Don't Let Short Term Problems Ruin Your Long Term Vision

Don't Let Short Term Problems Ruin Your Long Term Vision

Posted on December 13, 2016 Mary Merritt

Just the other day I was sitting on the couch at my house, relaxing quietly as my dog Draco laid on my lap. Since I rarely get an opportunity to do so, I slowly started to drift into a warm, cuddly nap. Then, out of the blue, I got a frantic call (from someone who will remain anonymous): "Mary! My website is down! Maybe I broke something. This website stuff is not for me...maybe we should just take it down?"

This was going through their mind after their website was down for mere minutes. Yet, the website had brought the person in question about 10 new client leads in the first month that it was up. THREE of which converted into high-dollar sales. Needless to say, I gently talked this person off the ledge.

That little situation brought something bigger into my mind. A larger problem that plagues nearly every company that I have ever had contact with: KNEE JERK REACTIONS. We've all been there, we've all done that. Something happens when we panic; we create a band-aid solution that has absolutely nothing to do with our long-term vision and strategy.

Let's back up just a little. The entire point of starting up a business is to make it succeed. Yes, it sounds very simple when you say that sentence out loud...but you would be surprised at how messy your focus can get when you are in the thick of it. Building a website, getting a logo, getting business cards; all of these items should be the last thing on your mind as you are starting up. These are just the tangible things that we think we need straight away. They are the motions that we run through as we are starting a business. I am here to tell you that these items, while very important, are mere distractions that can cloud what is the single most important facet of your business. Yes, your vision is what I speak of.

Before you get into the business tangibles, you should be thinking about the intangibles. What are your company's core values? What is your value statement? What sets you apart from other businesses like yourself? What are the types of characteristics each employee absolutely must have? Building out a persona for your company is one of the most important things you will do. The best part? It plays a role in the creation of all your business tangibles. When you say: "My company is honest, hard-working, and FUN," a designer is going to be able to help you create a visual mark that resonates with your company's spirit. A writer is going to understand your company's tone more clearly as well. It also will help you write a marketing plan that makes sense for the type of audience you are going after. So your long-term vision plays a role in your short-term goals, as it were.

Now comes the kicker. After you've been in business for a while, it is incredibly easy to find yourself creating quick little fixes for problems that don't really exist. Let's say someone tells you that your pricing is too high. Your knee jerk reaction would be to lower your price, right? That is precisely the kind of behavior that I am asking you to forget. You thought long and hard about your pricing, and it was part of your planning process before starting the business. You've (hopefully) done your research and you are working on positioning yourself in the industry properly and competitively. Why on Earth are you letting this one person mess with you?

You're probably wondering what I would do in that same situation. To me, the answer is simple: Walk away. When I built my brand, I built it to speak to a specific audience, and anyone who thinks my pricing is too high doesn't reside in my targeted audience. I had a simply wonderful conversation about this with a local photographer yesterday that made me realize just how important this is to our entire industry. Also, when you move your pricing up and down on a case-by-case basis, you're not being a solid company. You're being "wishy-washy" with your convictions and that will reflect poorly on you.

In conclusion, the next time you find yourself making a rash decision based upon someone gulping up all the air with panic, slow down. Breathe. Do your best to stick with your long-term plan, and analyze the problem after it has cleared up. Part of your long-term vision should include some kind of feedback loop, so analyzing your problems and discussing how they could be handled in the future is part of the bigger picture as well.

To all of my fellow business owners out there: Stay strong! Figure out who you are and stick with it! Don't let short-term problems mess with your amazingly awesome long-term vision.

photo credit: thekellyscope via photopin cc