Are Your Eyes On The Prize?

A few years back, I was watching the women’s finals tennis match at Wimbledon.  The announcer commented about eventual winner Serena Williams’ concentration and focus.  He said, “Serena knows how to keep her eyes on the prize.”  What a great way of saying what all professionals must do!

Most business people don’t achieve their highest possible success because they get distracted.  They let unimportant but seemingly urgent tasks and events draw their focus away from the real target.

Great business leaders are accountable for their actions and keep their eyes on the prize.  Here is how they do it.


Core Values

It is hard to build a business unless you have a strong base.  Just like a tall building, you need a solid foundation.  In business and in life, your foundation is comprised of your core values.

Your core values express what you believe in and direct your actions.  Each time you need to make a choice, your core values serve as the basis to test against.  They help you make the tough decisions, and they guide you through the rigorous job of building your business.

Answer the following questions, and you’ll be on the road to determining your core values.

What do you stand for?

What is it that you are not willing to change no matter what else happens to you?

What is the essence of your belief structure?

Are you authentic?


Long Range and Short Range Goals

Goal setting is a common habit of all high level achievers that I know.  You can dream and wish, but only when you set a goal does it begin to become real.

Goals signify where you want to end up over a period of time.  They do not say how you are going to do it.  The clearer the goal and the better defined it is, the easier it will be to determine how to achieve that goal.

Some business people create sales goals and let it go at that.  I would like to encourage you to analyze your business.  What are all of the critical elements of your job?  What tasks will lead to your ultimate success?

If you are in the real estate business you, might be concerned with issues like the number of pieces of property you list, the number of clients you work with, how many presentations you make, your closing ratio, the average price of the homes you sell, and more.

Now, take each of these categories and set a goal.  If you are able to achieve your goals on the core elements of what you do, then you’ll probably be able to achieve your goals on the bottom line as well.

It is critical that you develop both long-range goals and short-term goals.  These will guide you on a daily and weekly basis as well as on a year-to-year basis.


Strategic Planning

Take time to look at the big picture.  Plan how you are going to build your business.  When you have a plan it is easier to know where to focus on a daily basis.

When I work with clients to help them grow their business, I always want to know how much time they spend on strategic planning.  Usually they don’t spend much time at all.

Strategic planning should be a scheduled part of your monthly activities.  Most small business people feel so busy that they misuse their time on tactical issues and either forget or don’t provide time for strategic issues.

What activities can you delegate?  Which of your regular tasks could be accomplished by other people in your organization, or are there new people that you could hire?  It’s not unusual to see business professionals who feel that they alone must do the job. 

If you are an independent business professional, maybe it’s time for an assistant.  Think of the time you could generate for more productive activities.

In addition to strategic planning, you would have more time for those activities that will produce the greatest return for your business.


Understand Both Sides of The Value Proposition

This is so important.  Your value proposition is made up of two pieces of information.  They are, what value do you provide, and whom do you deliver that value to?

Most companies fail to grow at substantial rates because the owner doesn’t take the time to accurately figure out their value proposition.  Your value proposition is at the very vortex of your business success.

Once you have this information, you are in a position to create a Memorable Marketing Message™.  You are also in a position to take a ho-hum marketing program and turn it into a goldmine!

This powerful concept may very well be the single greatest issue that stands between where you are today and the tremendous success that you could start achieving tomorrow.


Eliminate Distractions

Sounds easy, but you know it’s not.  When you come into the office, and you have a list of the things that you want to accomplish, which items do you do first?

Do you do what’s easy?  Do you do what will make someone else happy?  Do you do what will make you look good to those around you, or, do you do the single most important item no matter how difficult or tedious?

It is so easy to get distracted by coworkers, the telephone, the news, your email, the internet, or something out the window.

When you start your day take out a 3 X 5 card.  On it list the six things that must get done that day for you to be happy.  I don’t care if you use a manual day planning device or an electronic one.  Take a card out and list these important items.

Now start at the top of your list and work your way through the items one at a time.  When you complete your list, then you may work on other tasks.

Organize your thoughts, your actions, your time, and your office so that you can eliminate distractions and keep focused.


Do you know what it is that you stand for?  Are you setting goals?  Do you have the training you need?  Are you reading the right books and networking with the right people?  Do you make time for strategic planning and eliminate distractions?  Have you defined your value proposition?

Keep your eyes on the prize, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!


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