Compass North Inc. article:
Defining Success in Business
Allegories make for great generalizations about life, provided they don't become trite.
Now golf as a subject for a
story or an allegory maybe getting a bit tired, certainly in my wife's
opinion, but excuse me while I push it a bit farther to say: business
is like golf. Why? Because what it is to play golf, and what it takes
to play golf, has nothing to do with how others relate to the way you
Confused? Don't be. When people ask about your success in golf, they always seem to start or end by asking about how you score. The problem with this is: your golf score doesn't speak to any of the real things about the round of golf you've played. It doesn't tell people how the weather was, or how pleasant your playing companions were, or how your ball made the sweetest sound when you purely struck your shot.
This said, let me explain how I relate golf to business.
Being in business is all about satisfying customer needs. Simply put, without customers, you won't have any revenue generating transactions to report. Now it takes real goods or services to meet or exceed your customers' expectations. Producing them isn't easy, and neither is it easy to get them to the place your customer wants to buy or to consume them. But, when you do something meaningful for a customer, there's nothing like the satisfaction you create for both parties.
Problem is, you can't get away from economic reality. By this I mean, if you don't sell your goods or services for more than the cost of producing and getting them to your customer, then at some point in time you are going to be forced to go out of business.
Call it "the law of the economic jungle" or "Darwin's theory of business", but you have to card a positive score to continue as a business enterprise.
This means that without profits, businesses just aren't businesses for very long. So, the dot.com bubble notwithstanding, profits are people's bottom line, and this makes that the prime question everyone wants to ask you about how you're doing in business.
Now tracking profit requires having a good score-keeping system. If you're going to have a chance at generating consistent real profits, protecting how you score in business means properly tracking revenues and costs. And to make sure you don't have a disaster hole, or run a string of bogies that kills your score, you'll have to watch the size and number of the risks you run. As in golf, business has its sucker pin placements, and practicing good course management means prudently playing the odds, playing to your strengths and away from your weaknesses, and carefully judging just when and where its right to be bold.
Success in business, just like in golf, requires doing many things well: focusing clearly on your target; practicing good balance; keeping a steady eye on the ball; taking care not to let your score get away from you; and importantly, having fun.
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