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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Develop a 40+ Year Vision

As an architect, Nancy Goshow knows that some European cathedrals took hundreds of years to build and some renovations on the Great Wall of China took 200 years. 

Key Question:


Nancy and Eric enjoy thinking about the distant future because they realize that nothing great was ever done quickly. They are students of architecture and they know that some European cathedrals took hundreds of years to build and some renovations on the Great Wall of China took 200 years.

What effect do you think having a vision of 40 years has on Nancy and Eric's decision making?

These are the first business owners to articulate such a long vision for their business.

Most of the business owners we meet do not even have a business plan for the next year. All too many of us are flying by the seat of our pants. Certainly if we have not even planned one year out, the idea of 40 years just sounds ludicrous. However, Nancy is not articulating their plan; she is articulating a vision. The vision conditions the mind to accept the setbacks and the steep learning curves that just come with doing business in the 21st century.

A vision gives you the outside parameters by which you can pull back particulars for this year's plan. If you have been following the show, you know we are fond of asking our business owners, "Where is your business plan? And what key critical ratio do you chart every month? week? day?" And you know that we get a lot of blank stares. Two stats should bother us all. One is that about 70% of all start-ups fail within the first year. We are not learning to set realistic expectations; we are not writing up business plans and getting feedback on them.

There is nothing easy about starting and running a business. Of course, every episode of this show makes that clear. We have no get-rich-quick people. No MLM. Only people who take small steps every day, work hard and long hours; and within ten years they discover they have "come a long way." The other stat is that about 70% of all businesses that get past those first ten years, fail to get to the next generation.There is no transition stategy. No good business valuation strategy. No shared equity strategy. We have addressed these issues in separate shows and each topic has been incorporated within our eight steps to start, run and grow a business.

Also, for those of you who are part of Learn Online, you will soon have the option to publish your answers to these questions, first as a business plan, then as a forty-year plan whereby you learn to do business valuation, chart growth through comparative indexes of key critical ratios, and begin exercising your options to share equity first as an ESOP, then within a Small Corporate Offering Registration. When you exercise these options, you will have a vibrant 40+ year plan, a way to harvest equity, and assure the company's future growth beyond your own life.

Think about it

Do you have a five-year vision? ...ten-year vision? Maybe we can all grow that vision to forty years!

Clip from: Goshow Architects

New York City: Meet  Nancy & Eric Goshow of Goshow Architects. A major part of their work comes out of the $60± billion in annual small business contracts set aside by the US federal government.   At least 23% of all federal contracts are mandated to go to small business, but you've got to be certified!  Priority is given to those with diversity and with women in leadership roles. This set-aside  doesn't stop there.

The federal and state governments look carefully at all the big business contracts and are more favorable when they see big business award 23% of their sub-contracts to small business. Now, the Goshow's field, architecture-and-design, is one small segment of these contracts and sub-contracts.

Virtually every very creative, small business can have a role in lowering the cost of government while improving services.

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Goshow Architects

Nancy Goshow, CEO and co-founder

36 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

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Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1978

Develop a 40+ Year Vision

HATTIE: Great companies are not built overnight.

NANCY: I think it probably takes 40 years. And I would break this down into four ten year segments. The first year, since we are trained as architects, we weren't trained in running a business. The first ten years we learned how to run a business the hard way. We have had many disappointments. We have many people, many clients who promise us one thing and then when we get there, it is something else. There is a kind of toughening up.

Learning the rules of business, learning that the rules of business are not always fair and equitable. That the rules of business, you can't judge them or change them, you just follow them and recognize them and become more comfortable with them. The first ten years you learn how to run a business and the work comes to you because of your reputation.

The second ten years, you know how to run a business now and you take what you have developed in the first ten years out to the market place to show every prospect what it is you have to offer. So that is the second ten years. You are building now, your portfolio to a new level, you are getting larger projects and you are going out and you are selecting now the clients that you want.

The third ten years is the refinement of the first two ten year segments in which you are beginning to seriously take a look at profitability. You are looking at larger projects now that give you a sustainability. You know your capacity, you know what backlog feels like, you have a sense of how you balance capacity and workload.

The last ten years are the years that you look to the future of the firm and bringing in new partners and mentoring those young people that are coming up in the field. And in some cases, we try to give the mentoring that maybe we did not have.

NANCY: Eric and I have a very special relationship. We are husband and wife, we are business partners, but most of all we are best friends. The reason we wanted to work together -- and still want to work together -- is because as professionals we are both so serious about our work. We end up working long hours; we take our work very seriously; and when we are not in the office we are looking at architecture, talking about architecture. Eating, sleeping and breathing architecture – it is not just a job -- it is our life.

ERIC: I feel fortunate that architecture found me – or I found architecture in some ways. Because I do think that most people go through their lives and not really enjoying their day-to-day life. It's not what they are planning for in the future or how they see themselves, the image they project of who they are or they want to be. It is the very basic level of what you do every single day. And if you can be satisfied with that – I think that, for me, is what bliss is about.

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