The Importance of Long-Term Vision in Business: How to Avoid Business Myopia

For businesses of all sizes, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and grind, focusing solely on short-term gains and immediate results.  We do it every day.   This narrow-minded approach, known as myopia, can lead to missed opportunities and negative consequences in the long run. (I’ll publish a post soon about long-term thinking!)  In this post, we’ll explore the dangers of myopia in business and provide tips for avoiding it and adopting a long-term vision.  While the term “business” will be used frequently in this article, the term refers to no particular-sized business.  The concepts can also apply to solopreneurs.

Avoid Business Myopia because it’s bad for business! @harbourtime #business #mindset #growth


What is Myopia in Business?

Myopia is defined as short-sightedness.  It refers to focusing on immediate results, without considering or even paying attention to long-term results and “bigger picture.”  As an example, a business may focus on short-term financial gains.  This can be great in, well, the short-term.  But, without serious analysis and considerations for long-term, the consequences could be considerable, including long-term reputational, financial or regulatory risk. 

Why is Myopia Dangerous in Business?

The stage has been set and it should be clear that business myopia is dangerous because many unforeseeable negative consequences can result from business myopia.  Included in these negative consequences are:

Missed Opportunities

These will be difficult to see in the short-term.  But, when you focus on immediate/short-term results, the opportunities for growth and expansion may be completely missed.  In many cases, the opportunities for growth and expansion in the future far outweigh any short-term gain. 

Loss of Reputation

Reputational Risk isn’t worth it!

Reputational risk is a “hidden danger that can pose a threat to the survival of the biggest and best-run companies. Often the risk results in outcomes not easily measured; however, it can adversely affect a company’s profitability and valuation.” Making decisions based solely on immediate financial gains can damage your company’s reputation and make it difficult to attract and retain customers, employees, and partners.  Do I need to outline for you what happens if there are no customers?

Read How to Establish Business Esteem Here

Decreased Employee Morale

Generally speaking, even employees who are there “just to collect a paycheck” care about more than just short-term gains.  People want to be a part of something bigger.  If they see a company focused on short-term gains only, morale can be impacted. When morale is impacted, it impacts the bottom line.  This applies to business partners, vendors and contract workers.

Unsustainable Growth

What does one good quarter get a business anyway?  Maybe it does increase cash, but by focusing solely on short-term results, unachievable expectations may be developed.  Unsustainable growth as the expectation will make it difficult for a company to stay in business in the long run.

How to Avoid Myopia in Business?

It is difficult to keep or shift focus outside of the short-term and avoid business myopia.  A long-term vision is key for business sustainability.  Below are some tips for avoiding business myopia:

Establish Clear Goals

Not just goals, but CLEAR goals.  Ambiguity can be the enemy of business growth.  By establishing CLEAR and long-term goals for your business, you will stay focused on the big picture and avoid getting caught up in short-term distractions.  By the way, this will not eliminate the short-term distractions, but it will help avoid letting them develop as unconquerable roadblocks.

Build Relationships

Client, employee and partner relationships are key to the future of any business.  Strong relationships in each of these categories can help achieve long-term success. You can check out an article we recently published regarding networking here.  Networking is a key component of building these relationships.  You may even dip into potential short-term gains as these long-term relationships are developed.  That’s okay.  Relationships always have the potential to come in handy at some point.

Emphasize Sustainability

I’m not going to focus much on the topic of sustainability.  But, business decisions should be made with potential environmental and/or community impact in mind.  Consideration of these items will contribute to a long-term focus and help prevent business myopia. 

Encourage Employee Input

Employee input and insight is key to avoiding business myopia.  This will accomplish a number of things including, employees feeling like they are part of the bigger picture (rather than just a number) and fresh ideas about the future of your business.

In conclusion, myopia is bad for business.  Long-term success can be achieved by avoiding short-sightedness.   Clear goals, strong relationships, a focus on sustainability and employee insight can help achieve long0term success and avoid business myopia. 

Avoid Business Myopia because it’s bad for business! @harbourtime #business #mindset #growth

Collin Harbour

Collin W. Harbour is the Principal Founder of C Harbour Services LLC, a business transformation and strategy company that develops strategic plans by aligning sales and plans with company goals, people and process.

Collin is a client growth and business strategy leader with experience identifying new business opportunities, as well as managing and growing client revenues. Through C Harbour Services LLC, Collin focuses on creating customized solutions that deliver valuable services, allowing clients to focus on their core business. He is a Co-Host of Strike a Chord Live Podcast with his lifelong friend, Marcus Ellis. SACL Podcast is a Motivational and Inspirational podcast, with a mix of Nostalgia and Fun! Harbourtime Strategy Talks is a blog and podcast providing strategic content for companies of all sizes.