26 July 2016

How far in advance have you set your business goals? The end of the year? The next five years? Ten years even?

Lawrence Jones MBE entrepreneur

Writing my goals down in the Maldives.

I often talk about setting goals and chasing your dreams, but it’s also important to remember to live in the moment and to be the best you can be right now.

In nature, you’re either growing or you’re dying. Thankfully, UKFast is growing at a fast rate, but with that comes its own challenges, especially as the tech industry is always looking to evolve and improve. This means that on the one hand, we have to think about ways to ensure our future success, but on the other hand we have to be the best we can be at the present moment.

It is true that as an entrepreneur you must focus on the destination – where will you end up if you don’t plot a course or even have a map? I am a firm believer in the value of setting goals, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all in the long term.

It’s just as important to look at ways we can improve and make an impact in the short term. When you’re always looking too far into the future, there is a chance you miss the opportunities that are right in front of you. Some of these opportunities may change your business and your life.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that we would own our own data centres. It was responding to the existing market and our clients’ needs that made us think differently. Now, they form a huge part of what we are able to offer and make a massive difference to the way we do business. Similarly, I set up our security arm Secarma in response to requests from clients for greater security solutions.

Secarma has now acquired its own business, with more than 40 ethical hackers working full-time.

Another example is our hotel, Le Farinet, in Verbier. Our long-term vision was to create a happy team and to make sure we reward success. I never thought I would achieve this by purchasing a Swiss hotel, but when the opportunity came up I grabbed it with both hands. Today, Le Farinet is a place for the whole UKFast team to come together and unwind and I wouldn’t want to be without it!

To run an innovative business, you must be able to respond to immediate concerns raised by clients and see the potential of business opportunities if and when they arise, and that’s what we strive to do every day.

As entrepreneurs, especially in the tech industry, we have to be on the edge of innovation. We don’t just wait for things to happen; we want to make them happen! We don’t react to things; we want to pave the way.

Have you ever taken opportunities that weren’t part of your long-term plan? Did they work out in the end?

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