Think Long Term- Sprinting Is For Losers

Think Long Term- Sprinting Is For Losers

Too much in business is all about the short-term gain. You hear that complaint made time and time again. When entrepreneurs take their companies public, float them on the markets, go through an IPO, the businesses are often then based on short-term share value as opposed to what is good long-term for the business. The same is true for any size of business. Too much emphasis on the short-term and a lack of focus on the big picture can result in disaster.

My father always used to say there’s no such thing as a short quick buck. I wish I’d really fully understood what he was trying to communicate, as it could have been very helpful.

It’s not so much that there are not opportunities and deals that can create an incredible return, but often the damage that this does to people’s thinking has the opposite effect. You see for every quick buck winner there are many losers. For any identified target niches there are those who enter too late. For every lottery winner there are millions of lottery losers. And even for the one in a million who finds the quick buck and makes the outstanding return, unless they’re risk averse or have experienced, loss they are in danger of thinking that they have the Midas touch taking too many risks and losing it all.

At what point does a company investment look more like gambling, than it does a solid reliable healthy performing investment? If you happen to be there at the right time, with the right idea, with the right backing, great team, confidence and ability to take the risks, the likelihood is you’ll learn to be risk averse to protect your interests. People often quote that entrepreneurial businesses that grow too big lose their entrepreneurialism. That’s generally cited in a negative way. There can be such prudence in the reality of looking after those investments, because when you’ve won the  lottery once and walked away with £10m you’d be a fool to spend £1m for the next 10 weeks on new lottery tickets hoping to win £20m. Those sort of risks are stupid.

Entrepreneurs who have been successful, are often those who have had the capacity and courage to take risk but the wisdom to protect the company from the sheer levels of future reckless risk-taking, that may have been needed to launch the company in the first place. The spark, the idea, the creation, the success, the steady birthing, earthing and grounding of the company: the whole package is what is really impressive not just the initial spark.

In fact the spark can’t often be so unimpressive as it causes unwelcome fires. And its understandable that these people who cause such dangerous, damaging fires are often called arseholesnists.