You've Built a Startup. Now, Build a Legacy.
When you’re running the day-to-day aspects of your business, it’s easy to just be focused on how you’re going to get through that week or even that day. While this approach is often a necessity to get a startup off the ground, it doesn't leave a lot of time to focus on the long term.
Yet many entrepreneurs want to look beyond just founding a company, they are looking to leave a lasting tribute. The only way to leave a legacy is to think right now about how and where you want to leave your mark.
Here are five ways to approach your business now to leave a legacy later.
Start with the end in mind. Define what matters to you in the long term and formulate a big vision. This vision is your legacy. Every day focus on how today’s steps are getting you and your team to the end.
Related: Leaving a Legacy
When you get caught up in the drama of your struggles instead of focusing on the vision of your end goal, you cheat yourself out of creating something that will stand the test of time. So live now with the end in mind.
Get out of the weeds immediately. Going hand in hand with a big vision is getting yourself in the right mentality as soon as possible. For an entrepreneur that means getting out of the day-to-day business affairs quickly. The sooner you can utilize the skills of others for help with tasks like administration, accounting, marketing and any other daily duties that you can hire out, the better off you’ll be. Think about it: Would Steve Jobs have been as successful if he has spent his time trying to do social media posts and the weekly payroll?
Being unable to relinquish control of daily tasks make you a micromanager and a small-time thinker. Legacies aren’t left by such activities. So think big now and hire out the daily work. Then focus on your innovative vision.
Don’t hire the best team, hire the 'most' team. Legacy requires the ego to have confidence in yourself and your idea balanced perfectly with the humility to be open to other’s suggestions and improvements.
You become amazing by processing the right feedback in the best way. To accomplish this you need a team made up of those with the “most.” You don’t need the best “on paper” applicant for your social media team, you need the most connected and motivated one. You don’t need the best marketer on your team, you need the most disruptive thinking one. What this means is you see past people’s resumes, and instead, look into their souls. You only want team members that have the most spirit and motivation to be in your tribe and to make a contribution to your vision.
Annoy and thus, proselytize your vision. It’s not enough for an entrepreneur to talk about his or her vision or print it and frame it at the office. You need to repeat and proselytize your vision to your team and to the world so much so that you start to even annoy yourself.
When your team starts to lovingly roll their eyes as you mention for the thousandth time the big legacy you’re building, know that you’re almost there.
Leave. One great benchmark of leadership is to create your legacy and then step away from it to ensure it goes on without you. If you leave and your legacy goes with you, then the vision wasn’t big enough.
To create a legacy strong enough that when you step down, the dream carries on, you should be thinking about autonomy and your personal exit strategy at all times to test weaknesses and holes in your big vision.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.