This series of articles is entitled ‘The Next Steps’ and, by definition, steps suggest movement, action, momentum. Taking no action or standing still is very rarely the best action, and over time it can often equate to your business actually going backwards.
As such, all businesses need to look out for opportunities that come their way, and also to work hard to create their own opportunities. Planning is so much more reliable than relying mainly on luck. In business, as in life, the harder you work the luckier you are likely to be.
Most entrepreneurs often share a number of very similar personality traits. These would include self-confidence, vision, and determination, to name but a few. But the very reason that these character traits are so common is that in order to start a business and to take it through its growth journey, and all that that entails, means that it is necessary to make many decisions along the way. Some of these decisions will be taken alone, whilst some will be taken with the input of other people such as co-founders or trusted advisors.
Many of these decisions will be routine and relatively insignificant, but there will also be a number that will be much bigger decisions and might fundamentally change the business. Many such decisions have had to be taken over the last year or so as businesses have had to adapt and pivot as a result of lockdowns and other restrictions resulting from the pandemic. What can often be seen with hindsight is that it is the bigger, bolder, braver decisions that are the most impactful, and they are the ones that can really seize the moment.
But do not be confused into thinking that these bold decisions that seize the moment are rash decisions based on nothing but gut instinct. The best entrepreneurs and businesses know the market in which they operate very well, and already have a good understanding of the competition and what the next trends might be. This enables them to predict the future to some extent, and so to be well prepared for it, in that they are very well positioned to both seize unexpected opportunities, as well as to manoeuvre themselves to create their own.
Being prepared means to be constantly assessing your own products and services as well as your own systems and procedures, ensuring that the business is selling what the market wants, at the price that it is prepared to pay, and having the systems in place to do this efficiently. It also means constantly reviewing the competition and updating your business plan and strategy. All of these things will enable you to run your business as well as possible, but it will also enable you to make rapid but good decisions and seize the moment whenever opportunities arise.
Think of these activities as constantly checking your mirrors when you are driving, so that if you do need to change lanes or take other action quickly, you can do so safely as you already know what is around you.
So, whether the opportunities come along by pure luck, or they are the result of a lot of background time and effort does not really matter, what matters is that you seize the moment and maximise all that it can bring.
1st June 2021
in British English