I would like to introduce my first guest blogger Maggie Perotin of stairwaytoleadership.com. Maggie is a mom of 1 girl and 1 boy, additionally she is a step mom of 2 boys, she runs a online coaching business focused on helping business owners to lead a balanced life. Read more in her bio below. Take it away Maggie.
I’m sure you’re like the most of us, as a business owner, you’d like your business to last and be healthy. Your dream lifestyle and family well being depend on it.
To achieve that, your business needs a core, a spine that will always be there no matter the changes that happen to the rest of the “body.” This core should help you persevere in times of doubt, say “Yes” to the right opportunities and especially “No” to the wrong ones even if they seem like “once in a lifetime” now.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog series on Change to help my readers understand the anatomy of change, what is needed to embrace it, and how to lead your organization through change. It’s because in today’s changing markets driven by lightspeed evolution of technology, as business leaders, not only we need to adapt it but also rive it in our organizations.
However, there are things in your business that should stay fixed. Things that shouldn’t change at all or not for a long time, even if the strategies, products, or services you deliver change and adapt to your customers’ needs.
Those main three things are:
– the core purpose = the ‘why’;
– the values; and
– the vision
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things so that all the small things go in the right direction.” Alvin Toffler
Let’s talk more about the 3 big things then.
- Core Purpose – why?
When we start a business, the truth is that the main reason for it is hardly ever solely money. Yes, I get it that we want to make a living while running the biz, but pause and think back why did you start it in the first place?
Was it because you wanted to be independent, have total control of your time? Or maybe to be able to lead a balanced life where you can spend time with your kids? Or you want to help people become healthier, feel more beautiful or be more successful because helping others makes you happy?
The answer to this question is your business’s core purpose. Now, it can create a mission, a statement that will embody it. The statement needs to be idealistic. If you think it’s not idealistic enough once you have your first draft, ask, “why do we do that?” and refine your answer. Repeat this exercise up to magic 7 times until you get to a statement that you are happy with and is short of “making the world a better place”.
This way, you’ll define your core purpose as something you’ll always strive for that will never achieve 100. Something close to “make the world a better place.” Why? Because it will keep your business going and help you persist. Whenever you have any doubts about why you should continue to work on your business or feel discourages, the core purpose will give you the answer.
- Core values – how do we behave?
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Roy E. Disney
When you take time and think of core values for your business, they will act as guiding principles that will help you navigate your entrepreneurship journey. It’s because they can assist you in making the most critical decisions when presented with opportunities. Saying “No” to opportunities that look promising but can hurt your business, in the long run, isn’t easy. It can be easier though if you know that such an opportunity doesn’t align with your core values. To put differently, having values gives your business its soul.
How do you determine your business’ core values then?
If you are a solopreneur, look at what’s important to you as a person and align them with your values.
If you already have employees, look not only at your values but also at who is your best team members. The ones that you’d pick to recreate your business if you had to do that in another country. How do they behave when at work, what do they value?
Once you pick several them, put them through a time laps prism. Would you be living by them in 100 years? If yes, keep them. If not, scratch them off.
This way, you can get down to 3 – 5 core values. Your business doesn’t need more. Then, instead of keeping them as one-word principles, try describing them a bit more by answering a question – how do we behave? What do we stand for?
As a reference to help you, here is Disney’s example:
– No cynicism
– Nurturing and spreading of “wholesome American values.”
– Creativity, dreams, and imagination
– Fanatical attention to consistency and detail
– Preservation and control of Disney magic
- A Long-Lasting Vision – where are we going?
“Vision is a destination – a fixed point to which we focus all effort. Strategy is a route – an adaptable path to get us where we want to go.” Simon Sinek
As a business owner, you should create a far-reaching vision on what you’d like to achieve in 10-20 years from now. It needs to be audacious, BIG, and also needs to be achievable, even if the probability at this point is 60%.
To do that you can write it down or if you like visuals, creating a vision board will work as well.
In short, your Vision or Big Hairy Audacious Goals, as Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras called them in “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies,” need to be achievable and will change, unlike your core purpose.
Because once you reach, you’ll need to set up new ones for the business to have something new to strive for and not become complacent.
After you have done all this great and hard work, now you can start developing different strategies that will help you achieve your vision. These strategies will change and adapt to customers’ needs and market shifts.
All that I talked about above will allow your business to be healthy and last. It will also help you to have clarity and focus on the important things as opposed to urgent ones.
When you don’t have that clarity the symptoms to watch out for are:
– you don’t have enough time to accomplish your business goals
– you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed
– you procrastinate
– you don’t accomplish much although you are busy all the time
– you don’t see the progress in your business that you were hoping for.
If you have seen some or all those symptoms in your day to day operations, maybe it’s time to stop and regroup. And if you need help, I’d like to offer you a free strategy session.
Just imagine, applying the right strategies to work smarter as opposed to harder; to achieve your primary goals faster and have more time to lead a balanced life.
I wrote a post for Maggie called Why do you love your business?, click the link to read it on her webpage.
About the author:
I am a mom of 2 (boy & girl) and step-mom of 2 (2 boys). I love spending time with my family & friends, read & learn and be in nature as much as possible.
Professionally, I have been working in facility management corporate world holding operational leadership position for over 13 years. I have done at lot: hiring, caching, mentoring, performance managing, training & scheduling in the 24/7/365 critical departments, managed portfolio of facilities, lead construction projects and North American programs; business analytics, operational effectiveness, technology up-grades and implementations, you name it.
This year I decided to open my own coaching business, Stairway to Leadership.
I help women to unleash their full potential as business leaders by helping them take full control of their time, run their businesses strategically with operational excellence so that they successfully lead a balanced life.
I strongly believe in giving back to the communities we live in. I volunteer when I can locally and a percentage of profits form running my business will go to charities as well.