Three Years From Now…

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else,” Yogi Berra used to say. When it comes to running a small business, I could not have said it any better.

Because we wear so many hats and are constantly multitasking, it is really hard to know where our business is heading. But successful entrepreneurs do know where they are going. They are fixated on one or more strategic goals. They can visualize them. They have a plan for achieving them. And while the road to those goals may be winding, the odds of these forward-thinking entrepreneurs’ getting there are much higher than those of business owners who don’t have long-term goals.

These “goals” can be wide-ranging. Here are some examples:

  • Get to $10 million in revenue in five years
  • Expand into three new markets
  • Become known as the provider of choice
  • Have a profitable business that runs without you
  • Generate $600,000 per year in cash flow (for owner compensation)
  • Sell the business for $25 million
  • Go public

I think you get the idea…

I have these goals. But as some of my goals go out five years, I know that I could make them more practical by making them a little shorter in term. For me, that means thinking out three years and picturing what the business looks like. The point is to know where you want to be in a few years and then look backward. This is so important, because if we get bogged down with putting out the seemingly endless daily fires, we’ll continue to think about what we can’t do, as opposed to what we can do and what we want to do.

While I think that everyone should have a business plan, that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I am talking about is having an idea of where you want to be in a few years. Because until you have that, you can be sure that you will end up somewhere else.