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Ambition in business: How vision, positivity and grit can drive you

By Viresh Harduth | July 8th 2020
Viresh Harduth, Vice President: Small Business, Sage Africa & Middle East

It is not easy to build a business. Most small and medium business owners have stories of challenges, failures, turning points, and other significant events that contributed to their success. Yes, even COVID-19.

The world has witnessed how quickly change happens and how ten-year, five-year, and even one-year plans and goals can be shattered overnight. But history has shown that the businesses that grow during and thrived after, economic downturns had a similar mindset: it’s not about the situation you are in, but about how you approach it that will determine where it will take you.

In a word, it is about ambition.

Having the drive and motivation will ensure you stay focused on your vision. Some people call it passion and say it has been crucial to their success; passion and ambition have helped them to recover faster from failure and given them courage to realign their approaches and processes in response to challenges.

Ambition defines your vision, drives your goals, and motivates you to get up after you are down. It inspires positivity, determination, and personal growth in your teams. It drives everyone to imagine a better future, for themselves, the business, and society. It is what your customers identify with and what sets you apart from your competitors.

How to channel ambition

When your core purpose or mission is clear, it is easier to cultivate and channel ambition to all the right places. It’s easier to identify opportunities, make decisions, and focus on the impact you want to have on those around you. By letting the outcome drive you, it’s also easier to focus on the positive in every experience, including failure.

Ambitious businesses keep perspective, act quickly, and never quit. They are authentic and creative in their approach, self-sufficient and responsible, and they’re willing to sacrifice some things in exchange for an opportunity to develop and grow.

Setting ambitious goals

Excessively fast growth can be dangerous. When you grow too quickly, you might spend recklessly, invest in people, equipment, and resources you don’t yet need, and over-complicate your internal structures.

It’s important to set ambitious goals, but remember that the key to achieving goals, is in breaking them into smaller – even micro-goals. Aim for slow, steady growth over months. Align all goals to your mission but push yourself out of your comfort zone because that’s where growth happens.

Smaller goals allow you to change your mind or to change strategy when it diverts focus from your mission. Aiming for small wins makes you flexible, adaptable, and able to make faster decisions.

When setting goals, focus on quality over quantity, on seizing opportunities and making an impact in other’s lives, and on having a positive, responsive, and aware outlook. If you allow yourself to think ahead, that’s where you’ll end up.

The ability to make a timely decision, execute it, and drive towards the outcome is hugely valuable. This is where small businesses have an advantage over established enterprises: SMEs can often get closer to their customers, creating both business and emotional relationships in the process – and that’s gold because, without customers, businesses don’t exist.

If you’re unsure about what your mission is, research your customers. It will soon become clear that what’s important to them will also be important to you.

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