We all have vision. And sometimes, because of one reason or another, we are forced to change that vision.
Take Marcia Brady, for example. She was looking forward to going on a date with Doug (big man on campus) but he broke their date when something suddenly came up (her ugly, bruised nose). But, as it turned out, Doug wasn’t everything he was cracked up to be and Marcia had a better time going to the pizza place with Charlie (the nerd) anyway.
We love to ask our clients, “How did you get into this business?” Never once has someone said, “When I was in kindergarten, I knew that someday I would be designing communication strategies for healthcare companies.”
As a child, I never would have predicted that I’d be helping businesses owners grow their businesses for a living. And when I started Anchor Advisors 10 years ago, that wasn’t my vision either. I originally started Anchor Advisors as a business that helped business owners “fix up” their businesses so they could sell them for a healthy profit. Well, that worked well – only in some cases, when the businesses were all “fixed up,” the owners would want to keep their businesses instead of selling them. That felt good! Because of my work, I made them like their businesses. So, I changed direction and got into the business of helping people “fix up” their businesses with the intention of keeping them and enjoying them. (And for the record, I still do help people who are interested in selling their businesses – in fact, I’ve helped three clients like this in 2011.)
While Anchor Advisors still helps business owners grow their businesses, we (it’s no longer just me) are always changing our methods to accomplish this goal. Four years ago, we were dealing with business owners whose businesses were growing out of control and they needed help bringing their businesses to the next level. We focused largely on leadership development and the establishment of processes.
Then, as the economy started taking its toll on businesses, we focused less on growth and more on helping people protect their businesses. Growth was still a goal, but it was on the backburner as we tended to the hotter issues at hand.
Now that we’ve made it through the fire, our clients are making money again. But all the cutting and changing focus has taken a lot of the fun out of the business. It’s not always so clear what that next right step is. Where do you want to your business to go at this point? Probably before the economic crisis, your vision was quite clear.
We are seeing a lot of business owners reinvent the business that they are in, much like Anchor Advisors, Ltd. did in 2003 (and how we are still doing today). Do we need to focus on bigger clients, or smaller clients? How does our message need to change, or our mix of services need to shift? For many clients now is a time with a lot of ambiguity, there’s money to invest in your business but it’s not clear how to invest it.
As messy as this time is, it’s critical to make use of it to take you in a strong new direction. But all the cutting and changing focus in recent years has taken its toll on
many of us. We’re afraid of change – even if it’s going to put us in a better
place. But, staying pat will just leave you behind the eight ball when the business environment does improve. We don’t know what that new vibrant economy is going to look like, but chances are it’s not going to look like the market we just left!
With so much changing in the world around us, it’s more important than ever to “own your course”. Decide who you want to become and actively move to make that happen. If you find yourself stuck, get help. There’s a window of opportunity and we all need to use it to be ready for the next strong tailwind.
Photo credit: PinkMoose