Finding success as an entrepreneur means juggling the practical necessities of the present alongside the demands of the future. A business that doesn’t grow is doomed to stagnation, and few business owners want to be doing the same thing they’re doing now (and making the same amount of money) five years down the road. But finding that sense of balance can be difficult. That’s why it can be valuable to think of your business in terms of the three arc structure that defines most stories. By putting things in these terms, it can be easier to put your company’s objectives into perspective.

Act One: The Here and Now

The first story you should consider is that of your existing quarter, your existing year, and the year to come. Without the means to keep your business afloat, you’ll never make it to the second act, and that’s why it’s important to look at how your business operates within the current market. Who are your competitors? What advantages do they offer that your business cannot? And how can you find your place in the market by taking advantage of unexploited opportunities? You should think about your first act in terms of how you can keep your company afloat but also how you can position yourself for growth in the years to come.

Act Two: The Near Future

Since it takes place more in the indeterminate future, act two comes with a lot more questions. Where do you think the market will be years down the road, and what risks are you willing to take to make sure that your company will not just succeed but grow? Preparing yourself for your second act means doing the research necessary to predict upcoming technologies and trends. Companies preparing for their second act are typically thinking about what products their customers will need in the future, what markets are open to them that they aren’t currently pursuing, and what emerging technologies can help them achieve their objectives.

Act Three: The Endgame

Stories in their third act are national or international giants. They’re the Ubers and Googles of the world. It’s your ultimate vision for your company wherein you’ve dominated the opposition and created a model for your company that’s unprecedented and unique within the market. A business in their third act is an essential part of the business landscape, and their collapse would have a substantive effect on the lives of people on a global scale.

What’s important to remember is that these three acts exist in tandem with one another. You should be thinking in terms of all three, and each has an important role to play in your company’s marketing. Speaking in first act terms provides you with the practical means to keep your company afloat and your shareholders happy, while the third act is an aspirational vision that helps you sell yourself to customers and potential investors. But be sure to not be too specific or outgoing with your visions for your second and third acts. You don’t want to play your cards too soon and give your competitors ideas.