Acting fast and needing to get ahead of the curve is a struggle that entrepreneurs know all too well. Especially during times of crisis, brands may feel pressured to make moves that guarantee instant gratification. However, The Washington Post reports that short-term strategies like rapid digital transformation are not sufficient for the long haul. A great alternative for business owners is playing the long game. Forward-thinking strategies are just as important as agility and responsiveness. And given the way the business landscape is progressing, it may be the right strategy for women and minority entrepreneurs to focus on.
1. The long game helps you make better decisions
As the COVID-19 crisis quickly took over the world, businesses and individuals started making decisions — fast. The stress of a looming threat and uncertainty can push business owners to make some crucial choices, even in the face of unpredictable situations. You may have felt a lack of agency and a significant loss of control of your business outcomes during this time.
While it may be tempting to make key decisions now, research suggests that we’re psychologically prone to making more mental errors under stressful conditions. Findings published by Harvard Business Review suggest slowing down and pausing rather than deciding on key factors of your business impulsively. Play the long game and take time to digest all of the information out there before coming to a conclusion about your next step. Evaluate all the paths and think beyond the present crises. It may just carry your business through the toughest years it will face.
2. The long game helps you earn more money
The drive to make fast money surged during the pandemic as businesses went under. While it might be tempting to use this money for immediate needs, not all earnings should be instant. Sometimes, it can be more helpful in the long-term to use the time to help your money and other investments grow. AskMoney talks about the concept of time value money (TVM), which is an economic concept that illustrates why it is more profitable to get money now rather than in the future. However, it’s important to remember that TVM is affected by various factors, and some may depend on what you intend to do with it.
For instance, the sooner you put it in an investment with a guaranteed yield, the more money you can make faster. By prioritizing long-term goals over short-term gains, you can earn more money in the long run. This type of investment may even be the one thing that keeps your business afloat when you're out of options.
3. The long game helps you connect with your customers
While it’s perfectly fine to operate on a purely transactional model, this typically doesn’t drive customer loyalty. Playing the long game involves making a lasting impression on your clients and keeping them invested in your brand. There are various ways to do this depending on the kind of business you have.
For one, if you have a home takeaway food business, then your customers may appreciate personalized desserts or relevant content on the local food scene that keeps them up to date. Simply striving to help people can be potent, and it helps cultivate loyalty in the digital world where the overall customer experience is key. Think about the role you want your business to fill in the next couple of years and start building the foundations for their experiences now.
4. The long game can teach you who to listen to
Mentorship is crucial for any entrepreneur, but it's especially more so for entrepreneurs who are women or are from minority groups. However, taking advice from those who promise success with quick wins but don’t demonstrate the same lifestyle can be detrimental. It can be especially difficult when business advice comes from people you love, but entrepreneur Jacarina Soto emphasizes setting boundaries.
Instead, surround yourself with highly motivated people at the level of success you desire, even if they are not in the same industry. Chances are they know how to play the long game and have developed the necessary habits and strategies to succeed in their own endeavors. Having the right support makes all the difference.