As the owner or manager of a small company, there have probably been a few points during your career when you’ve felt completely overwhelmed and lost as you work to build your business. There are all kinds of issues that arise to hinder your efforts and challenge your ability to shape an organization that truly fulfills your vision.

Many people get stuck in this turbulence because they constantly deviate from the course to pursue secondary goals or seek quick solutions to current problems. They find themselves running in different directions each day as they scramble to increase sales, fill key staff positions and implement new practices or policies.

This kind of “Shiny Object Syndrome” is very distracting and rarely addresses the fundamental aspects of your business. This behavior undermines your progress and can prevent your organization from meeting key objectives.

The Dual Responsibility of Creation and Fixation

Small business leaders often serve as both the captain and navigator of their “company ship.” While innovation and creative thinking are both great qualities when developing the vision for an organization, it is also essential to evaluate new ideas to ensure they add long term value and help you reach your primary goals.

Self-evaluation is not an easy task for anyone, and it can be particularly painful for visionaries and creative leaders. The real hurdle here is developing a clear vision that is completely dedicated to a handful of essential priorities.

A Simple Process for Defining Core Goals

Warren Buffett reportedly offered his pilot this practical advice for avoiding the trap of shiny object syndrome in business:

  1. Create a written list of your top 25 goals
  1. Circle the 5 on the list that are the most important
  1. Make these top 5 goals your only priorities and ignore the rest

This method may seem a bit extreme, but it can actually be quite effective for creative leaders who find themselves chasing after dozens of goals at once. Devoting even some of your attention to secondary goals, even a few hours a week, can delay or prevent you from reaching primary objectives.

Work on the Fundamentals First

No matter the size or industry, every company successful company derives a significant portion of its value from employees. Every member of the organization from entry level workers to senior management play a vital part in your operations. Their passion and belief in the company’s ideals has a profound effect on results.

Dante Group encourages entrepreneurs and small business owners to prioritize company culture, employee integration and teamwork over shiny objects found along the path. Articulate the essential elements of your ideas and make sure every action or decision moves your company closer to that vision.

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