Are We Too Focused On Short Term Goals?

Not a day goes by where I am not asked or I don’t ask someone about growth. We all want to grow our businesses, our incomes, our responsibilities. For regular readers, I’ve written several times about growth areas I see in our industry and in the economy in general.

Fundamentally, there are two ways to grow:

  1. Take more of the pie. Examples include taking market share and doing what you do more efficiently to improve profitability.
  2. Grow the pie. Two examples of growing the pie are expand your product/service offerings or enter new markets.

At its core, every growth strategy is based on taking more of the pie or growing the pie. Most people and businesses focus on taking more of the pie. It’s not necessarily easier than growing the pie, but it’s a lot more visible. We all see market share statistics of our competitors and put dollar signs on percentage points we can take. Salespeople “know” they are better than their competitor and can win more business at an account. A lot of time and energy are focused on short term wins.

It’s a little more abstract to think about how our products can be used differently or offerings we could add that would make our customers’ lives easier. The results often take longer to achieve as well. Given that we all have developed the attention span and patience of three year olds, it can be psychologically challenging to think longer term. Most incentive systems are not built around the long term, particularly in smaller companies – we want results yesterday.

Successful people and businesses balance short and long term results. They invest time and money in both the short and long term. Think about your 1, 3, 5, and 10 year plans, for you, for your business. Do you have them? If not, now is a good time to think about them.

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