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How To Setup Your Business For Success
Understanding Our Motivation: Our Purpose Statement
Our first step in being successful in business is to know where we are coming from and what is driving our desire to succeed.
What propels us forward, is our purpose. This is why we start, or will start, our business. This is why we get up out of bed every day to work. Regardless of achieving success, knowing we have lived out our purpose in the journey is extremely important to having the stamina to finish.
The following video is a powerful TED Talk by Simon Sinek which helps us to understand our purpose and business. He says to start with why, what we believe, our purpose. This purpose will not only help us achieve success, it will inspire others to follow in a way few other things will.
How Leaders Inspire Action (TED Talk by Simon Sinek)
Defining Success: Our Vision Statement
Our next step in being successful in our business is to define our success. We can't know how to get where we are going until we determine where that is!
Many business owners will call this our vision statement, and our vision statement is the "where" we are going, and vision can be tricky.
For those of us who see potential everywhere, it is difficult to focus down enough to pick an area of potential and to go after it. As a business we can focus on many different points, but in many cases we need to be focused so we have the ability to sustain a long term effort towards our vision.
The following video is a TED talk by Jessica Hamilton. In this video, Jessica helps us to think about what success meas to us.
What Is Success? (TED Talk by Jessica Hamilton)
How Will We Get From To Our Destination, Our Businesses Vision? Mission!
With purpose, we now know what is driving us forward, and with vision, we now know what is pulling us forward. The next step is to identify how to traverse the path between the two.
There are many ways to live out our purpose and there are many ways to arrive at our vision, which way we choose to go is our mission. Our mission is the how.
When we concisely define how will we get from point a to point b, this becomes our mission statement.
With a clear understanding of our mission, it is now time for us to brainstorm ideas on how best to execute this mission. This will leads us to the actions we need to execute in order to bring the mission to life.
Mission Critical Items
Assuming we have an idea with value, and we have a market willing to purchase it, there are several understandings I believe we need to have to succeed in the long term. Once we grasp these concepts, we will increase our chances of long term success.
Mission Critical Questions We Can Ask Ourselves
Are we continuum or event driven?
Do we have checkpoints along the way?
Do we know when to call it quits?
Are We Continuum Or Event Driven?
Our first mission critical objective is being continuum driven instead of event driven.
A way to think about the differences in these two, is to think of them in the context of hunting mode and farming mode. When we hunt, we usually kill more than we need and it can sustain us for awhile. Unfortunately, when we operate this way we are always relying on the big kill. The bigger our tribe becomes, the more we have to hunt and kill. If we are unable to find an animal, we will starve.
In farming mode, we are planting seeds for future growth and farming allows us to store up and house food for future use. When we have enough food to sustain us, hunting becomes a bonus, not a burden.
In business, this means we need to create systems which will feed us in the immediate and long term. While we hunt, let's improve how we hunt so we can become more effective. When we farm, let's learn how to become better farmers. When we write down what we learn in our journey, this allows us to teach others who join our team. It also creates less reliance on team members and more on powerful systems. This has a great benefit of relieving the burden of team members to be more successful.
Do We Have Checkpoints Along The Way?
Our second mission critical objective is establishing checkpoints for our journey. When we have a clear vision, we should know when we are making progress towards it or away from it.
If we see where we are and where we want to be, we can now write down checkpoints for ourselves to ensure our efforts are moving in the right direction. If we hit a checkpoint, we can know we are progressing. If a checkpoint keeps getting further away or we pass it below our expectations we can now re-evaluate our actions. This re-evaluation allows us to course correct or reset our expectations to be more realistic.
Without checkpoints, we can find ourselves trekking a long distance before we realize we are lost.
Do We Know When To Call It Quits?
Our third mission critical item is knowing when to end our efforts. There are two sides to this statement. The first is knowing when to end it when we fail, and the second is knowing when to end it when we succeed.
On the potential of failure, we need to identify how much time, money, efforts and resources we are willing to put in before we call it quits. Starting and running a business is an emotional endeavor and if we fail to set an end point before we start, it will be much more difficult to cut ties when we need to. Being in a situation where it needs to end and we keep going is potentially the most dangerous place for a business owner to put himself and his team into.
On the flipside, we also need to identify when we exit on a positive note. When do we sell, give or shut down our business? If we don't clearly define this, we can end up becoming complacent and comfortable after arriving to our destination which can lead to a drop in excellence and accountability.
Purpose (the why), Vision (the where) and Mission (the how) are critical components of building a successful business. If we have these, and we operate in the continuum, have checkpoints and an end game in mind, we increase our chances of success substantially.