Several years ago, a cross-section of entrepreneurs was asked what commonalities they shared as they built their enterprises. Contrary to what conventional wisdom might foretell, such as being listed on the Inc. 500 or being purchased by Google, the common thread was that each executive went to bed every night and awoke each morning fully aware that prospective customers did not have their companies’ products or services.

Getting those products and services into the hands of those in need of and without their wares was the foremost strategy. Strategy focused on the top line.

During a recent planning session, one credit union’s chief executive offered this comment: “We have a tendency to overestimate what we can do in two to three years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in 10 years. Let’s build a business and operating plan for growth and profits for the next few years, but let’s be bold enough to state who we want to be in 10 years and work to see it through.”

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