Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Long and Short Of It

In my travels calling on businesses, observing businesses and helping businesses, I see a lot of businesses hurting from the most recent economic dip, and with cash flow always on the mind, it is so easy to look at the cracks in the sidewalk than the horizon. As a business focuses on the moment, this hour, today, the business attitude changes from those that will look 5 years, 10 years and even 50 years down the road. There is a whole different feel. They react differently, respond differently and even communicate with their customers differently.

Of course, when it's in your face, you have to deal with it right now, but to forsake the long range thinking as a result can be a recipe for disaster. Here's some differences that I see:

The Short and Long Of It

  • Short range thinking businesses focus just on the sale, the income, the collection--in other words, the money. It's about survival. The focus is here and now and today. There is no thought of a year from now and many times not even two or three months from now. It's not about a growing business, it's about saving the business.
  • Short range thinking businesses have little or no customer follow up plan, little or no customer communication plan, little or no promotional plans, little or no growth plans. It's still about right here and right now.
  • Short range thinking businesses are looking for quick fixes--an immediate return. There is almost no focus on the Internet in this business. They are still thinking about running ads and getting traffic in the door--a business philosophy from the 1960's.
  • Short range thinking businesses are always looking to do everything themselves. Truth is, with this thinking, they cannot afford to hire anyone to help. Jack of all trades and master of very few is more like it.
  • Short range thinking businesses always have the owner working every day and even putting in more hours than they would if they worked for someone else. They bought a job.
  • Short range thinking businesses are exchanging time for money--selling services for their income, or selling products for their income. Maybe they will add an employee or two to help, but they are still running the business daily.
The Long and Short Of It
  • Long range thinking businesses understand the importance of cash flow and deal with it, yet they are planning improvements in their cash flow by planning to grow and brainstorming constantly on the improvement of their service, facilities and customer base. They know that more customers is always the answer and improving their service will always have rewards.
  • Long range thinking businesses have a customer follow up plan, have developed and continually expand their database, stay in touch in various ways with their past clients and intended prospects. Their customer communication plan is effective and produces results.
  • Long range thinking businesses are always thinking about promotion. They are always promoting their business, their services, their products, their method of doing business. They think 5, 10, 20 years down the road and imagine--yes, IMAGINE their success and greater and greater success as time moves forward.
  • To a long range thinking business, expanding and enhancing their Internet presence is critical because they realize not only the power of the Internet, but the future of it. They are not looking for short term fixes, or necessarily immediate reward, they realize that regular, consistent movement forward will give them the results they need over the long term--and short term.
  • Long range thinking businesses are always looking to have the business run well without the owners. They are always looking for ways to partner with others, hire tasks out to enhance their productivity and lifestyle. They know that they don't know everything and they don't even want to know everything; instead, they find people that are smart in those areas and hire them to help their business grow.
  • Long range thinking businesses are always thinking about RESIDUAL income--income that keeps coming after the work is done. They think short term effort and long term payoff.
  • Long range thinking businesses are always thinking of ways to teach others to take over rather than always run things themselves. They have beach plans, yacht plans, multiple business plans--in other words, growth plans. They think that it's far better to own 10% of a million dollar business than 100% of a $100,000 business. That difference is everything to them.
Which business are you?

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