Sustainable and cause-driven companies–like their conventional counterparts–see a lot of urgency in the coming quarter, the coming year.
There are customers to acquire this month. There are competitors to outmaneuver this quarter.
From our focus on the short-term comes the pursuit of advancement, but the long-term sometimes tells us a different story:
Paper has outperformed digital media for archiving and retrieval in the past. We can still access the ancient writings of Seneca and Socrates, but not select science papers of the 80s. Paper still works, whereas files left on a NeXT computer are now a real challenge to access. We embrace the allure of digital to the degree that paper must soon be EOL (end-of-life). When we embrace technology, do we do so expecting our business to be around in 20 years? What are the implications of our technology decisions when we see it through that lens?
The boardgames I played when I was little still exist. We can still play those. But there are no TVs anymore that accept the input from the videogames that had my attention shortly after that. We embrace the allure of advanced entertainment to the degree that what came before it must be deemed ‘boring’. When we embrace innovation and advancement, do we do so expecting our business to be around in 20 years? Are we behaving like a company that will?
In our sustainable and cause-driven businesses, there are trends and patterns that draw us in, whether it’s favoring fast-fashion over quality production, or shedding human resources in favor of total automation. These trends promise further advancement and profit. It’s not an either-or situation. When we explore market trends, do we do so mindful of where that leads in 20 years? Will it help us or hurt us if we pursue that path?
Basecamp, the project management software company, invests heavily in customer service. They’re one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Send them an email, they’ll reply within the hour with a comprehensive, warm reply. That is a skill they’ll thank themselves for in 20 years time.
Agencies that focus exclusively on Snapchat marketing on the other hand, while effective today, may find themselves on the back-foot in 5 years, never mind in 20 years time.
Today’s question is this: how do the business decisions you make today affect your company in 20 years time? Do you like what you see?
If you want to make a lasting impact in the world with the work you produce and for those you wish to serve, it’s your responsibility to invest in both short-term and long-term. We all need you to stand the test of time.
Tip: Being able to communicate properly with your market, so that you stand out, and sell better, is a skill your business needs if you’re to make a lasting impact. BuiltForImpact.net can help with that.