Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.
While the future may be a little unpredictable, most remodelers believe there will be a future. While we will see ups and downs in our business and lives, most yearn for moving to a better and positive place in the future.
Now that the economy is more stable, I find many more people and business leaders discussing what the future of their business could or should look like. Some of the more common questions I receive while giving a talk or working with advising business include:
- How do I grow my business?
- How can I find and develop future leaders?
- How do I develop a world-class sales team?
- Is my present business infrastructure what it needs to be for the future?
Generally after some interesting dialog to understand their market and the present health of the business, I come down to one simple question:
What do you want in the future?
Nine out of 10 design and construction businesses are small in relation to Fortune 500 businesses. Most of these businesses exist because a person such as you had a passion, an idea, and gave birth to a small business many years ago. This business grew and probably created a good brand in the community. This business brought on more people and they improved the product, the client experience, and increased revenue. This business started to have a personality or a culture. While the business appeared to have a life of its own, without you the business in its present form would not exist. Without you, the business has no vision, direction, or future.
These are not gloom and doom notions. This is just a description of reality 90 percent of the time. After owners or business leaders process the previous question in which I asked what they want in their future, I generally ask them one more question:
What do you want?
If you are not clear what you want, your business is even more confused and lost. If you can look in the mirror and begin to articulate your future, the business will have a brighter future.
Your remodeling business is a vehicle for your growth and passages. It is a platform for others to create their own future.
The following are a few questions and themes you should consider asking in this process:
Today I am 50 years old, and in five years I will be 55. What would I like to be doing when I am 55 years old?
Try to storyboard a typical day or week in your life at the age of 55. Take into account others such as family members and their ages five years from now (i.e. my 18-year-old son will be 23). If you are not clear what you would like to be doing, at least write down what you don’t want to be doing. This is a simple step but a critical exercise if you ever want to position yourself for the future.
What are some of the obstacles that would keep me from having the above life when I am 55 (or your age, plus five years)?
These could be personal with your family or it could be having the right people in the right seats in your business. They may even be financial. Some of the obstacles could be related to the health of your business today and how smooth things currently run. To properly position your business, you need to remove or fix the reasons that you cannot achieve your goals.
Who can help me get to where I want to be?
This may be family members, friends, or an outside professional coach. Put your ego aside and realize we all need help to achieve the best result. I have always felt that one of the best ways to achieve big goals is to not keep the goal a secret but deputize others to help. Sometimes you also need these sounding boards to create your own clarity of where you want to go, too.
Once you realize the business is you—and this does not mean you can do it alone nor is it an ego statement—then you can begin mapping out your future and see how the business needs to be positioned to allow for that outcome.
Not only will you be happier and more successful, but generally it will then create a platform for the futures of other key team members to happen, too. PR