Most CEOs spend too much time on the details instead of looking at the bigger questions of “Where are we now?” and “Where do we want to go?” They “stay in the noise.” Instead, CEOs should be asking themselves what drives value in their company. They need to ask themselves if they are working on the business or in the business. If they spend most of their time in the business, they are part of the problem. They should be asking themselves what they would be doing differently if there were a stock exchange for midmarket companies.
Most entrepreneurs are good at operating businesses—they’re good at what they do. They know they need to make money, to satisfy customers, and to keep their employees happy. But do they know whether there will be a future for their products and services? Are they targeting the right market segments? Can they repeat what they’ve done in the past but on a larger scale? Anyone with some financial savvy will be primarily interested in the trailing twelve months. But the future is the sizzle. To build long-term value in your company, it’s not enough to have your rearview mirror polished to a shine.
The same steps you need to take in order to make your business more attractive to buyers also make you more money in the short term. They are the same steps you need to take to create opportunities for your staff, returns for your shareholders, benefits for your stakeholders, and personal fulfillment for yourself.
There’s no trade-off between thinking about tomorrow and operating wisely today.