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Start with the End in Mind

Entrepreneurs are gifted professionals.

One could argue that to be an entrepreneur, you would need to be gifted in order to create, organize and operate a business. A large percentage of entrepreneurs (especially in the small business space) take it a step further. They transform their gift of a specific talent or skill-set into a business of their own. Their business mirrors their experience and expertise.

A few examples:

  • The attorney who leaves a mid-size firm to practice law on her own

  • The creative designer who is frustrated with the lack of creative freedom in a corporate environment and decides to start her own agency

  • The trades professional who calculates the risk and determines he would be better served striking out on his own

I’m sure you are following my point here. Many businesses are owned by individuals who are skilled at delivering the very services that the business is designed to deliver.

I admire these heroes. They are the lifeblood of the small business economy. They are driven professionals with purpose and passion. They also make up a large percentage of the clients I work with.

The reality, however, is that one’s technical expertise alone is not sufficient to operate, build and scale a healthy and profitable business.

It doesn't matter if you’re in business for 20 years, 2 years, or 2 months, you must shape or reshape your business to be bigger than your skill-set. It must be a more comprehensive model.

One of the initial conversations I have with clients involves their vision for the future-state of their business. Do they aspire to stay the course of owner/operator transacting the “what you do” into revenue? Or is their dream to build an organization without the founder supplying all the effort and energy?

Both paths can work well, but each is very different. Either way, both require shining a light on the path so there is visibility ahead. I work with these clients regardless of the path they choose, but as you would suspect, our work looks different based on the ultimate desire of the client.

So, which path do you believe you are following? How does that compare to the path you and your business are actually following? This is a valuable, worthwhile and needed exercise for all entrepreneurs to embrace.

In Stephen Covey's bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey discusses the concept of starting with the end in mind; this concept applies perfectly to a small business. By thinking through where you ultimately see your business (i.e. a business structure generating a rewarding revenue stream for the owner or an asset with value when eventually sold), you can plan more clearly and set strategies more deliberately…and shine a light on the path ahead.

Regardless of the path, as the owner, you must elevate your mindset and operate from a proactive perspective rather than from a reactive daily-task approach. If not held in check, the very strengths and talents that have carried you thus far can actually become a bottleneck, stifling your business’ potential growth and value.

In short, you must transform the way you see yourself, your business, and how you see yourself in your business.

Here's a great way to kick things off...invest more brain equity into your business. Take time to reflect, think and plan. Start today: elevate your line-of-sight and start with the end in mind. Wishing you continued success!

James Pagano Business Performance Coach


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