Leaving a legacy means living a legacy

August 04, 2014

Have you considered what legacy your small business will leave?

There are dozens of reasons people become entrepreneurs and small business owners, but more often than not the main reason is this: They want to make a difference, effect change in the ways they can and leave a legacy for their families, their staff and the world.

Usually when the conversation turns to leaving a business legacy, thoughts of larger-than-life entrepreneurs like John D. Rockefeller, Steve Jobs and Henry Ford spring to mind. We can understand what they stood for and worked for, and we know the effects of this work continue on.  Each of these people had a driving focus and dedicated their time to promoting it.

Which illustrates an important point: The word “legacy” doesn’t apply only to the distant future.  It applies to each and every day.  The personalities mentioned above worked on their legacy day in and day out, whether it was revolutionizing an industry, transforming an obscure production element into what we now know as design or changing conversations across an entire medium.

Ultimately your legacy is creating a business that will live on after you and become larger than any one person – think Sears or McDonald’s.  They were started by individuals with larger-than-life dreams who focused on those goals.  Or you can look at it as the sum of your achievements that continues to affect the world beyond your time here.  Either way, your legacy can be whatever you want it to be – but you must identify what that is.

Identify the values that guide your work and your worldview. Find out where they align with your small business initiatives and strengthen those practices.  You’ll find that with these values in mind, and with activities rallied around fewer but stronger targets, your focus will sharpen. This will help you identify your legacy and build it naturally.