Everyone wants to know whether their business is successful but they often ask the wrong person. The best person to ask is you: Don't let other people define your success.
Most of us are in business to generate cash to fund our lifestyles but there are usually trade-offs that are necessary to achieve this. Looking outside your business towards your personal aspirations is a much better way to understand whether your business is successful than measuring it against some arbitrary financial metric. The fact is that we all want to be successful but each of us has a different idea of what success looks like. Some of us might define it in terms of wealth, others in terms of recognition, family relationships, community involvement or ability to spend time pursuing interests outside of work. Most of us would include a combination of all of these but their relative importance varies between us.
The key to business success is to develop a business that helps you achieve your personal goals and ambitions and that meets with your personal values. Failure to achieve this is one of the major causes of stress and discontent for many business people.
One of the most powerful ways of defining your own success is to develop a 20 year life plan and the good news is that this really isn’t hard to do. Start at 20 years and work backwards through 10 years to 5 years and finally 1 year. At each stage, answer the 4 questions below with reference to your previous answers. For example, at the 10 year stage ask yourself what you will have had to achieve to be on track to achieve your 20 year target. At the 5 year stage ask yourself what you will need to have achieved to be on track for your ten year targets etc. Here are six steps that show you how to do this:
The Oxford English Dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” It follows that you can't be successful if you don’t know your aim or purpose. Developing a 20 year life plan will help you clarify this – and help you understand how successful your business really is. Twenty years is a long time, plenty of time to get on track if you are feeling derailed. Develop your 20 year plan and you may be pleasantly surprised by how successful you are.
And finally, if you want a snapshot to determine whether you and your business are healthy, take a look here.