Long-term or Short-term Goals—What’s Your Business Focus?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On January 19, 2018

In the last few months, Bitcoin has grabbed a lot of headlines. While it’s actually been around for a while, activity surrounding the cyber-currency really began heating up lately. In early December pricing for the crypto-currency blew past $13,000 per coin as investors scrambled to make purchases. It continued to rise and fall (repeatedly). What does that have to do with your business? I think the issue has to do with long-term or short-term goals. What’s your business focus?

People purchase Bitcoin for a number of reasons, but many are looking for a hot new “investment” (personally, I think it’s more of a speculation than an investment) that will quickly generate profit. There are plenty of headlines about individuals who either made—or lost—small fortunes with Bitcoin. All the speculation makes the currency extremely volatile. These speculators seem to be focused on a short-term goal of making lots of money quickly.

By contrast, I came across a podcast recently in which two experts talked about what they see as Bitcoin’s true potential. The focus of this discussion wasn’t on how to make lots of money quickly, but rather on the idea that Bitcoin (or something like it) could actually be the future of money. The New York Times, by the way, had a somewhat similar take on the whole concept of crypto currencies. The real story is not about who’s making millions fast—it’s about where commerce as a whole may be headed.

Whether the podcasters are right or wrong, their focus was on the big picture. What does this disruption mean for business down the road? They were focused on the long-term. They talked about the impact that cyber-currencies could have on businesses and individuals. So what does that have to do with your business?

It really has nothing to do with Bitcoin at all. It’s about short-term and long-term goals. Growing businesses—those that are transforming themselves so that they will be able to scale up and have a major impact—need to focus on both the long-term and the short term. But how is that possible? It sounds schizophrenic.


Big Long-Term Goals

If you’re serious about scaling up your business you need to have big goals that are going to take some time to accomplish. If you have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) it’s not something you’ll achieve overnight, in a quarter, or even in a year. This kind of goal, however, drives everything you do—and shapes your short-term goals. Here’s a post I wrote earlier that provides some business goal insights on how to establish that kind of a goal. If we return to the example of Bitcoin, the big goal is to change the way money is used. It’s not just about an opportunity to accrue wealth. It’s a whole paradigm shift regarding how we do business.


Measurable Short-Term Goals

As important as it is to have big, bold, challenging long-term goals, you’ll also need to have short-term goals in order to move things along. And it’s important to check your progress in meeting these goals. These goals affect your day-to-day operations. If you’re not meeting your short-term goals you’ll never hit your big goals. The chances are good that you’ll need to adjust your short-term goals as conditions in the marketplace change. Let’s return to the example of Bitcoin again. A recent Linkedin.com post talked about how the company is losing market share: “Bitcoin’s astronomical rise has led to the creation of numerous competitors like Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. Bitcoin made up 87% of the crypto market one year ago. Today, it has fallen to 36%. Competitors to Bitcoin have often proven themselves either easier to use and trade or safer for businesses.”

Companies often make the mistake of thinking that all they need to succeed and grow is a good idea. While good ideas and big goals are essential, they alone won’t get you where you want to go.

Contact me for strategic business coaching if you’d like to talk about how some of the everyday disciplines necessary to accomplish your short-term goals so that you end up hitting your Big Hairy Audacious Goal in the end.