In working with so many prospective entrepreneurs, I’ve found there is a common thread that runs true for all of them. They have a beautiful vision of what their prospective business will represent. In their visions, the businesses always generate respectable profits, they employ perfect employees that love their jobs and the owners, and the workday is blissfully full of fun activities they enjoy. Some go so far as to envision the awards and accolades they’ll receive for providing wonderful products and services to customers.
Is this wrong? Heck no! In fact, I love to see when they have allowed themselves those visions. We all need a dream! If we have no vision, we’re just floating around and heading nowhere. While the end goal doesn’t always have to be perfectly clear, there should be a vision of what the end goal will provide in terms of satisfaction. The hard part is taking that vision from a thought in the head and bringing it to life so that someone can see it and understand it.
Thanks to the digital world, we have become visual creatures. We can obtain or create a picture of anything we are thinking about and put it into shareable form in seconds. When I meet with prospective entrepreneurs, I encourage them to bring me anything they can to show me what their visions are for their businesses. Pictures, samples, drawings, estimates – it all helps create the vision.
There are many ways to transform a vision into an actual picture that you can bring to life. It’s a new year, and this is the perfect time to move a vision out of your brain and into a form that you can touch, feel, and maybe even share. Why? A couple reasons:
· As you start illustrating your vision, you’ll naturally be able to put more details around it. The function of articulating your vision will automatically enable you to embellish and add the details to make it clearer.
· Putting your vision into a physical visual format brings it to life! It now has a purpose, a stake in the ground, and a place where it can be built upon
· By being willing to open your vision where others might see it, you will automatically confront anything that may be holding you back. This is beyond powerful.
So how can you get that wonderful vision out of your head and into a physical format where you bring it to life? You can do this in various ways.
Here are a few suggestions:
1) Create a plan. Effective, but somewhat ho hum and boring. However – it’s always a good exercise. If you feel the need to create a plan but just aren’t up for all the work, email me and I’ll send you my 1-page business plan template. Or there are many business plan templates you can purchase on the internet.
2) Craft a story. You can share a story around the vision. This could be very helpful if you need to engage an audience. Nothing keeps our attention like a good story. I learned a very effective way to create a vision from a master. I’ll work on crafting that story (or see # 5 below).
3) Develop marketing collateral you hope to use. This will help you crystallize what your business will be selling. It forces you to identify the value proposition. This is a fantastic exercise and I’ll warn you, it is sometimes painful and frustrating. You’ll thank yourself later for making yourself do it.
4) CREATE A VISION BOARD! Yes, you’ve heard of these. I am a huge believer in vision boards. I keep one myself. If you saw my board, you would instantly know is important to me. You would know what I strive to achieve, and you would get a clear feeling about that perfect environment I envision for my business. You would see my plans. You can do a vision board with paper cut outs from a magazine or any other pictures or drawings. You can even create digital vision boards. Whatever manner you choose, just do it! And if you’re really stumped, check out this mini workbook on Amazon on how to create a vision board that results in a plan on how to achieve the vision. I wrote this with input from Karen Smyth who is a master at bringing a vision to life. In addition to running a very successful business in real estate, she teaches vision board classes in her limited spare time because she is so committed to inspiring others to live up to their potential. I challenge anyone to sit through one of her classes and not be turbo charged thereafter.
It’s a new year. It’s time to give your vision the attention it’s due. Your vision will only grow if you find a way to get it out of your head and bring it to life. Don’t your dreams deserve it? I know they do.
By the way, you can learn more about Karen Smyth this month here. She is the featured entrepreneur in The Company We Keep at The Softer Side of Success. Reach out and get to know her. You’ll thank yourself for doing so.
Jodi Henson is a small business expert, author, entrepreneur and founder of The Softer Side of Success (www.thesoftersideofsuccess.com). She works with aspiring and existing small business owners to help them overcome challenges and attain their goals. If you are looking to define your next steps, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.