November 30, 2015

Playing the Long Game: Setting Yourself Up For The Future


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Getting bogged down with urgent, short-term deliverables happens. But when you’re in the trenches all day long, it’s hard to remember what you’re working towards in the long-run. While getting your assignments out the door is important, it’s essential to remind yourself what these day-to-day projects help you achieve in the grand scheme of things.

In starting and growing your business, you need to remember to play the long game. And that’s where we come in. At AcceleratingCFO, our team offers strategic financial and planning solutions to help you figure out the best ways to allocate your money for future success. But besides financial services, we also offer advice on running your business. So to get a handle on how to play the long game, check out a few of our tips below.

Much like planning out your day, you need to come up with a short-term strategy: one that efficiently tackles the day-to-day issues, but also sets your team up for future success. To do this, distinguish between the time-sensitive, short-term goals and the more “abstract” and overarching long-term goals.

But how do you separate the two? For one, short-term goals should be easily measurable and have a set deadline. They should also show movement from point A to point B. But most importantly, short term goals are the stepping stones to reaching your long-term goals. So think of these “smaller” assignments as pieces of the puzzle. For example, if you want your revenue to grow by X% this year (a long-term goal), you could analyze your advertising reach for three months (short-term goal). You’ll not only understand how well you’re tracking now, but you’ll also be able to determine next steps to increase overall revenue growth.

In contrast, the long-term goals do not have to be as concrete—remember, the economy could change, the market could completely transform, or your business could pivot in a new direction. So go into the long-term with a basic idea of what you want the company’s future to look like, but be aware of the potential shifts that could happen. And be open to adapting.

Whether your long-term goal is making a certain product quota, increasing your revenue, or simply growing your business, it’s important to let your team know how small tasks are contributing to the big picture. And it’s crucial to ask your team for their thoughts. Why? These are the people in the trenches—doing the day-to-day work. They see what works well and what doesn’t, so heed their advice. While they may be younger, they do have some insights that you may not have. So invite them to be active participants. Remember, engaged employees are happy employees.

In short, set aside some time to determine where you think you want your company to go and what small and large tasks will help you accomplish that. Working towards something greater than the task at hand will keep your company on the right track and your employees energized for the future. And don’t be afraid to get ideas from your team either. Everyone wants to be a part of something great.

Are you prepared to handle the biggest challenges faced by business owners?

Don’t get blindsided by problems that other talented leaders have already solved.

We’ve teamed up with Dr. Hector Lozada, Professor of Economics at Seton Hall to survey business owners ranging from start-up founders to seasoned CEOs. What came out of it is a cheat sheet for sidestepping the roadblocks, bottlenecks, and challenges that plague your colleagues and competitors.

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