The business day goes by so fast. So many notes on your calendar, items on your to-do list to check off plus whatever “pops up” requiring attention as the day progresses. As a successful business person, you must constantly ask yourself: What am I wanting to accomplish? Or to take it a step further, ask yourself: What am I chasing in my business?
Let’s define what it means to “chase” something in your business because this happens every work day. It is a business concept important to your business success.
To “chase”, according to the dictionary, means to: to pursue; to seek; to attain; to go in a specified direction; to rush; to obtain; further investigate an unresolved matter; make contact with someone.
To chase something in your business can bring positive, productive, profitable results. Or chasing something in your business may turn out to be a complete waste of time, effort and money if not thought through or analyzed properly. How many times have you chased something in your business only to end up empty handed, so to speak, and having to redirect yourself?
What you’re chasing could be anything. Let’s briefly look at examples of what you may be chasing in your business. The examples will make you more aware of your daily business experiences and decisions – if truly worth chasing for future success, profitability and work satisfaction.
Business people who own, operate and manage a company generally want more business. The more business there is, the better. So essentially CEOs, founders, business owners and entrepreneurs are always chasing more business. What really is being chased is sales volume. Yet more business doesn’t necessarily mean more profit.
At times, business people are chasing profit. The quest for profit can lead you down the wrong path. When you only chase profit the company must bring in a certain amount of volume to produce the desired profit. Even if you’re doing the volume, are you in a position where volume creates profit? What about the costs involved to produce the volume to reach a certain level of profitability? Business can be simple or it can be complicated. Your choice. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself:
- What am I looking for?
- What am I chasing in respect to volume versus profit?
- What do I REALLY want out of the business?
Note: Your ideas, goals, dreams, vision for the business may change over short and long periods of time. So too what you decide to chase in your business.
What you may be chasing in your business is important because it is also about how you will develop a smart, overall business plan. Unless you understand exactly what is required to meet the goals of the business plan and put those plans in motion, exactly what are you chasing?
It’s critical to be careful, optimistically cautious, that you’re going after the right things at the right time. Never doing something due to desperation and attempting to force an outcome. Usually, that type of action in business can backfire on you.
Always ask yourself:
- Why am I in business?
You are in business for one primary reason: Profit.
But it must be for the right reasons with the right business plan, resources and people. Otherwise, you will ultimately fail. Perhaps even damage your business reputation. Only you can determine if it’s worth the risk.
Remember, you are in business for the primary purpose of making a profit, one that can sustain the company. But you’re also in business to:
- Serve the customer
- Hire employees
- To help people solve problems
- Community involvement and economic development
- To make the world a better place through the efforts and innovations of your company.
Without profit, there will be no business. You won’t be able to meet your obligations. Whatever you’re chasing may never see its full scope of possibilities.
Always be asking yourself:
- How will the company continue to make a profit?
- How much volume does the company need?
- What are the profit margins?
- Are company personnel reviewed on a regular basis?
- Are the right people in the right jobs?
- Who does the company need to hire?
There is always something you are chasing, whether you realize it or not. Always something to make better; to improve the business. But you need to know, specifically, what that something is. Otherwise, nothing really happens. Or what does happen, you may not like. So how are you going to make it happen in your business? Only you hold the keys to success.
To become successful, you need to know what business success really is. What you don’t want to do is just show up in the morning, open the doors and go blindly through the day. It’s Monday then it’s Friday. No business goals. No business plans. No understanding of what is happening in your business. At the end of the year you wonder: What happened? Didn’t have the sales volume and profits expected. Now what?!
- What is your product or service?
- What does your company really sell?
- Who is your target customer or client?
I always advise business people to sit down every day in a quiet place where there will be no disruption and just think. Take 10-30 minutes per day. Have a note pad ready either the old-fashioned way with pencil/pen and paper or the modern way with a computer screen. Let whatever comes to mind about your business flow out of your head and write it all down. Some things will never go further than where they were written; others will lead you to more success. But it requires dedicated thought.
To be successful at whatever you are chasing in your business, it’s important to define many things within the business BUT it is also just as important to define yourself. By knowing who you are as a business person and leader of a company will give way to, for example:
- setting the right goals
- making the right plans
- hiring the best team of people to work with
- earning the right profit margins
- keeping the stream of customers steady.
If you are chasing the wrong things in your business, you will not get the results you want or are looking for. Hope is not a strategy in business.
Here are a few other quick examples of what you may be chasing in your business. You can make a personal list of what you are chasing during your daily time set aside to think about the business.
- Chasing debt: Borrowing money for the wrong reasons or from the wrong sources with high interest rates. Ultimately, this can bury you and the business. Do you have a line of credit specifically for your business? Best time to set up such an account with your preferred bank is when the company is profitable and doing well; not when you are desperate to make payroll or need to finance a major project yet the financial statement isn’t as strong as it should be.
- Wrong type of business growth: Often business people think the company is growing but when the hard numbers are analyzed a surprise may be waiting for them. What they thought isn’t showing up on profit and loss statements. How many customers do you really have? Are your customers recurring sales or one time only?
- Big paycheck: I am the first one to say that money and high personal earnings are of benefit. It certainly helps pay the mortgage, the vacation of a lifetime, education of any children you may have or just a nice dinner on Friday night after a long work week. But if you want the big paycheck (however you define that) then you need to ask yourself: What does it take to bring home that kind of money from the business you are in? How willing are you to work hard and smart in the business? Big paychecks come with responsibility and getting the right business results.
- Funding: I see so many articles and hear so much talk about getting funding or investors for companies today. You need to determine if it’s right for your company. It’s about right time; right place; right people; right business growth model. When someone invests in your company often there is an interest or an expectation of influencing business decisions to some degree or another. How much control are you willing to give up? Are you able to keep pace with expectations? Or is it better to just go out there and consistently sell something to keep the business growing on your own with the right team of employees in place? Don’t seek funding because it is trendy; seek funding because it is the right direction for your business. Chase money at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. Money isn’t always the answer to solve business problems and business issues or to reach business dreams.
- Product development: Are company products and services up-to-date and answering the needs of current as well as future customers? Are you chasing the latest or next best product innovations? If so, is it the right fit with business plans and growth objectives? Don’t forget how you can have the right products and services in place but without employee training and enthusiasm you may not see the results or profits you’re chasing. Make certain your business is on solid financial ground before entering into new ventures. Make certain any new ventures don’t divert the company off the pathway of success.
- Staffing: Always be looking for the next great employee that will take your business in the right direction and fits in with the company culture. If you are always searching for new employees due to high turnover or productivity issues, you need to ask yourself: Why? What needs to change to stabilize the company workforce. Why would someone want to work for your company?
When I was in English class during my school years, the teacher taught the following words were necessary in the elements of a story. When writing a story, you needed to always include the following words as questions to have a complete story. These words I found to be extremely valuable and have served me well in the business world. May these words do the same for you. The words are:
These words bring together all the elements necessary to tell your business story or to determine if what you are chasing is a smart move for your business. If you don’t have the who – what – when – where – why – how, then the story isn’t complete. Something is missing. You may not have enough information to make the best decisions for your business. Few words are as valuable to your business as these.
In business also include to the who – what – where – when – how – why sequence the question: What is it going to cost? It will help you understand:
- the direction you’re going
- why you’re going in a particular direction
- what you need to do to arrive at your desired business destination.
Thinking is the pathway to success. Understanding is the pathway to success. Knowing what you are going after, or chasing after, along with having a clearly defined and executed vision is the pathway to success.
May you have the best business year ever!
To your success!