I’ve been working in the success arena for decades.
I’ve seen and experienced first hand, the thrill of victory. I’ve also been privy to the agony of defeat. More frequently, I’ve played witness to the growing pains and state of stagnation many small business owners struggle to breakthrough.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) tells us that approximately 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. Sadly, no one documents the number that stagnant and struggle.
A lovely green ceramic basin filled with water resides outside my door. The unblemished water tumbling from the bamboo spout is incredibly soothing. My only job, according to my Japanese landscaper, is to keep the water clear and pure.
My landscaper, Hitoshi, is the former landscaper at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. He’s taught me much about Japanese tradition during his twice-annual pilgrimage to tend to my plants. When I asked him the purpose of clean, clear water, he explains that water, immediately outside an entry, influences conversations that occur within the dwelling.
Water unattended, and left to become dirty and cloudy, results in poor communication and inadequate conversation within the domicile. Fresh water, on the other hand, promotes communication that is clear, hopeful, and optimistic.
As happens with most small business owners, I get busy. My time gets consumed with lots of other things – besides keeping the water in the basin sparkling. Plus, being a bit confused about how to “simply” keep the water clean without chemicals, I procrastinate. Outside of emptying the entire basin, keeping the water crystal clear seems overwhelming.
Sadly, when a body of water lacks the required attention, stagnation sets in. The water turns various shades of green. Even the feral kitties in the yard refuse to drink from it! Eventually, it starts to stink.
Sounds oddly like a business, doesn’t it? When days, weeks, and months are filled with “stuff,” critical pieces of business development are neglected. Our once clear and inspiring vision becomes cloudy.
Given the complexity of the 21st-century business, it’s only a matter of time until the neglect begins to wear on the fabric of our business that ultimately leads to stagnation.
Vision: The Business Clarifier
Who can’t relate to the feeling of wringing our hands wondering what we should work on next? It’s not enough to wring our hands. Action is required.
What’s missing for stagnant small businesses is a vision that is crystal clear; one that is compelling and absent of doubt. Aligned with your core values, a business vision that integrates and feeds your personal life is, by the way, how you achieve work-life balance.
How clear is your vision?
How much detail can you define in your vision?
Does it excite you to action?
Does it illuminate the road to achievement?
If you were to share your vision, in all its glory and intricacy, would I be able to pinpoint exactly where you’re going? Or, would you leave me scratching my head in wonderment and confusion about what exactly you’re trying to achieve?
Let’s find out!
Once you have a clear sense of what you want your small business to look like, your future (like the basin of water in my yard) will flow unimpeded.