First, we wish you a merry Christmas and joyous new year! Time off for the holidays reminds us why we are working in the first place. Building a business and focusing on growing its value allows us to provide for our families and spend more time with our loved ones. Ambitious business owners can sometimes lose sight of this as they charge forward day after day, working hard to stand above the competition.

Being ambitious is more than just desire. Simply being a “dreamer” does not make you ambitious. We see some common traits among business owners who have strong ambitions — they are accomplished, driven, hard workers, high performers, very involved in their businesses, and also open to change. They are very often collaborative thinkers, and understand the benefits of working as a team. Ambitious business owners who work with us must have a good moral compass, and many are family oriented.

If a business owner has all these qualities, it saves time. We don’t have to start at square one and teach the value of collaboration, because they know it already and are geared up to move forward. Even the most ambitious leaders — in fact, especially the most ambitious leaders — can benefit from collaboration with a business advisor who can provide solid strategy and proven methods in mapping out the path toward growth, value, and true success.

The Strengths and Pitfalls of Ambition

It’s fairly certain that if you are reading this, you are ambitious. Business owners are built that way. At its core, ambition requires a foundation of optimism — you need to know there’s a “pot of gold” at the end of all your efforts. Being ambitious as a business owner means you want to do more than stay afloat. Truly ambitious business owners want to grow and expand, and they know they need a team. It’s a rare and strong leader who can keep this fire of ambition burning while remaining humble, teachable and focused.

Ambition is a tremendous asset, yet ambitious business owners can fall prey to certain missteps. Sometimes ambition can make a business owner singularly focused, ignoring the relationships between the eight fundamentals (leadership, planning, sales, marketing, people, operations, financial, and legal). And a driven, hard-working business owner can succeed, at least by some measure, by focusing on just a couple fundamentals. Getting as far as you want to go, however, will take a more comprehensive approach.

How ambitious are you? Would you say you strive to be in the top 7% of an elite group of business owners?

In this case, we aren’t talking about the top 7% in earnings or growth. Have you thought about what truly makes a successful business — something that gains value until you wish to transfer that value and move to your next goal or your happily ever after? Only 20% of businesses ever go to market. And only 7% of owners who exit their business report being happy with that transition!

This means that a vast majority of business owners watch their business die on the vine in some stage of development, and the value in that business is either wasted or never existed in the first place. Many ambitious, hard-working owners put off exit planning and instead chase the immediate dollar, which is a never-ending road with no exit ramp to retirement. These owners don’t really have a business, they have a glorified job. It’s not working for them, they’re working for it.

Eagle can help ambitious business owners break out of that mold, to pursue consistency, grow and expand, and find methodical ways to streamline processes.

If you know ambition is one of your strengths, do you find yourself held back by any of these common ambition traps? Do you:

• Fail to look far enough ahead?

• Do everything yourself?

• Singularly focus on your core strength, at the cost of other fundamentals?

• Get distracted too often, or have a “squirrel mentality?”

• Waste energy by taking a shotgun approach rather than stepping back to assess?

• Lose sight of your goal and not serve your own needs?

• Let ego get in the way of good decision-making?

• Not realize a business must be transferrable to protect its value?

• Fall into complacency when you feel you’ve “made it?”

Any strength can become a weakness if not tempered with collaboration and good planning. We can help business owners take full advantage of their ambitious nature while avoiding the common pitfalls.

“Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge.”
— H.G. Wells

Many people have ambitions, whether it’s to write a book or run a business. Without a team who has the knowledge of how systems work, ambition can exhaust you before it takes you anywhere.

A common misconception is that business advisors are just for companies that need help surviving. At Eagle Corporate Advisors, we pride ourselves on helping ambitious business owners get to their next level — faster, more efficiently, and with the right foundation to build upon.

If your present situation does not match your ambitions, a workshop with us can jump-start your path toward a more successful, valuable, transferrable business. Get started by taking Eagle’s free Altitude Assessment to see where your business stands today.