As a business owner, you have to be a visionary. Not necessarily in the same sense as Walt Disney or Elon Musk, but on a small scale. And part of being a visionary in your organization is being consistently proactive.
What Makes a Proactive Business Owner?
Whether they realize as much or not, most business owners are reactive. Yes, they have plans, but uncontrollable factors typically reorient those plans. As a result, their businesses eventually spin out of control.
If you spend time studying some of the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs, you’ll discover that they’re on top of their “stuff.” In other words, they reject the traditional reactive archetype and embrace a proactive mindset that allows them to take charge of circumstances and situations.
Want to learn how to become a more proactive business owner? We have a few simple suggestions to put you on the correct path:
- Be Solutions-Oriented
A reactive business owner waits for problems to occur and spends most of his energy putting out fires. A proactive business owner is solutions-oriented and implements corrective action in such a way that he’s able to take control over the situation and create positive and lasting change.
It can take some time to become a solutions-oriented business owner, but practice makes perfect. Avoid focusing on things outside your control and instead spend your time on the things you have direct influence over.
- Progress Not Perfection
If you’re a perfectionist, you’re much more likely to be a reactive business owner. And while perfectionists have certain strengths, it’s important that you learn how to resist the need to have everything 100 percent figured out. The focus should be on progress, not perfection.
When you take a progress, not perfection approach, you’ll find that you’re much more willing to tackle issues proactively. You become less worried about having all of the answers and more focused on taking action.
With a progress, not perfection mentality, you’ll have your fair share of mess-ups and blunders. The key is to learn from the mistakes and move on quickly. (You’ll also have plenty of successes, which should be celebrated and memorialized.)
- Deal With Small Problems Right Away
It’s usually not the big problem that poses the most risk to a business. It’s the hundreds of small issues that compound and intensify over time. By addressing these problems right away, you can save time, money, and energy. This is especially important when it comes to something like preventative maintenance.
Parking lots are a great example. If you let your parking lot take a beating, it’ll need to be repaved sooner rather than later. (A big expense.) But if you’re willing to address small issues through an asphalt pavement maintenance program, you can get many years of additional use out of your parking lot.
That’s just one example, but it speaks to a larger need. Don’t let maintenance issues build up. What can typically be dealt with quickly and inexpensively will often turn into a more expensive and stressful issue over time. Be proactive!
- Make People Uncomfortable
Very few people welcome conflict into their lives. But as a business owner, there are times when inviting conflict – or stepping into the middle of existing conflict – is the best thing to do.
Few things will tear a business apart quite like resentment, tension, gossip, and disagreement. By proactively seeking out conflict resolution, you can address these issues. This usually means things will get worse before they get better – but it’s worth it in the long run.
- Always be Innovating
Finally, never settle for the status quo. Your business might be killing it right now, but demands, trends, and technology are in a constant state of evolution. Don’t wait until there’s a need to innovate to start thinking creatively. Always be brainstorming, testing, and implementing with the mindset that you want to be ahead of the innovation curve (not playing catch-up).
Keep a Long-Term Perspective
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your vision. Are you living minute-by-minute and constantly trying to survive the day? Or are you looking 12 months, a year, or five years down the road?
By keeping a long-term perspective, you’ll notice that your decisions reflect your mindset. Instead of making shortsighted choices that help you get to the end of the day, you implement sound strategies that help you get from where you are to where you want to be in three or five years. That’s the secret formula to success.