In the solitude of the Zone, a panoramic view will open up, allowing you to see your life more vividly than ever before. In the absence of noise and commotion, you will almost immediately come face-to-face with the most fundamental questions. Who am I, really? What is my life purpose? How can this business help me achieve my life purpose? Where do I begin?
Define Your Life Purpose
Your success depends on two things—knowing exactly what you want and paying the price to get it. You must begin by clearly defining your life purpose. What would you do if you had all the time and money you needed? How might you leave the world a better place than you found it? What do you want people to say at your funeral service about your life and accomplishments?
For each person, this will be different. However, many people are drawn to a life of purpose—a life of service, of building, growing, or improving something important to them. Real purpose and motivation spring from a deep love of someone or something, and it is usually not the business. What is your soul’s desire? What is your life purpose? Write it down. Begin now!
The true purpose of your business, then, is to help you achieve personal and financial freedom so that you can accomplish your life purpose. How much money must the business pay you and how will it run itself when you are gone? Perhaps you will want to sell the business. How much must you sell it for to accomplish your personal goals?
Put your business vision statement in writing. Describe what the business will look like when it is “done.” What is its size, scope, and operation, and how much money will it generate for you and other stakeholders? Paint the picture in as much detail as possible.
Develop the Master Skill
Successful entrepreneurs are intensely goal-oriented. They always achieve more than those without goals. They know what they want and are focused single-mindedly on getting it—every day. “The ability to set goals is the master skill of success” (Brian Tracy, Goals!).
Goals set the direction, the distance, the pace, and the point of completion. In the game of work, the goal must be clear and the “coaches” must use every intelligent stratagem to achieve it. They adapt the game plan to changing conditions, but continually keep their eye on the goal line. As with all good teams, they have the determination to overcome obstacles and adversity and are willing to pay the price of victory. Setting and reaching goals is a fundamental part of winning in business and in life.
Victory starts in the mind of every great athlete. This is also true for the entrepreneur. Everything in our man-made world began as a thought or idea in someone’s mind before it became a reality. There is a common understanding in science, philosophy, and religion: “As a man thinketh, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). You become what you think about most of the time.
While in the Zone, creative thinking is stimulated by the intense desire to reach goals and solve business problems. Your mind generates ideas and solutions consistent with those goals. The business begins to transform first in your mind and then on paper. Through a step-by-step process of implementation, your ideal business becomes a reality.
Once you know your life purpose and have a vision of what the “finished product” of your business will look like, you roll up your sleeves and get to work on the specifics. Focus on the key areas of the business first, where there is the biggest payoff. “Plan your work and work your plan.” A small amount of time developing a business plan will save a huge amount of time in implementation. To avoid coming up short, a deadline must be a part of every push toward your goal.
In the Zone, you confront the brutal realities pertaining to your business shortcomings and operational weaknesses. You identify specific areas for improvement and then go to work to create processes and systems that produce a more desired outcome. You put in writing the policies and procedures that employees must follow to get the best result every time. You evaluate performance and modify for improvement.
Remember, a “wish” is a goal that hasn’t been written down. When creating your goals, make sure they are (1) specific, (2) measurable, (3) achievable, and (4) time-specific.
In business, planning and goal setting ultimately become financial in nature. Good financial statements let you know where you’re at and how you’re progressing. Focus on specific line items of the statement. You may need to reduce labor, defective merchandise, or overhead. You may want to increase sales, profit margin, or cash flow.
Every problem has a solution. Every solution can be found in a business system. The pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together — every piece in place gets you closer to the final picture. Remember, the completed picture is always shown on the outside of the puzzle box. You know before you begin exactly what the puzzle will look like when it is done, and you refer to it often along the way.
You should also set non-financial goals, such as increasing units sold, contracts signed, clients acquired, tonnage processed, and so forth. Get buy-in from team members by reviewing goals in sales meetings, displaying posters that show progress, awarding achievement with prizes, and other forms of feedback or incentive.
Put Your Vision in Writing
“In more than 3300 studies of leaders conducted over the years, there is a special quality that stands out, one quality that all great leaders have in common. It is the quality of vision. Leaders have vision. Non-leaders do not” (Brian Tracy).
With a clear long-term vision, leaders make decisions today that are consistent with where they truly want to end up. Their vision, planning, and goals are part of an organization blueprint—a detailed description of how their business will finally come together. It is this vision of the future that arouses emotion and motivates everyone in the organization to give their best.
Begin today. Get in the Zone and get inspired. Create a vision, focusing on specific measurable goals. Start thinking “progress to goal” and communicate your vision to others.
Then keep reading to learn why business systems are the building blocks of every successful and profitable business.