I like to talk a lot about the traits that help you to build a business when you’re starting out. This time, I have a message for those who are already making things happen, the established entrepreneurs. Vision is a term that comes up a lot among business leaders, and for good reason: it’s probably the most important thing to have while building your company and keeping it thriving. You need it to help you prepare for what’s about to happen, but vision isn’t all about predicting the future. Your vision also helps you accomplish another important task: seeing what’s going on around and behind you.
When I say looking behind you, I mean taking stock of the up-and-comers in your industry. There might be some young guns looking to take your spot, but more likely they’re looking for some guidance and a way through the complicated world they’re about to join. Rather than shutting them down like a paranoiac, acknowledge that there’s great value in mentorship for the next generation, in leaving your industry a better place than you found it. Who knows, they might even teach you a little something about the world you and your company exists in.
Complacency is the biggest killer of successful businesses. And businesspeople, for that matter. There’s no better way to get stale and forgotten than deciding you’ve got nothing left to learn. Identify a promising young mind in your field, whether through contacts, your alma mater, or an entry-level worker in your company, keeps you young and hungry. If you’re concerned at all about your legacy, and you should be, the best way to get a handle on it is ensuring your words and strategies can live on through another. When you can accomplish that, you’ll stay sharp enough to do great things to cement that legacy even further. That’s the real way to lasting success.