Tue 1 Sep 2009
Photo by Kyle May
When you first learned to drive a car (or bicycle), you probably looked at the road immediately in front of you. You were looking for potholes, the edges of the road, and other obstacles/hazards that you were heading for. You were focused 10% on the distant road and 90% on the near road. Your driving was probably a bit overreactive – jerking the wheel or quickly hitting the brakes to avoid something. As your confidence and skills improved, you no doubt learned to scan the road (not just ahead, but surrounding you) and to anticipate problems. You focus shifted to 80% of the distant road and 20% to the near road.
The difference in your driving perspective applies to your business perspective as well. The difference between a small/startup business and a big/established business is planning strategy (and yes, resources as well). A new business is mostly focusing on their near-term issues (because the fear is: “if you don’t focus on near-term, you won’t have a long-term”). Long-term issues is a luxury they can’t imagine. As a result, small business mentality involves a lot of sudden stops and starts. Surprised consequences. And white-knuckled driving.
An established (big) business understands the need to be aware of the current market situation, but trusts that they can safely navigate through short-term problems. The bigger success is achieved by focusing on the long-term goals. Anticipating problems. Creating opportunities.
If you want to keep driving yourself crazy, keep focusing on short-term issues. If you want to drive like a professional, devote more resources on your long-term goals.