Playing the long game makes more sense

We’re living in fast times. Everyone wants everything yesterday. And our expectations for how quickly things should take have exceeded beyond recognition. We’re multi-tasking and hacking, we’re looking for quick fixes and fast tracks.

And to be honest, I think it’s sending everyone a little crazy.

Our attention span has decreased (when was the last time that you watched a tv show and didn’t reach for your phone at some point during those 30 minutes), and we’re forever trying to be ten steps ahead of where we’re standing right now.

This way of living and this way of thinking has overflowed into almost every area of our lives. And entrepreneurship and business have been heavily impacted by it.

Back in the day, an entrepreneur would understand that building a business takes time. They would understand that it would take time to get to know their customers & suppliers and to build relationships based on trust.

But we’re surrounded by so many myths of overnight success, of stories about tech entrepreneurs who came up with an idea for an app and 6 months later were pulling in millions of dollars of investment. So we’ve ended up in this crazy space that looks a little like Disneyland for entrepreneurs. Full of colour & magic & big dreams. Polished, shiny and seemingly real.

And you know what it’s done? It’s made entrepreneurship sexy. Everyone wants to do it. Suddenly it’s cool to be an entrepreneur.

But so many people are starting up businesses and building brands with completely ridiculous expectations in their heads. And with ridiculous expectations come painful reality checks.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken within the last year who are psyched to be at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, but within a few months are questioning everything and wondering whether perhaps they’ve done something wrong because they’re not getting huge amounts of traction.

Here’s the thing (and I wish I could implant this into the mind of every single newbie entrepreneur) : IT TAKES TIME.

And you know what? It’s meant to take time. Because playing for fast results won’t get you anywhere.

What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

In the last few years (as running your own business has become the cool career path) lots of folks have cottoned on to the fact that people want to see fast results. And so, similar to how the wellness industry is flooded with quick-fix diets and detoxes (that never produce sustainable results), the entrepreneurial world is full of people who are offering fast track business hacks.

And you know what? Some of them work. Some of the hacks will get you results. Some will boost your immediate profits. But I promise you they will impact the long-term health of your business.

I’ve watched this play out so many times. Business owners trying to figure out how to bring in the most money, fast. Entrepreneurs letting go of integrity so they can make a quick buck. Over promising and under delivering. Pushing new products and services out of the door without spending any time thinking them through, or making sure they’re a good fit for their clients.

In the online world, we’re inundated with fake experts. People selling business advice who have never run a business. People claiming authority & knowledge on a subject they learnt from a couple of free webinars. People who are fixated on growth in the next 6 months.

Rushing anything causes mistakes. And running your business based on short-term success is a big big mistake.

Sure, it might look (and feel) like you’re charging ahead of your competitors. You might feel like this entrepreneurship game is easy. But this way of running a business is destined to fail. Why ? Because ultimately, you’re going to end up letting people down. Customers will feel unheard, uncared for, and perhaps even taken advantage of.

And they’ll talk to their friends.

And suddenly, the quick buck has been replaced with a shitty reputation.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks about losing the fast game to win the long one. About leaving money on the table to win the war. And it makes so so much sense.

So the next time you feel like you’re trying to keep up with the hype. Or you find yourself thinking that your business isn’t growing fast enough. Remember the tortoise and the hare. Focus on the long game, knuckle down and do the work.