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Begin with No end in mind

I recently had an opportunity to travel to the nation’s capital for a two day intensive workshop specifically tailored for business startups. During the conference, I had the pleasure of meeting keynote speaker Candace C. Shiver at the Weekend StartUp School, hosted by Paul C. Brunson and Ella Rucker. Mrs. Shiver serves as a special advisor at the Minority Business Development Agency in DC. She left myself and fellow entrepreneurs with many points of accountability and challenged us to work together –for the long haul. What struck the loudest chord for me was her urging to “begin with no end in mind.”

First challenge –creating a system in order to achieve results.

Constructing a workable, sustainable system is just as important at the beginning as it is during growth and expansion phases. When you begin with no end in mind, your mindset is geared toward seeing beyond the first quarter and the first year plan. It’s a plan that envisions and strategizes beyond first year survival. It’s a plan that focuses NOT on being one of the estimated 50% of small business that fail within the first year, but devises a plan of attack for being part of the population that plans for success.

Next challenge –presenting us with the challenge to “not only survive but thrive” in our respective areas of industry by committing to pooling resources together.

After highlighting the importance of collaboration for a common goal, Mrs. Shiver told the story of a minority business owner who in their culture understood the importance of helping others. As she painted the picture of how their story evolved, she mentioned a powerful quote from their conversation. “They don’t really mind being second because they know they will soon be first.” This ideal is another evident illustration of beginning with no end in mind by planning on “making second place sacrifices for first place results.” The proverbial long haul must be a clear part of a growth strategy and development plan. If that means helping others while you’re starting out then do so. If that means sowing time and resources into another endeavor while your work out the kinks in your start up plan, then invest. If it means bartering your services in a B2B platform before you’ve established your rates, then commit to that exchange. Sowing seeds into someone else’s plans will not only help others, but will give you an opportunity to learn from their experiences and may reduce the trial and error period in your venture.

Last challenge –When beginning with no end in mind, you position yourself for “real and lasting economic empowerment” while “positioning our businesses to last through succession.”

This compelling statement sheds a bright light on how important a succession plan is for a small business owner. Much of the thought, effort and execution is placed on starting and sustaining a business. But what about retirement? Have you thought about how to pass the empire onto your children? Including succession planning in your long term forecasting is an example of perpetuating your business for generations. I’ve studied the Carnegie, Ford and Morgan dynasties to name a few. While these entrepreneurs started out small, their grand ideas have evolved and survived as icons in our culture, so much so that they remain a part of our way of life in various industries today.

YOUR challenge –What are you going to do in order to begin with no end in mind?

“It’s no longer sufficient to own a business for a few years; you’ve got to create a legacy.

That’s how we create generational wealth.” –Candace C. Shiver, Esq.

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