The first stage in developing growth plans for your business is to determine where you want to go in a personal context – in other words, why you want to grow your business. You need to decide this in a personal context, before you can approach the business context – otherwise, the two may be out of sync, and lead to disaster.
FIT WITH LIFE PLAN
Given that you are about to embark on a lengthy period requiring significant commitment and sacrifice, it is important to establish or re-establish, why you are involved in your business. The answers to “why?” must link to your life plan, to the things and people that are important to you and to your view of where you want to be personally in five years’ or 10 years’ time.
QUESTIONS FIT WITH LIFE PLAN
- What do you want out of life?
- Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
- Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time?
- Does all this fit with growing the business?
- Why do I want to stay involved in the company?
These questions appear simple but the answers are critical to the future of your company.
For example, if you have a young family and would like to spend more time with them, seeing them grow up, how will you cope with the tensions caused by working the many 14- or 16-hour days that may be necessary as you grow the business? Will you resent the lost time? Will your family resent it – and you?As you already know there is a heavy price to be paid for business success and your choices do effect the people around you. Are you willing to keep on making those sacrifices and why?
If your aim is to retire in five years’ time, with sufficient wealth not to need to work any more, can you achieve this by growing your business? Could you retire now and not need to work? Could you retire now – and manage with less income, or make up the shortfall by working part-time?
It is unlikely that you will be able to answer these questions on the spot. It may take you an hour or two — even a day or two — to think through your answers properly. Take plenty of time to think them through – take as long as you need. Ultimately, this is where you decide your future and that of your business. And make sure that you involve your spouse/partner and your family in your thinking.
YOUR OWN VALUES
Why are values important? Remember that you, the other promoters and the management team are key to the business. It follows then that the business must reflect your way of thinking, your way of life and your values. If you are uncomfortable with the way in which you must do business, or with the people or circumstances with which you have to deal, you will not be successful at your business. Therefore, you must make sure that the business is true to yourself, your beliefs, your ethics and your principles. Your own value system is an important element in achieving growth within your business, since it is a key determinant of the future shape and future direction of your business. Identifying your value system and documenting it is a useful task at this stage in preparing to grow your own business.
QUESTIONS YOUR VALUES
Identify your personal values by answering these questions:
- What is important to you?
- What do you believe in?
- What do you stand for?
- What aims in life do you have?
- How do you treat other people — especially in circumstances where you do not need to care about their reactions?
- What do ethics mean to you in your daily life?
- What do ethics mean to you in your business life?
- If you didn’t have to earn a living, what would you do with your life?
- How do you define success?
- What do you think of people who have not achieved success?
- By your definition of success?
- By the marketplace/society’s definition of success?
- How would you like to be remembered?
YOUR OWN PASSION
Unless you are passionate about what you do in life — or in business — you will neither succeed at it nor enjoy it. There is a clear link between passion, drive and success: The more passion, the more drive, the more success.
What are you passionate about in your business?
- What are you passionate about in life?/Why?
- What are you passionate about in your business?/Why?
- Do growing your business and your passion(s) fit together?/How?/Why?
I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, and I’ve never met one who said, “I want to get rich” who did. The successful ones say, “I want to find a way to do animation faster” or “I’m really interested in adhesion”. (Prof Jon Goodman, University of Southern California)