In business, your success is largely determined by your focus. If you have clarity of focus, your action is purposeful and you will more easily achieve what you set out to do. Your focus will determine whether you thrive, survive or perish.
Business owners who succeed and thrive have crystal clear clarity of vision. They are captains of their ship (visionary leaders) with a clear destination (goals), and they steer their ship in their desired direction knowing the ports to stay at and the best route to take them there (strategies and action). In addition, they have a way to measure their success and progress (KPIs and targets) and regularly check their course and ensure that they are on track. If they float off course, they quickly bring their ship back on track and divert any disasters or problems. They use their environment (customers, suppliers, staff, competitors, etc) as feedback on how they are progressing along the way and continually improve, incorporating feedback on their journey.
Because excellence is their creed, they have systems in place to replicate successes and change or improve any systems that fall short of excellence. They continuously challenge themselves and their team to grow, personally and professionally; they abhor complacency. They think abundantly, and empower and help others to create win-win outcomes.
Business owners who just survive in business focus on doing just that – surviving and breaking even; having enough money to pay the bills and to make ends meet. Because their focus is to just survive, they do just enough marketing, customer service, etc to keep the business afloat for another month. Hence, they get what they focus on.
They are the captain of a ship that slowly travels from one port to another without a clear final destination. The captain is unclear about where they ultimately want their ship to dock and lacks clarity of vision because so much of their focus is on getting to the next port and surviving the next month. Because they lack clarity about their long term vision/destination, they easily get distracted and make detours to other ports. Often they have fingers in many pies only to find themselves not completing the things they start – because they spread their focus and resources too thinly.
Their fears, self-doubts and scarcity mentality drive their survival, and they easily feel threatened by their competition – often losing sight of their own ship and letting it go off course as they focus on what the other ships are doing/not doing.
These business owners are poor captains, often allowing their ships to be hijacked by 'pirates' and others’ negativity. If they have goals and targets, they easily allow themselves to be distracted away from these by others’ doom and gloom, instead of charting their own course. Because of their self-doubts they lack the discipline and consistency required to achieve results, they give up too easily and often procrastinate on starting new strategies. They will do a lot of talking about what they should/have to/need to/want to do, yet they will keep their ship safely anchored to the port they know – and stay in their comfort zone.
Before setting sail, these captains look for everything that can possibly go wrong (bad weather, hitting rocks, pirates, etc) and often talk themselves out of leaving port for fear of the danger ahead. Rather than addressing their fears and self-doubts, they give in to these and never leave the shore to sail the ocean to new more successful shores. Any obstacles they face are good excuses to give up or to stop. The captain’s lack of trust in themselves and their crew has them checking and triple checking everything before they leave their home port. This results in them treading water at best.
A Well Oiled Ship
Your business is like a ship; it needs a great captain (CEO), empowered crew (your team), solid ship (solid product and service offering to meet your target market’s needs), reliable equipment (proven systems that replicate excellence, including a mindset for ongoing success) and maps (clear vision, goals, strategies, KPIs).
How well-oiled is your ship? Does it have all it needs to thrive? Is it leaking, in survival mode or struggling to stay afloat? Or is it already sinking and perishing? Will you thrive, survive or perish in the coming years?
To ensure that you thrive, begin with a clear 5-10 year vision for your business, engage your team in your vision and review it regularly. Then set your key strategic objectives for the coming year and specific goals to achieve these. Next, take action towards those goals, and ensure your team is aligned with these goals too. If you find yourself or your team procrastinating about taking action or not taking any action at all, quickly address the fears and self-doubts that are sabotaging your action. Once you put in place and action these key elements, your business will thrive.