Have you ever thought about your long-term plan for your business? A local startup entrepreneur, Sanjay Parekh, recently told a group of entrepreneurs and other community leaders that he likes to maintain a “2100 Plan” for his business ventures, keeping an eye towards what things might look like in the year 2100. I think it’s a great idea to have a long-, long-term plan. In fact, I wrote about the idea of developing a 100-year plan back in 2013.
Seven or eight years ago, I was contemplating the future of my business and considering what I might like to do with it. It occurred to me that the business I’d built could be engineered to serve its employees and customers long after I’ve moved on. “What must I do to transform my business such that it could potentially outlast me for many years?,” I wondered. Several answers came to mind:
- The business must serve a universal purpose.
- A culture based on shared purpose and values must be built.
- The vision for the organization must be compelling and very long term.
- A leadership team must be appointed and developed.
- An adaptable system of documented processes and standards must be established.
- The business must be financially healthy.
Of course, none of these actions would guarantee that my business would last even 5 years without me, let alone 100. But if I wanted to create a strong foundation, on which a 100-year-old business could be built, I thought this plan would be a good start.
And start I did! I’ve made significant progress on all six of the action items I’ve listed above and my business has thus been totally transformed. It is bigger, more profitable, and healthier than ever before. It serves more people and has more impact than ever, too. And importantly, it is not nearly as dependent on my personal, day-to-day involvement as it was for its first 15 or 20 years.
Will my business make it to its 100-year anniversary? I’ll never know. Not unless I make it to age 125 myself, that is!
As I look ahead for this blog, I plan to write about each facet of my six-step plan to build the foundation of a business that might last 100 years. I’ll come back here to link those articles as I make progress. In the meantime, what do you think it would take to build a business that could last 100 years or more? What would you add to my list?