Start with a Vision

Let’s start at the beginning. The most basic thing about any creation is that it started from a thought, a dream, an idea, a passion. As a vision, it is intangible. The next step in making it tangible is to see it as finished in your mind.

The importance of a clear vision cannot be over- emphasized. Think of trying to build a house without first deciding what you want it to look like; with all the details, both inside and out. The same is true in creating a successful business.

To create your Business Vision, begin by giving thought to what you want your business to look like when it’s fully mature. Sometimes it’s helpful to close your eyes as you’re thinking.

The clearer you can make your Vision, the greater your chances of achieving it. The rest of your job then is to make the decisions on a day to day basis that will create it into a tangible reality.

The Vision is the first step in writing a business plan. Jim Horan’s popular book, “The One Page Business Plan: Start with a Vision, Build a Company”, uses the vision as the basis for the rest of the plan. That’s how critical it is.

I find many business owners are really not clear about their Business Vision. They just want to make it month to month, without considering where their decisions are taking them. When you operate in this mode you’re always pushing to sell more, to make a profit, to stay in business. When you’re operating with a clear vision around which you have passion and motivation, it acts like a magnet. The laws of attraction are pulling you forward. Everything becomes easier.

Do Some Brainstorming

As a place to start, look into the future; three, five, ten years. What do you want for yourself and your business? Allow your thoughts to flow freely. Be optimistic, think big. Capture all ideas that come to mind. Be descriptive. This is where you want to call upon your personal passions. What motivates you? What was it that made you decide to take up this business in the first place?

Consider the following and how they might fit together into a mental image as the basis for your Vision.

Total Revenue or Sales; Total Profit (Size of business?)

Scope of Products or Services (What are you selling?)

Company Image (What are you known for in the marketplace?)

Role as Owner (What are you doing? What are you not doing?)

Target Market and Scope of Market (Who finds value in what you offer?)

Alliances, Partners (Do you have key outside connections that expand your reach?)

Use of Your Personal Strengths and Values (How are you using your personal assets?)

Personal Reward from Business (Impact on your lifestyle and level of satisfaction?)

Exit Strategy (How and when do you plan to leave the business?)

If you have colleagues, associates or employees whose judgment and insight you respect, talk with them to see how they view your business and what potential they see. You may get some good ideas that will expand upon your original thoughts.

Write a Vision Statement
Of course, ultimately the vision has to be yours. Look for what makes you feel excited and creates a strong desire to achieve. Then WRITE it and put it in a place where you can see it every day. Keep this vision in the front of your mind so you can call upon it at any time.

As you make decisions, always consider your vision. Choose the one that most closely supports your vision. That’s the real value of the vision -to keep you focused and taking action toward where you want to go. It’s also the foundation for setting annual goals and creating a one-year plan.

Refer to Vision Statement Examples

Here are a couple of statements to use as reference in developing your own. Keep it short, but be sure to elaborate on details that are important to you.

ABC is a consulting firm offering services in three lines of business: HR Consulting, Business Networking and Coaching. We focus on helping fast growing and emerging businesses establish an effective HR department that is a true business partner to other leading areas of the organization. In addition, we help individuals at the crossroads of change realize their potential through increased self-awareness, clarity and goal setting. The business is a sole- proprietorship with the majority of work conducted by the owner at the client site or remotely. Work is generated through referrals and grassroots networking. We are known for deep subject matter expertise, a strong project management model and flexibility.

In this one, the business model, source of business, scope and strengths are defined.

XYZ is a privately held highly specialized boutique executive search firm, offering top talent who are dedicated to adding value to their new organization. We are known for providing the right candidate to the client with speed and efficiency. Our placements stay an average of 5 years. Our annual revenue is $3 million or more. We have offices in NYC, NJ and CT. My role is exclusively business development and strategy.

As you can see, this one is a bit shorter and focuses on business model, image, revenue, locations and the leadership role.

What’s important is that you can feel the energy behind your Vision Statement. It must motivate and “pull” you toward it.

A client who’s been working on his Vision Statement just sent me this link, html. It’s a fun YouTube video with a plan for how to manifest your vision. It only takes a couple of minutes and I think you’ll be inspired.

OK, are you ready? If so, your assignment is to go through the process of creating or updating your business vision and putting it into writing.

Remember a vision is abstract. This assignment takes you through the steps of refining the abstract and committing it to paper. See the vision in your mind first; then create a picture in writing that describes your vision. This is the first step toward making it a reality.

Then find or create your own pictorial or graphic image that has the “feeling” of what you envision. Put your written vision and image near your workspace so you can see it daily. Allow it to begin to permeate your thinking and feel the excitement as you read and view it. Or make your own vision slide show as Malcolm Cohan suggests.

Let your vision become the guiding light toward which all your activities are directed. Anytime you have a decision to make, ask the question: which choice will take me closer to my vision? The answer will be clear.