THIS is the most important task of every entrepreneur (wmd)

Dr. Pero Mićić

What is the most important task of an entrepreneur or manager?

What is the most important task of an entrepreneur depends on who you ask. Ask the marketing people, and marketing is the boss’s business. Ask the sales experts, and it’s sell. If you ask the personnel people, then you must first and foremost make sure that your employees are doing well. When you ask production management, you best provide excellent products and solutions. If you ask me, it’s something completely different.

The most important task of the entrepreneur

What it is not

So let’s go in search of the most important task of an entrepreneur. It must be a task that only you, the entrepreneur, can do. Right? So we can sort out right away all the activities that others in your company can do, for which you can permanently hand over responsibility, which you can delegate. Because if the task can be delegated, it doesn’t need the entrepreneur to do it, so it can’t be your most important task.

And already our search for the most important entrepreneurial task becomes drastically easier. It’s amazing what’s being dropped. Are you the best marketing expert for your company? Of all the people you could hire? Very unlikely. Are you the best HR expert? The best salesman? The best product developer? The best quality assurance?

No single operational function in the company is a candidate for your most important job as an entrepreneur.

What can it be?

Let’s keep looking for the most important task of an entrepreneur. If nothing operational can be your most important task, what is the complementary, the supplementary word to operational? That’s right, strategic. Okay, tactically there is still in between in theory, but that doesn’t help us here. Because you can also delegate the tactical. Good, strategic. What is strategic? It is usually equated with important, long-term and also complex. Strategy in a nutshell is the way to go. Everything you do to achieve a goal. But strategy can also involve setting goals.

So there must be something more important, something higher. Something normative, some call it. Something that sets the rules. Something that makes a company special and attractive to customers, employees and investors.

What do most highly successful companies have in common? Your customers like to buy and pay a lot, employees apply in large numbers and investors literally beg to be allowed to give their money. These companies are believed to have a bright future. Because everyone has a positive convincing image of the future of this company. Because it is future-proof.

What it is: Your image of the future!

Your most important and non-delegable task is therefore, drum roll, your picture of the future. Develop and maintain your image of the future. And make it effective in your team.

If you want to have a future-proof company, you need to give your team and yourself solid and convincing answers about the future. Provide a clear orientation.

What is roughly a picture of the future? Their picture of the future consists of two parts. The first part is your picture of the future of your environment, your market.

  • What’s in store for you?
  • What will customers need in the future? What no longer?
  • How do customers change their behavior? How is society changing?
  • How are new technologies changing your market? What new competitors will emerge?
  • What will change? What remains the same? What disappears? What is new?
  • What surprises do we have to take into account? Where could we be wrong?

This is the view outside in, from the outside in. In this part of your future picture, you can only passively observe and assess, because you usually cannot change the course of the world.

The second part of your future picture is your picture of the future of your company. This is where you define your company and align it for the future.

  • What will we live on tomorrow? What opportunities do we have?
  • How can we improve the quality of life of our customers? How can we increase the benefits for our customers?
  • How could we become much more successful?
  • How do we align ourselves? What are we here for? How are we special? What do we want to realize?
  • Where are we taking our team?
  • What do we do next specifically? What projects and processes do we implement?

This second part is inside out. Here you are not a passive observer, but an active shaper of your future. Only if your future picture consists of these two parts is your future picture truly robust and useful. If either part is missing, you risk failing in the coming market changes. Why is this the most important task of the entrepreneur?

Why is a picture of the future the most important task of an entrepreneur?

I maintain that your vision of the future is your most important entrepreneurial task. But why is that?

1. whoever runs a company can delegate everything, but not the task of determining what exactly the company should be in the first place. Today and in the future. Nor can you delegate how you assess the future of your market. You can buy studies and consultants, but not your opinion. Anyone who delegates that, too, is not running the company. Very simple.

2. because far too few entrepreneurs have even a rough idea of how radically markets will change in the next few years. AI, robotics and genetic technologies are just three of the strongest drivers. From autonomous vehicles to the metaverse. We will hardly recognize many of our familiar areas of life. Those who are flying blind will recognize the threats and opportunities far too late.

3. because the direction of your business is the decision with the biggest and strongest impact. Let’s say you want to climb a mountain. Which mountain you choose for it determines practically everything else. What you take with you, how you train, how you proceed. You cannot quickly switch to another mountain in between. Also, if you want to take a trip, then your decision about the purpose and destination of the trip is the one with the biggest impact. Therefore, your decisions about what business you want to be in, how you want to be special to your customers, and what you want to accomplish with it are the decisions with the biggest impact on your business. They are your most important decisions as an entrepreneur.

If you misjudge the market, if you are not prepared for dangerous surprises, if you are in the wrong market with a weak positioning and an unrealistic vision, if your business model is outdated, no matter how agile, excellent and hardworking you are in your day-to-day business. They will still fail. I did not say that you, as an entrepreneur, should predict the future. Nor that you should plan accurately over many years. Rather, I said that entrepreneurs need a robust picture of the future in order to be future-proof.

4. to lead means to create a movement. Movement needs direction. Direction needs a goal, a picture of the future. Where are you taking your team? You cannot lead without a picture of the future! Because the image of the future in the minds of your team determines what everyone in your team perceives, what he or she thinks, considers right and wrong, and consequently how your employees use their time and resources, i.e. what they do every day. Because the market’s picture of the future determines why and for what purpose you have to develop and change in the first place. This creates the motivation. Your company is also the result of your team’s thoughts about the future. A convincing picture of the future creates focus, concentrates forces, reduces conflicts and makes more fun. Above all, it makes it more future-proof.

5. how much of your success or failure depends on your future picture of the market and your company’s future picture? If the previous three points are true, then virtually everything depends on it. How time-consuming is it to develop the image of the future for your company? How much time do you need for this? Half a day a week? One day per month? A few days a year? In any case: small investment, enormous effect. Therefore, the most profitable investment of your life and work time is to develop and update your vision of the future for your company.

Why not just stay flexible?

And no, muddling through is not the better strategy. Of course, no one can predict the future. And yet, every business decision you make is based on your assumptions about the future. There is no other way. And you’re constantly making fundamental decisions about the direction of your business that you can’t just quickly change.

The trick is that you can’t decide that you don’t want to have a picture of the future. They always have a picture of the future. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have a picture of the future that resembles less an orderly mental set than a dust-fogged junk room.

And now?

Please devote more attention and time to the most important task of the entrepreneur. Treat yourself. Develop your picture of the future and maintain it regularly. Make it effective in your team. This makes your company future-proof. In doing so, you also make your employees and their families, and of course yourself, future-proof.

And last but not least: it’s fun and enjoyable.

From over 30 years of experience, we have created a program that makes it easy and simple for you to develop your picture of the future, to future-proof your company, not in the distant future, but as quickly as possible. Especially for small companies.

Follow these links as well:

► The Future Strategy Program for SMEs

► Free video crash course THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
► BUSINESS WARGAMING for robust business and future opportunities
► KEYNOTES by Pero Mićić for your employees and customers

Have a bright future!