Separating your business goals and interests from your personal ones can be challenging. When you act on an opportunity and it’s good for one but not the other… this can cause great harm to your business and/or your personal life. A few months ago I was in a local jewelry store with my son. He needed to have his new watch resized (it was a present from his sister and he was excited to wear it). I knew it was a simple and quick request so we popped into a jewelry store that we had passed by many times before, but hadn’t been inside due to its poor location. The holiday spirit was not alive in this shop. When we entered this really tiny shop (so small you have to make an effort to overlook customers) the owner somehow managed to completely ignore our presence. It was rather awkward standing a few feet away from him and being totally ignored but he was with a customer (who was having some very expensive jewelry appraised) so we were patient.
After five very long and uncomfortable minutes he finally managed to look up and tell us he would be with us shortly. Lesson #1 – if your store is no wider than 10 x 10, at least say hello to entering prospects (Duh!) When he finally allowed us to explain the reason for our visit, he had the audacity to tell us that he “didn’t feel like doing this today.” Seriously, you just can’t make up this stuff. He explained that since it was the day before Christmas (actually, it was two days before Christmas) that he was simply too busy. Was this a good business decision or one that he made based on his personal interests? He didn’t feel like working any more than necessary.
Honestly, how hard was it to help us with this simple project? Sure, it was only a $10 repair, but a $10 customer today can quite often be a $100 or $1,000 customer tomorrow. Large client projects rarely just land on your desk…. Success is about building relationships. However, he made it clear that we were NOT a priority of his (i.e., take your business elsewhere). I guess he’ll never know if we’re in the market for a 5-carat diamond pendant (his loss!)
How do you decide which opportunities have potential and which should be ignored because, erh, you’re not in the mood to follow up or it doesn’t fit into a personal objective? Answering this requires being very careful in your selection of opportunities to pursue. You have to look at each opportunity on its own merit but it must meet one key criteria – it must align with your business goals, in some shape or form. You don’t want to might miss a great business win but you don’t want to get too distracted on the road to success.
Weekly Lesson Seven (Try this…)
Answer the following questions honestly. If you aren’t pleased with your response, think about what changes you need to make to improve the situation, for your benefit as well as the benefit of your company.
How tightly aligned are you business and personal goals?
Is what is best for the business NOT necessarily best for you? If so, what do you need to do to make this work?
Will your current role and personal goals need to change to get your business to the next stage of growth?
If yes, how will you handle this?
Are you willing to make the changes necessary to grow your firm?