I don’t know about you, but I have read dozens and dozens of books and articles about long range planning and setting goals. And I must say that I am a very big believer of both of these concepts and can honestly say that I believe that they work and have seen them work for myself.
But, recently I was working with a business owner and friend who is in the process of changing businesses and possibly buying a new franchise. They were concerned about making a long term commitment in the fact of buying the franchise, setting up the new office, changing personnel, signing a lease on an office space and the other items that go along with this type of new venture.
So concerned as a matter of fact that they were worrying themselves sick. Now keep in mind this individual is talented and experienced enough to know how to do the things that I have mentioned and as a matter of fact they have been doing these very same things for a number of years and has had a successful career, but still they were in a dizzy about this new venture.
After talking with them for a while the problem that was causing all of this anxiety became clear. They were concerned about making this huge commitment. I asked them to explain to me further what this huge commitment was and they proceeded to tell me all of the things that they were going to have to do for this new business venture like sign a 5 year franchise agreement, sign an office lease, hire people, etc..and it became obvious what was happening.
What was happening was they were looking at the new business venture as a permanent change in their life. That all of this was going to be their permanent career for the rest of their days. What a bizarre and crazy thought.
To begin with nothing in this life is permanent. As a matter of fact life is just the opposite. Nothing in this life is permanent. It is all temporary and change is the only thing in life that is for sure and certain to happen.
So having recognized this issue with my friend I gave them the same advice that I have used myself for years and have given to probably hundreds of clients and friends in the past. And that advice is:
When entering a new business venture or buying a business you should have plans and goals, but set your plans and goals based on a 3-5 year time span telling yourself that at the end of the 3 or 5 years that you will take the time to sit down with yourself and ask yourself some very pertinent questions like.
Am I enjoying what I have been doing? Has this venture been as profitable as I thought it would be? Does the future look like things are going to be getting better or worse? Do I want to continue doing what I am doing or is it time for a change?
You see by looking at new ventures with a 3-5 year time span you allow yourself to be more freely thinking, you will have more vigor and excitement towards the business knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Can you image coming into your place of work or business thinking that this was it forever. I guess that there probably are some vocations like that in government work or something similar, but as a business owner you need energy and vision and the thought you were going to be doing the same thing with no chance of anything changing would be depressing. (It is also the #1 reason people sell their businesses. Burnout)
After I explained this to my friend they began to look at the new venture as a 3-5 year project and they became more excited and actually began to plan and talk about all of the things they wanted to do for the business.
Remember, life is a journey and there are many stops along the way that are not planned and once you get into the game especially with the 3-5 year mindset you will be surprised as to what may come your way.