Caring about the right things
You cannot build a restaurant business without caring about serving good food to customers. You cannot run a successful boutique if you don’t care about making your customers look good. The only way to achieve sustained long-term success is to care deeply about the right things.
A business exists because there is an unmet need. Serving this unmet need efficiently while providing a superior customer experience is the bedrock of a business. Both efficiency and experience are critical parts of the equation. To provide a fantastic customer experience, you must care deeply about the customer and their needs. The ability to spot opportunities and milk them are critical traits for an entrepreneur. But your long-term success will depend on how much you care about the customer.
Simply thinking of a business as a transaction and optimising for margins will bring you short-term success. However, you will always live under the fear of being disrupted by someone who can undercut your margins.
Similarly, thinking of a business as a constant set of KPIs to be tracked and achieved will not bring you long-term success. VC-funded startups place an inordinate emphasis on growth. Metrics like M-O-M and Q-O-Q growth are tracked religiously. It is nearly impossible to reach and maintain sustainable growth rates when there is constant pressure for growth at all costs.
All entrepreneurs worry about their business. In the short run, worrying causes us to care for the wrong things. Worrying about your next fundraise makes you care more about vanity metrics and how your business looks in the eyes of the investor. Their short-term concern drives them to make short-term choices, whereas caring for your customers and adding value to them will help you build a long-lasting business.
In short, care deeply about the right things, and you will worry less about many things.