Now that you’ve had the chance to analyze where you came from, who you are, and how your past and the journey that got you to this point makes you very unique, you’re ready to take on the next crucial question:
Where do you want to go?
Again, this may sound like a totally basic question, but humor us for a minute. Do you REALLY know where you want to end up? Can you see it? Taste it? Smell it? Or do you just “want to make a million dollars,” or have some other very nebulous goal that you want to reach. The more specific the goal, and the more you can see, taste, touch and smell that goal, the easier it will be to reach. We’re not going to go all metaphysical and self-help on you here and tell you that’s all you have to do, but it is very important if for nothing else than you have to know where you want to go in order to know when you get there. Sounds silly, but you’d be shocked at how many people have never really thought about this.
The other reason it’s extremely important is that sometimes where you came from and where you want to go don’t allow for a clear cut path between the two points. And in some circumstances, the two are all but impossible to connect. But, assuming you can draw some sort of line between the 3 points (1. Where you came from. 2. Where you are now. 3. Where you want to end up.), then you must…
BEWARE the Mirage on your journey
Do you remember the old Looney Tunes cartoons from when you were a kid? Bugs Bunny would all too often get stranded in the desert and then when all hope seemed lost, he would see, off in the distance, a beautiful pond, lush green trees, beautiful female rabbits, a lounge chair and a “lemonade” with a straw awaiting him? But when he got over to where he thought this beautiful respite was, he ended up finding out the hard way, after filling his mouth with sand and laying a smooch on Elmer Fudd, that what he really had found was an illusion of perfection created by his mind.
This is something we can all relate to, and it’s all too often that we hear a client tell us a story like this:
Well, I’m bringing in 3-5 Million dollars in income each year, taking home $500,000.00 (or more) in salary and benefits each year, but I’m really sick of this business. There’s really just no future in it for me. The entire industry is just backwards. And anyhow…,my REAL passion is in saving the African pigmy fruitflies and providing luxury residences for them here in San Diego (or insert some other new, and not so silly sounding, idea here) so I want to just shut down my existing business and move on to my new idea.
WHAT?!?!?!?!?! (This is our response)
Stop and think about this for a moment. You mean you’re going to take a very successful business, that undoubtedly takes some of your effort, and shut it down completely, leaving yourself zero income, in order to pursue your “dreams” of (insert new and exciting idea here.) We’re sure YOU have never had an idea like this, have you?! Ok, so you probably have.
Let us save you the pain now. While a new business can be a great idea—in fact we start new businesses pretty often—they are not intended to serve as a cure-all for the bored entrepreneur. Sometimes it takes years to make businesses profitable, and as we all know all too well, some businesses (no matter how “fail proof” the basis for the business is) never make a profit at all. So, why would you throw away a completely good business, that is spinning off profits, in order to pursue something that you have yet to prove? Again, we’re sure YOU wouldn’t make such a rash and foolish choice.
Sounds completely and utterly stupid doesn’t it? Yet we hear it all the time, and if you’re honest with yourself, if you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’ve probably had a similar thought of some sort yourself somewhere along the way.
Our point is that while it may look really sexy to shut down your existing business to chase a new dream, it’s probably worth your time to spend some time analyzing the “fortune at your feet”—the business you’re already in, and what you can do to make it even more profitable. And if you really don’t like the business, ok, then bring in someone else to run it. Sure they might mess it up a bit or they may never be quite as profitable as you, but hey, if they can bring in any profit at all then isn’t it a better idea than just shutting it down and praying you can “make it rain” in your next venture? The answer is usually a resounding yes.
So, make sure you know where you want to go, make sure you can cut a path between where you came from, connecting through to where you are now, and ending up where you want to go—And most importantly, beware of the mirage that greener pastures are really all that green, and you’ll be one step closer to building a successful business on the back of your personal brand.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton), lawyers by trade but entrepreneurs by choice, are best-selling authors that consult for small and medium sized businesses internationally on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, blogs white papers and case studies to guests who visit their web site at http://www.DicksNantonAgency.com. Jack and Nick have been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates around the country, as well as in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets. If you're ready to take your business to the next level, get more FREE info now at http://www.DicksNantonAgency.com