The third quality that we have found leads to a company’s success, and one that is also critical to maintaining profitable growth, is perseverance. Having the focus to establish a handful of business priorities and the discipline to avoid the always-present distractions is a good start. But persevering through the physical, emotional, and financial trials and setbacks is what will elevate your company above the rest.
Perseverance is sticking with the program, even through tough times. And there will be tough times. Things like …
Financial strains. It’s lunacy to think that a business will grow in a straight trajectory of top-line and bottom-line growth. Business doesn’t work that way. There will always be peaks of financial paradise and valleys of financial woe. The best-run companies understand this and prepare for it. How well we’ve equipped our company and our self to navigate these two extremes is what largely determines our company’s long-term success.
Persevering through the financial ups and downs means that we understand that both are transient, and they will pass. Our job as a business leader is to bank the financial and emotional strength during the good times to sustain us through the bad times.
Would you believe me when I tell you that most business owners don’t go off the rails during poor financial times? They go off the rails when things are good. They confuse cash with profit and convince themselves that the good times will last forever.
Emotional doubts. Despite outward projections of confidence, many business owners suffer with chronic self-doubt, intellectual fraudulence, and occasional feelings of being inadequate to do their jobs. As our companies grow, we drift in and out of a love-hate relationship with our own competence to manage or continue to grow them.
Smart business owners surround themselves with an emotional support network. It might be a spouse, a sibling, a good friend, or a mentor. But it’s crucial to have someone we can occasionally turn to for emotional support or a willing ear.
Mental fatigue. Growing an exceptional company doesn’t happen quickly or easily. It’s normal for us to get mentally and physically exhausted with the day in, day out grind that’s required to grow a company. I’m convinced that most small business owners are not hard wired for the grueling work of following through on the plans they make. We prefer the adrenalin rush that comes with starting something new.
This is why it’s so important to surround ourselves with people who are gifted with the ability to follow through on things, fill in the details, and help us bring our plans to completion. Not only do they provide the sustained attention needed to finish off our plans, but they help keep us on track as well.
As I mentioned in part I of this series, there really is no “secret sauce” to running a successful business. I sometimes think Woody Allen was pretty close to the truth when he said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” I’m thinking the other 20 percent might have to do with focus, discipline, and perseverance.