It’s exhilarating to start a company. You have a dream, you wear many hats, you have the constant challenge of managing time from one duty to another, you get to watch your progress brick by brick, and so on. It’s also exhausting. There's never enough time or energy to focus on one thing and complete it well, a feeling of never being caught up, no one to cover you for a day off, limited resources for new opportunities, etc.
When your company is small, when revenue has dropped, if profit is nonexistent, or you’re struggling to pay your bills, there is great temptation to pick the low hanging fruit. It’s reasonable to argue that if you don’t take this small job (order, client, etc.), then you won’t be able to meet payroll next month. I’ve experienced those distractions and understand those concerns.
If you have time to read our blogs, you probably aren’t the above-described business. I’m not pretending to overlook the fact that you still struggle with payroll, cash flow, ceiling(s) of complexities, leadership development or other common growth challenges. I’m confident you still don’t have the time to feel caught up or be even remotely on track with your projects and your to-do list.
I know that you’re busy, behind, and struggling to feel balanced – and that is the issue. There it is in plain sight - the snare. While you’re focusing on low-hanging fruit, you’re not thinking about long-term, exponential growth and success: the kind of success that only comes when you begin experience fast growth that propels you to mid-market size and above.
There are many stories circulating about catching monkeys with a banana or some type of food utilizing a basket, jar, or even tunnels. Many are true. The monkey finds the “low-hanging” food or fruit and once in hand, will not let go. Is this true of you? If you aren’t leading your team to think about longer range goals on a regular basis, then you’re teaching them to focus on low-hanging – short range, opportunities. You may be reminded of you and your team when watching the first one and one-half minutes of this video.
When you focus on the now, when you hold on tight to what’s in hand, it steals your energy towards your later – your future. It consumes resources that could be applied to the future financial success that only comes with consistent revenues that exceed expenses. It’s the effort to maintain what you’ve got that burns up the opportunity to dream what could be.
When picking low hanging fruit, you lose opportunities for achieving your BHAG, 3-5 year targets, even your annual initiatives. The only reason to focus on low-hanging fruit is IF you are having cash flow problems. When you stay in this mindset too long, it’s a leading indicator of your future business failure. Stop being a monkey and focus on your long-term success.
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