Every product or service that has ever been created was first a seed of thought in someone’s mind. Even those products or services that have been created by accident were originally created because someone acted upon a thought. Thought is the first principle of creativity, especially thought about the future.
Thought about the future as it relates to a company is a very difficult process, one that very few entrepreneurs are skilled enough to do very well. This kind of thought; that of accurate future planning, takes a lot of discipline and creativity. This kind of thought will determine who will succeed and who will fail during the next few decades.
The foundation of the logic of future thought for my company rests with the proper usage of technology. My company has grown due to technology created by search engines and social media. Without them we would be a mom-and-pop operation with very little hope for growth for the future.
We are grateful for this technology; however, it is only useful for those who are smart enough to take advantage of their power. That power rests with the proper application of thought and planning on how to use such technology to make a company grow. It is also a testament about the intelligence and skills of those with whom I have hired to help me utilize this technology.
The first rule I use to plan for the future is to determine the size that I want my company to be at by a certain future date. For example, I set a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) in 2007 to grow my company by almost ten-fold by 2014. Most, if not all, of the people associated with me in 2007 laughed and impugned my idea. Most did not understand why I set the goal. The goal was, at that time, simply an end to a means.
The goal allowed me to start thinking of the technological processes and things I needed to acquire in order to achieve the goal. The goal was tantamount to setting a goal to climb a very high mountain. One can only arrive at the summit of a high mountain by taking one step at a time. That was my process in setting this BHAG. I started to visualize the steps it would take to arrive at the goal. I started this process with hiring professionals, asking questions, reading books and magazines, spending significant time on search engines, etc. Much of the time was filled with frustration. As in climbing a high mountain, there was a certain amount of “fog” in front of me that prevented me from seeing what I desired to see. I learned from that process. I learned that I must have the drive to force myself to step forward each and every day, even if the continual fog would not let me see the next step.
The “next step,” in my opinion, must default to an investment in technology. The advanced usage of technology was the only logical conclusion for future growth for my company. The investment in and the process of “pushing the envelope” with my employees and professionals in terms of technological usage was the one assurance I have that the future of my company will continue to grow. I know, at a minimum, that my competition will not be able to keep ahead of me and that my company will continue to grow faster than them and reach the future customer at a greater pace than them. I also know that the investment “now” in the proper usage of technology will cause my competition to invest money that they might otherwise need for other purposes. In other words, it throws them off their game and causes them to “react” to my company’s usage of technology.
My security that my company will achieve the BHAG is that we are investing in a step-by-step process of investing in the proper usage of current and future technology. Everything will fall into place. The goals will be achieved and the naysayers of the past will say, “I knew he could do it.”