What you learn from your past and do in the present will determine and build your future.
A young business is similar to a toddler and tends to live in the present – keeping busy with day-to-day operations, managing their clients and their team. They are energetic and are enjoying the benefits of creating their own firm. They are working with their heads down and often do not take the time to look up and see where they stand in their business. If they are shortsighted, it can keep them in a place of pride instead of confidence, and may cause them to take awhile to mature.
It takes a more mature firm, akin to a young adult, to lean into the future, to use their vision and take the risks that are necessary for potential growth. They embrace what they have learned and are in a forward moving momentum in order to seek out the best possible solutions for their clients. These firms are striving to be the best and to be ahead of their competitors in the ever-moving advancements in the industry. If they stay client-focused and keep their egos in check, they can achieve positive results. Since they focus on professional growth and will never stop learning, they can become thought-leaders for others to follow. These firms surround themselves with other professionals that bring new ideas and different experiences to share, to collaborate and build value for their clients and their team. There is often a strong culture where everyone is treated as a professional, with everyone bringing value to the firm. These businesses will have the ability to become the best firms.
As for the established firms – the seniors – they often have not dealt with the future and tend to live in the past. How things have been has always worked, so why change something that is not broken? Many of these firms may never be capable of moving away from what they have known and often stay stuck with their familiar, unable to make a successful transition for their business – whether that be through a merger, acquisition, or internal succession.
Be careful when learning from the past – do not live in it.