 year, let alone 5 years, and what your business needs are in order to achieve these goals.
Often, we have some concept of what we want the future to be, but the steps to get there are not clearly defined. Sure, I have some big picture ideas of what my business will look like in a few years, but I still am not clear as to the specific steps I’ll need to implement to get there. In my recent Entrepreneur Organization Accelerator workday, an analogy was used that really resonated with me. If you are shooting a rocket to the moon, you need to know something about the moon. You need to know some specifics about what it will take to get there and, importantly, what range of error is acceptable to still hit the target. With this information, you can recalibrate your activities to ensure you are still directing your efforts toward the success of landing on the moon.
When looking at your own business, you need to know what the “moon” is and then define the steps and key metrics needed to know you are on target. When you see that your actions are not moving your business toward your target, you need to be able to recalibrate pretty quickly. You can only do so with a clear vision of success and the tools to see and understand when you’re going off track. These tools may be regular touch points and key performance indicators, or they may be outside help for a specific issue. Whatever tools you need to reach your goals, it is important to invest in the means to get to your business’ moon.