Knowing the end goal and what our 'eating-the-blades-of-grass' moment should be like.
Can you remember the day when you first decided what you would be?
For reasons I am yet to fully understand I wanted to be a bus driver. In those days, buses were quite monstrous to drive, with nothing of the power assisted steering that modern vehicles have today. Facilities for receiving fares were decades away from the 'Contactless' card transactions buses now have. And, the propensity for buses to break down and to cause passenger delays and inconvenience brought stress and strain to all involved.
Nevertheless, for me at that time there was something quite magical about how a relatively small turn on a large steering wheel could heave the huge charabanc, upon which I regularly travelled, into the direction of the next stop and beyond.
My bus driver ambitions didn’t last long and were soon superseded by my desire to emulate Mrs Kelly, a teacher to be feared and respected at my primary school. Mrs Kelly spoke with authority. In fact, she was the Deputy Head at the time. She also finished her sentences with something of a pout, which to my mind, added a form of sophistication. I’m doubtful I would see things in the same way now. It was Mrs Kelly’s love of the great North American Indian tribes, also a favourite subject of mine, and her wish to teach class about them, that endeared Mrs Kelly to me the most.
As time went on, however, I found myself to be without a career focus. Like many young people today I simply had no idea what I wanted to be or do. While I’ve moved through life seizing all sorts of wonderful opportunities, both at home and overseas, and having learned a huge amount, with great fun and some success along the way, I acknowledge with hindsight that the more rudderless journey isn’t one I would recommend. As I have got older, and hopefully wiser, I have learned that life, like those old buses of the 1970s and ‘80s, can be pretty monstrous to drive! But, to drive is better than to free-wheel!
Perhaps, it was with all this in mind, that I found a recent interview with Novak Djokovic to be so inspiring.
Novak Djokovic, a Serbian tennis professional, is currently ranked world No. 1 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Winner of 14 Grand Slam singles titles, Djokovic has four Wimbledon titles to his name.
In the televised interview, to which I was glued, Novak revealed why he celebrated his 2018 Wimbledon success by eating a blade of grass from the court.
The Wimbledon champ explained: “Since I always dreamed of winning Wimbledon, I wanted to make it special when I got to that moment. It was never if, it was always when because I visualised it so strong, I knew the dream was going to be realised. I thought I should do something special. It’s Wimbledon, you can’t just scream and roll around, so I thought, I might as well just have a little bit of the grass. It became a little bit of tradition. I’ve done it four times.”
While listening I tried to imagine life as a child; one with a Novak-like dream that would be seen through to reality. While watching Novak speak passionately I began to wonder what it must be like to have such a keen sense of knowing that the fulfilment of a life’s ambition can be a ‘when’, not an ‘if’.
At Future Point 4 Business our ambition is around the when, not the if. While much of our focus on branding is upon the delivery of high-quality materials offline as well as online services that promote business ideas in the present, our attention to brand and brand planning is for the future. It is about understanding what the end goal should be, what the 'eating-the-blades-of-grass' moment should be like.
Harnessing the power that's behind this kind of thinking couldn't be at a better time. As we close 2018 we can see that UK figures suggest setting up and running one’s own business has never been more popular. It is said that a record 5.7 million Brits took the plunge last year to go it alone. This is 2.2 million more than those who did so in 2000.
Common business lore has held that approximately 50 per cent of businesses fail in the first year, with this number increasing dramatically within the first 5 years of business start-up.
There will be as many reasons for why businesses start as they do fail. However, the common reasons behind any failure will be due to insufficient planning at outset and a lack of ongoing planning maintenance to follow. Planning that has been set out will often be to secure start-up funding or borrowing for product development etc. and too often this will be with a shorter term view, which isn’t the same as planning with the end in mind. It won’t lead to a Djokovic ‘eating-the-blades-of-grass' moment.
Planning is a process of thinking and is a fundamental property of intelligent behaviour that determines the range of activities required to happen to achieve a desired goal. It is first and foremost the necessary activity to achieve end-game results. This activity requires discipline and regular review, as circumstances, both internally and externally, change to create fresh demands.
Good brand planning that has the end goal in mind should begin only when tough questions are truthfully answered. How well a business knows its audience, its offer and its competitors and how straight-forward the challenges will be for the proposed brand to succeed and win should all be known. It's a journey of learning; one that should lead to a wider awareness, wisdom and growth.
Perhaps we are past our childhood aspirations and the potential to realise a life-long dream. Our business goals, however, are all to play for. As for whether our business goals are a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’, this will be down to our preparedness and willingness to plan our business brand with the end in mind. Enjoy your grass!
Future Point 4 Business
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