How can you tell which things you should focus your limited time, money, and energy on to get the best results in your business?
With so many things pulling at your attention, it can be challenging as a business owner to know what should get your attention now and what can wait.
It’s easy to end up operating in a reactionary mode that stretches you thin The fog of working in your business day to day clouds the path ahead.
So, how do you clear the fog and gain clarity about the best roadmap for your business?
When I was five years old, I went on a hike with my grandpa that led to a large, white letter Y painted on the side of the mountain (a reference to the name of a local school).
What should have been a two-hour round-trip hike turned into a four-hour trek in the hot sun?
We’d been so focused on the ground in front of us that we strayed from the main path.
For a couple of hours, we traversed ravines, followed deer paths, and hoped we were headed in the right direction.
After a good deal of wandering, we finally emerged into a clearing strewn with white painted rocks. We had finally arrived.
It was intriguing to my young mind that a field of white rocks formed a letter on the mountain when viewed from afar.
Upon returning home, I listened as my grandpa stood in the front yard with my mom, pointed up at the side of the mountain, and explained the long detour we’d taken.
From where we were standing, miles away, the path seemed so clear. Even as he pointed to the ravine that took us away from our destination, I could clearly see how we might have gotten back on track much more quickly than we had.
Guiding your business to success is much the same. When working in your business day-to-day, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees.
All we can see is white rocks, not the letter on the mountain.
All we can see is the ravine we are stuck in, not the path to the desired destination.
So how can you gain the needed clarity to find the best path ahead for your business successfully?
First, you must dedicate time to thinking strategically about your business.
You’ll never gain clarity by constantly working IN your business. You have to step back and spend time working ON your business.
This can’t be a once-a-year thing. You need to check in with your strategic plan regularly.
Second, you have to zoom out and look at your business more holistically.
You need to look at the entire business model and how each part affects the others. You need to identify which aspects of your business present the most significant opportunities for growth before you can choose which specific strategies to focus on.
Third, you have to get an outside perspective.
We all have blind spots. There’s no way around it. Smart business owners recognize this and compensate for it by getting input from others. Even if you are excellent at helping others see the path forward, it’s challenging to do for yourself.