Waiting periods are never fun nor easy, but crucial and beneficial in the long run for the success of your business. This time, we are talking about playing the long game in business, ultimately building value in your business. Katina and Megan discuss the benefits of looking ahead and keeping the end in mind as you’re operating throughout your day, week, month, quarter and year.
What we cover in this episode:
- 03:13 – Keeping the End in Mind
- 12:00 – Visualize, Build, and Pivot
- 20:30 – SYSTEMology
Keeping the End in Mind
Part of playing the long game in business and keeping the end in mind is setting realistic expectations. Having a vision and an idea of what you want to accomplish, how you will go about it and who you need on your team is all part of the process of building value in your business.
Starting a business with an open mind and a realistic outlook of where you are and where you want to be from a financial perspective is a good place to start. This will help set yourself up for success long term, rather than focusing on the short-term, immediate gratification. Intentionally building structure in your daily operations is a sacrifice that you can reap benefits from later. You have to plan for growth when you establish structures so you don’t have to backtrack or rush later on when you see the growth.
You don’t know what you don’t know, which is why we always talk about consulting an advisor. Failing to seek advice from an expert decreases your chances of success because you don’t have access to the tools you need to plan on the larger scale of playing the long game. Remembering that you are in the business of building business now and not solely offering a product or service is a mindset an advisor can help instill.
Consider the Stanford marshmallow test, in which researchers left small children alone with a marshmallow for 10 minutes with the promise that if they could leave it alone until the researcher returned, they could have two marshmallows. The 30% of children who were able to defer their short-term gratification realized higher social, cognitive and mental health outcomes in the decades that followed.
Just the same, you may have a waiting period in your business to reap the benefits. You have to put in the work every single day and there are so few people who have the willpower or discipline to do this.
Visualize, Build, and Pivot
We like to talk about having a vision and really visualizing what you want. This means actually thinking through the specifics of what your business is going to look like in the future. The future can be as near or far as you would like; but really looking into it and working through how playing the long game will impact you in your personal life and your business is the type of in-depth visualization that is needed.
Some questions you might ask yourself are, how many hours will you be working? What kind of payroll do you think you would like to have? What is the income you want? What do all of these mean for your life? What kind of personal objectives are you looking to achieve? You have to continually visualize the next level and feel how it will be in the future in order to get there. This creates a path to building value in your business.
Typically, the biggest asset that business owners have is their business. With this being said, you want to make sure that this business is also of value to someone else in the future. What is the overall value of your business? Personalizing it too much can hinder your business down the road when it comes to investors or the selling process. Creating and building an infrastructure and a plan can assist in being valuable later when and if you decide to sell or retire. Of course, planning for the future does not mean you forget about the present.
Knowing the trends of the industry you are in and what is going on in the economy and how it impacts you now is important as well. No matter what your end goal is, you will have to pivot your plan due to impacts from other external factors, such as the economy and market trends. You have to find a balance in playing the long game and adapting your strategy now to fit what is needed for the overall success of your business. The ability to pivot and shift when necessary is essential. Remember, you’re not doing business in a vacuum.
Putting systems in place such as processes, procedures, and technology, helps make your business as efficient as possible. In the book Systemology by David Jenyns, he talks specifically about four stages of business systemization; survival, stationary, scalable and saleable. These four stages correlate to playing the long game in business.
When you are first starting off, you are in survival mode. You typically don’t have access to as much information, knowledge, experience, tools and resources that you need. Then you transition into a type of stationary mode. In this stage, you may have leveled out and are hopefully starting to keep and maintain well but not at full capacity. This leads to the third stage, scalable, where you have to come back to your strategic thinking and reinvest in your company. Whether this looks like adding a new system or hiring on staff, you have to take these steps to grow your business. All these come together to the end goal, for some people, of selling your business. If you have built systems and put in place processes and plans, this makes it easier for someone to come in and take over.
Of course, the goal is to remember that playing the long game is building value in your business. Don’t pick up the marshmallow too early, practice patience and hard work, so you can earn more marshmallows. Be encouraged to stick it out through the struggle. Build your team and you will build your business.