“In the cow pasture of life, you’ve got to look a step ahead.”
It’s not the most lovely of analogies, but it’s one I often udder…er, utter. (Don’t worry, I won’t charge extra for the cow puns included in this blog post.)
I especially find the thought true for business.
Back in November ’08, I managed to lift my eyes from the deadlines I was dealing with at the time to see that 2009 was going to be one big, well, potential cowtastrophe. If I hadn’t looked a step ahead, trust me; I would’ve stepped in something unpleasant.
I redirected my career path thanks to that one-step-ahead view, and I ended up ‘mooving’ in the right direction.
Some of the most notable failures I’ve directly observed in the business world don’t involve colossal leaps, crazy missteps or bombed efforts. They involve immovability, stagnancy, temporal comfort with status quo.
I can name several businesses that could be thriving now, instead of floundering as they are, if the leaders had only looked that proverbial step ahead. For each example, the leaders were busy enough—and making enough money—in the status quo and, thus, were not motivated to sneak a peek for what was ahead. What was working in the moment was soon to become obsolete; if only they’d taken the bull by the horn, they would’ve known to change course.
Of course, looking a step ahead is not just about avoiding something unpleasant. It’s also about forward thinking and leadership. I’ve made it a tenet of my business practices to be someone who doesn’t just hop on overflowing bandwagons. I look a step ahead…or two or three…to identify trends and upcoming opportunities so I can milk ’em for all they’re worth.
I encourage you to read this article from the Chicago Tribune about the ability and need for small business to be nimble, to morph and adapt to changing customer needs and business climates. The biz you’re in today may be obsolete tomorrow. Are you gonna be ready?
I used to be “Director of PR” at a small agency in the Chicago area. Today, I’m a freelance Marketing Communications Consultant with specialties in Social Media, Copywriting & Digital Content. Thanks goodness I looked ahead and changed my brand!
What’s the next step for your business? Let’s trade ideas!
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Thanks for reading!