The life, focus and energy of a business owner change every bit as much as the season. But something most business owners have in common is the desire to wrap up the fourth quarter strong by meeting the goals we set for ourselves this year.
If you're like most entrepreneurs, you probably aren't taking your foot off the pedal, even if you've hit your mark. You know, better than most, that your vigilance and ability to navigate challenges is a necessary attribute for a business with legs.
It's vitally important that you have a solid grasp of what's controllable such as your professional advisory team, staff, goals, health and satisfaction with your family, home and community life.
Your Professional Advisory Team
Without a quality team of professionals working diligently and together for your best interest, you are exposing yourself to an inappropriate amount of risk. Consider your CPA, attorney(s), financial planner, insurance agent and banker, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are they working for you or do they have alternate agendas that put you second?
- Do they know each other and communicate regularly to discuss issues pertinent to your success?
- Do they proactively reach out with advice, information and news that you need to make sound decisions?
- Do you believe you are getting good value from their service?
- When was the last time you had an in-person meeting with all your experts where you shared your vision, expectations and goals?
How committed are your employees to your vision? Are they--as Jim Collins would say in "Good to Great" 'on the bus or off the bus and sitting in the right seats' for their competency?
It can be tempting to limp along with a poor or barely adequate employee because firing them is difficult. But unless you can remediate the situation and help the under-performer rise to a more appropriate level, you know what you need to do.
As you review your company's resources--market share, opportunities, challenges and potential landmines, you need to ensure the sound, rational and reasonable goals you set for yourself are achievable.
You still have time this year to make things happen. Discuss your goals with your professional advisory team and your staff; get the buy in and support you need now to increase your chances of success.
Okay, so here's the elephant in the room. While there are many aspects of your health you cannot control (i.e. accidents, illnesses, disasters), there are still plenty of things you can do. For example: do you see a doctor for an annual check-up, exercise regularly, eat sensibly and get a reasonable amount of sleep?
The idea that there isn't enough time to exercise or you'll see your doc next year is nonsense. Not only are you putting your life in jeopardy, but you're also impacting your family and business.
Your Overall Satisfaction
Many entrepreneurs are Type A, hard charging, single-minded "bulls" that put their head down and follow their passionate desire to create a successful business to create their "footprint" of meaning.
I suggest you look to channel some of that sublime energy to make sure the other aspects of your life are in alignment. Business might be booming but are you feeling satisfied with your family, your home and your community?
When I speak to entrepreneurs, I often ask what they like to read. Of course the usual answers came back: business journals and books, daily newspapers and self-help books. Nothing shocking.
But one person I connected with recently clearly stood out--probably the most successful entrepreneur I've had the pleasure of meeting--because he reads mostly fantasy fiction. When I asked why, he said, "It takes me out of my constant thinking about my business and in fact, helps spur and support my creativity."
As you head into this next season and begin to plan for next year, consider these questions and how you can best transition, adapt and prepare for the challenges. Good luck down the home stretch.