This morning, I had a marvelous breakfast with some remarkable women entrepreneurs here in Atlanta. We started a CEO School™ Breakfast Club, and we get together each week for a "reality check" with other owners, and (in my case, at least) a BIG energy boost.
One of the things we talked about is the value and importance with stepping back from working IN our businesses to get a "bird's eye view" of it from 30,000 feet. The importance -- and challenge -- of keeping our tactical day-to-day actions must be in alignment with our longer term objectives.
Do you know how FEW business owners do this?
Being CLEAR on your long term goal for your business can help you soar over your competition.
Perspective and context are universally accepted to be important concepts to building, growing, and managing businesses. But why?
Well, for one thing, if we do not apply these concepts, we likely are treating our business as a "job" rather than as a business. As an owner, we need to be able not only to understand our operations, but to be cognizant of how our activities connect to our longer term business Vision. I also refer to that as your Definition of Success,
OUR individual definition of success is what matters. No one else can tell you that in order to be considered "successful," you must look like 'this.'
What are YOUR priorities? Bet they're different than mine, or hers, or his. And that's OK! And as it should be. We don't often take the time to really think about this, however...
To develop a clear statement of what your version of success looks like, there are specific process steps you can take to paint the picture of your Vision, incorporating your unique, long term mental image of what's in your mind's eye.
Even if you spent a good deal of time creating a VIsion statement for your business when you started, I bet you have learned a lot since then. Is it reflected in your Vision?
When I launched C-Suite Advisors (my corporate entity) in 2006, my Vision was "to consult with small business owners to create their business plan." OK, that's still a teeny bit true. But it's so much more.
Now I specify my ideal client: women business owners in the US who are committed to building a growing a business they LOVE.
And HOW I do it is different (and scalable...). I focus on group teaching and coaching to reach a wider audience for those who can benefit from business advice and coaching. More women can afford the investment in their future because of that.
The information and resources CEO School for Women™ provides has also evolved. Consultants, it is said, provide expertise and advice for a fee. Sounds like a "job" to me. I didn't want to create business plans for other people -- I wanted to help owners LEARN to plan. I wanted to "teach them to fish," as the saying goes. That's different from a lot of competitors, and has a much longer value to the client.
The high-touch, one-to-one advising my business started out offering is obviously not a scalable business model. (No, I didn't think through the business model before I dove in head-first.) Group coaching solved one problem of my initial model. But I still hadn't discovered a key differentiator of CEO School™ -- relationships and peer-mentoring.
We women are communal by nature. So learning as a group is a natural for us! We also learn by watching and listening to others. Too often, we find ourselves working IN our business and chained to our desks. Or we don't know how to find other women to connect with who can offer perspective different from our own. So providing such connections is key to our identity and Vision.
As our business has evolved, so does yours. I think it was Oprah or Dr Phil who said, "When we know better, we do better."
Continual learning, and curiosity to learn more, is another universal characteristic of entrepreneurs. Some people want a quick fix, when in reality there is no such animal to long term success. We sure can waste a lot of time and money figuring that out (at least I did).
That's just one reason I'm committed to making every CEO School program practical and able to be immediately implemented. We focus on foundational learning that can benefit any type of business and industry.