Hat Tricks

By Chuck Violand

January 29, 2018

For many, a new year begins with making resolutions about things we want to start doing. Among some of the most popular are spending more time with family, losing weight, getting out of debt, and organizing.

What these all have in common is the first step: to start. I’d like to offer the alternative suggestion to getting a strong start and that is resolving to finish strong!

If you’re like most entrepreneurs you’re probably good at starting things; it’s the following through or finishing that’s a struggle. This is common, because it’s one of the hallmarks of entrepreneurial behavior. We get bored, distracted, or just worn down by all the details necessary to bring our efforts to completion.

Starting our businesses is a great example. But, as business author Michael E. Gerber states in his book, The E Myth, we’re often overcome with what he calls an “Entrepreneurial Seizure.” This is where our thoughts are consumed with the new venture, and our focus is completely dominated by the excitement and possibilities. If we give any attention at all to the risks or possible downsides, it is only to deflect the comments made by naysayers as they try to point out all the hard work that lies ahead.

As I frequently mention, growing a business is a lot like raising kids. In the initial excitement surrounding a newborn, we don’t think about the late-night pacing to get them to sleep, the endless diaper changing, and doctoring skinned knees. Later, we find ourselves late-night pacing again, this time wondering why it’s past curfew and our “babies” are still not home. But these are all part of the efforts we’re willing to put in to raise healthy kids, just like the efforts we often don’t think about at the beginning, but are willing to do, as we try to grow healthy businesses.

Most of us would be much more effective as leaders if we started half as many projects that we saw through to strong finishes, rather than starting twice as many projects with the hope of finishing some before others become insignificant or forgotten.

We also discover this as we learn to give presentations. Our audience will not only remember how we start our presentations but how we end them. Whether our audience is an auditorium full of people, a handful of folks sitting around a conference table, or just one other person we’re meeting with in a warehouse, the message we leave them with is just as important as the first impression.

Regardless of who you rooted for in the recent BCS College Football Championship, the game was ultimately won with a strong finish. Nick Saban and his team had to overcome a highly motivated and talented opponent, a slow start in the first half, a quarterback change in the second half, and an overtime comeback to win the National Championship. A year from now, some of this might be forgotten—except the final score. They finished strong.

The finish, whether strong or weak, is what people will remember most. Whatever it is that you start in 2018, make this year different and resolve to finish strong!