Playing the Long Game

While the lure of quick wins to keep your cash flowing is enticing, some of your biggest opportunities lie in long-term strategy (and execution -- don't forget that one!). I’ve dipped my toe in the waters of freelance work a few times, but I must admit that I lacked an ability to set up a long-term win. Overloading myself to get too much work out on time led to looking to fewer opportunities, which led to feeling trapped in a set of circumstances.

When you feel trapped, you have to make a choice:

  • Stay trapped
  • Run away
  • Look for ways to change the scenario entirely

I think my choices were more a mix of the second and third options, but I’m happy to be working with an employer full-time. My freelance experiences certainly gave me more sympathy to what business owners face on a daily basis. There are bills to be paid, whether sales look good or not that week. Decisions have to be made in regards to the quick wins that could bring in a few bucks today or the long-term win that could set the company on the course it wants to go.

At some point, a company must buckle down and shoot for the long win. If you’re just starting off, then the long win may already be written into your company’s DNA. Oftentimes, however, we find that the win we were so sure of morphs into something else. The market changes, or it just didn’t want what you had to offer as much as you hoped it would.

That’s the game. That’s the opportunity to keep discovering how to serve a community even more effectively.

As painful as it may be to deal with all of the change, a community that never has a change in needs is probably a community that is already dying.

Seize upon the change. Watch for it, and take the opportunity to dream up new solutions.

The bills will still need to be paid, so keep in mind that you might have to break your plan up into several steps. I know I always want to implement everything today, but that’s not how people work. Even if you had the resources to flip a switch and make all of the changes you imagined, you’d end up running people away.

Apple and Amazon are just a few of the big-name companies to make this work. What others can you think of, and which inspire you most?

photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov via photopin cc

BusinessMichael Roberts