Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

How Short-Term Thinking Will Crush Your Business

When starting out on any business venture, the #1 appeal (other than being your own boss) was likely the money. Because most entrepreneurs set up their business with money as their primary drive, it’s not likely that they’re looking at the big picture. Of course, while generating revenue is important, it’s something that takes time. And without a solid plan in place, this kind of short-term thinking is the most common reason why so many startup businesses fail within the first year after launching.

So what causes business owners to be so careless? Investors want their returns, and rather than looking at a 5 or 10-year plan, businesses are under much more pressure today to think about how to achieve instant success. At the same time, business owners also want to be able to pull back from managing all aspects of their brand.

But in order to do that, you need to be able to see the forest, not just one tree a day.

Know Where You Want to Be So You Can Get There

It’s easy to just think of success as this sort of concept that “you’ll know once you see it,” but if you don’t have any goals for your business besides making money, you won’t really know if the actions you are taking are worth your time.

It all starts with a good business strategy. Consider the scientific method: you should be able to forecast where you want to be with measured, quantifiable targets, and when that time arrives, you should equally have the data to look back at weeks, months–even years– and see the effects of the actions you took.

Stick with what works and drop what doesn’t– it’s as simple as that. A business that is too focused in-the-now will have a difficult time analyzing trends, and they’ll only be able to see the “good” and “bad” days. Having a successful business means more than just crossing your fingers and hoping people want to spend money with you every day. You must court customers, earn their loyalty, and know why they enjoy doing business with you.

All of these things require careful adjustments over a long period of time. Some strategies may take longer to get going; others might start strong and then cease to be effective.

Tips for Staying Focused On the Future

The temptation to make everybody happy and just bring home as much money as you can every single day is strong, but not sustainable. If all you’re looking at is a weekly or monthly earning goal, you’ll cut yourself short when you’re running strong enough to surpass it, and you’ll wear yourself out when it takes longer to happen.

A benefit of long-term goals is that it takes a lot of small, carefully planned choices to reach them. The business world definitely does not operate in black and white, and a campaign that brings in fluctuating results over a month but has a steady above-average cost can be deceptively hard to put a stop to before it becomes a problem if you only focus on each individual day.