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Sage Advice from the Wise Cheshire Cat

Do you remember the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice comes upon a fork in the road and seeking advice from the Cheshire cat asks:

Alice:  “Which road do I take?”

Cat:     “Where do you want to go?”

Alice:  “I don’t know.”

Cat:      “Then, it doesn’t matter.”

 

The cat makes Alice seem silly for asking when she didn’t have an idea as to her destination. Yet, when I speak to many business owners and leaders they also don’t have a clearly defined destination of where they want their business to go…a vision. Running a business without knowing where you want it to go is like going on vacation without any thought as to where to go. Name me one Olympic athlete who didn’t have a dream of competing for a gold medal. You can’t. Their dream of reaching the Olympics (their destination) is what gets them through their rigorous training.

It is common for business owners to get into business without establishing a vision for the business 10 – 15 years hence. Without a clearly articulated destination they default control of the company’s future to external forces. Perhaps this is why I hear so many business owners complain about the adverse effects the economic downturn has had on their business. If you know where you want to go, you’ll navigate your way through any rough waters you may encounter. They don’t rest attainment of their destination on excuses and blame.

Successful owners and leaders have a future – orientation; they know what they want and are constantly focused on what is necessary to achieve what they want. They are clear on:

  • the future size of their business, in terms of annual revenues, profits, number of customers, number of employees
  • number of locations and where they are located
  • their target market and the products/services they sell
  • their contribution to the community

Employees are very interested in the ultimate destination of the business. Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” states “average companies give their people something to work on…the most innovative organizations give their people something to work towards.” To truly inspire your employees and to achieve the growth you want from your business, you must articulate your vision for the business.

Begin by closing your eyes and thinking about your personal life that your business must support. Reflect on your community and what size business would most benefit your neighbors. Then, look to your potential customers and design a business that maximizes value to them. I’ll be glad to speak with you if you would like help establishing your vision for your business and your personal life.

 

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