Dave Sullivan, co-founder of Aileron and managing partner of Shamrock Group, spoke to a full house at the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association member meeting held on March 1st. His message was simple: Think. Plan. Act.
In a recent study conducted by Shamrock Group, business owners spend 10% of their time reviewing past events, 85% of their time dealing with day-to-day issues, and 5% of their time positioning their company for the future. Dave’s challenge to the DRMA members was to spend more time focusing on the future of their business.
There are three steps to focusing on the future:
1. Think – Ask yourself the following questions: Why should my business continue? What do I plan to accomplish and is it worth it? What do we do that matters and how do we know it matters? Where should resources be invested? When and how do I exit my business?
2. Plan – It is important to set goals for your growth, financial planning, and the various facets of your business. Take the time to select the right customers and understand the depth of their needs. Continually evaluate your capabilities to serve your customers. Identify and understand your competitive threats.
3. Act – As an owner, you must focus on the important issues, not just the urgent or immediate. Invest in programs and customers that fit your company best. It is important to aim for small victories and take the time to broadcast and celebrate your successes. Continually evaluate your relationships, processes, and offerings.
The impact of embracing structural change improves control in any operating environment. Anticipating future marketplace reality, allows you to think and plan before you act. This leads to a gradual rather than a forced redesign of the business. Your business will change by default however it will only get better by design.
Dave’s final thought to the DRMA members was this: “There is no such thing as a normal business environment!” If you focus all your time on yesterday, you will have limited guidance. If you focus solely on today, you will address your current problems. By committing yourself to focusing on tomorrow will improve control in any business environment.
What are you looking at? Yesterday, today, and tomorrow?
“Change is an unnatural act performed by two, or more, non-consenting adults.” - Anonymous