“Each year I take my family on three grand vacations from 2-4 weeks. We have a second home so we can ski right out our doorfront. Each year I provide employees with a spa retreat to thank them for their hard work.”
Have you imagined your business with this level of success and satisfaction? The above vision is just beginning to scratch the surface. One of the first things you can do to create your vision is this:
- Sit quietly where you won’t be disturbed.
- Close your eyes and get comfortable.
- Let your imagination indulge in your idea of the future. If one doesn’t pop in right away, feed your imagination by completing these thoughts:
- If we had more customers, I would…
- If we sold each customer a greater average dollar amount, it would allow me to…
- If I opened another branch, it could take advantage of…
Let the ideas snowball (in a good way) towards a truly grand vision. How does it make you feel?
Now open your eyes and write down everything wonderful that you remember. Note the sights, smells and sounds that stimulated your excitement. Don’t leave anything out. Don’t edit anything. The order of ideas doesn’t matter at this point. Don’t worry about writing complete sentences. The important thing is to get everything on paper so you don’t forget.
If visualization is difficult for you, take a look at my tips to get started in part 1, What’s Your Vision of the Future?
My Vision or My Company’s Vision?
If generating your personal vision was easy, but it was difficult to think where your company will be, use these questions to help stimulate your imagination:
- What are your company’s annual revenues?
- How many customers do you serve and where?
- What products and services do you now offer?
- How do your customers feel about your company and products?
- What’s your geographic service range?
- How many employees do you have?
- How much are you paying them?
- How do your employees feel about your company and their roles in the company?
- How are you positioned in the market? Do you have the lion’s share of the market?
- What’s your income?
- Where are you vacationing and how often?
- What kind of car do you drive?
- What does your office look like?
- Are you spending more time with family?
- Are you giving back by volunteering in the community or training others in skills?
- Are your values in line with your company’s performance?
- What are you working on?
- Whom do you partner with on projects?
Believe Your Vision!
So you let your imagination run amok. Great! But now you look over your notes and hear your inner voice screaming, “That’s impossible! It’ll never happen! You can’t do that!”
First, ignore the negative voice. It serves no purpose and knows nothing about what you can truly do.
Second, shape your answers to the above questions (and others you may think of) in the present tense. Your subconscious can’t tell the difference between the present and the future. The first step in selling yourself that your dreams are possible is putting them into the present: “I have 15 offices across 200 miles. My revenues are now $15 million every year. I have two dozen, terrific employees!”
Use every trick in the book to convince your inner voice you have your business dream now. Tape your vision to the top of your monitor where you’ll see it constantly. Put it on a plaque on your office wall. Say it out loud two or three times per day. Read it again before you go to sleep. Say it out loud to a mirror on the wall—to yourself. Sell yourself.
Setting Your Goals and Strategies for Next Year
Once your vision of the future is clear, filling in next year’s goals and strategies will go much more quickly to plan.
Don’t worry about the details of achieving your vision. Don’t worry about it changing six months or five years down the road. It doesn’t have to be cast in stone. Change it as needed as your life changes.
Here are some other sites with good ideas on developing your business vision:
- Defining Your Company’s Vision – Fast Company
- Defining Your Business Vision, Values and Strategy – SCORE
- Building Your Company’s Vision – Harvard Business Review
- 3 Steps to Creating Your Vision – Internet Independence
What tricks and tips do you use to craft your vision of the future?