If you’ve read my Business Secret Weapon and 5 Questions To Help You Create A Cracking Business Vision blogs, you’ll know I REALLY recommend having a vision for your business.
A business vision is a quick and easy way to get you focused, give you direction and stop you making bad decisions down the line when you’re busy. There are some business vision rules I always tell my clients, to ensure that they don’t stay stuck where they are. These rules help them create an awesome business vision that’s not constrained by their current circumstances – in other words, they need to be creating the business vision of their dreams, not the one from their backyard….
Here are a few rules to get you out of your comfort zone and into a place where you can create a business vison that is worthy of you and your amazing business.
1. Think Big
Go for something huge, impressive, inspiring!
A vision is not a little idea; it’s a great big thing. If you can’t go wild now then you’ll only get smaller later.
Put something really scarily big down as a first draft – if you want to become a millionairess and own a global chain of handbag shops, now is the time to write that down. If it’s not pushing the boundaries and making you smile (or giggle) in disbelief then you’re not trying hard enough :0)
What would your business look like if you had a magic wand and got it to where you want it to be? Not thought about it? Well now is the time. Write down any ideas about what your business might look like in 5, 10, 15 years and see which ones appeal. If none of them do, then that will give you food for thought!
2. Be YOU – Write From The Heart
This is you, your life and business. It’s about your desires, wishes, dreams and hopes for the future. It’s written for you – nobody else.
No one has to believe it or approve of it other than YOU so if it gets you excited, that’s perfect. Even if it contains things that other people have told you that you shouldn’t or couldn’t do!
You make up the rules. If Richard Branson had done things by the book, or Anita Roddick then two of the world’s most inspiring companies might never have existed. And who knows how many other amazing companies never came into existence because they were trying to follow the ‘rules’.
3. Be There
Imagine yourself in that place in the future when you have ‘made it’. When your business is exactly how you imagine it could be. Think about how it looks, who you’re with, what is around you, where you’re working from and who with, who you’re selling to, buying from, what you’re charging. Get real (in an unlimited sense!). This is the quickest way to get you there. The more ‘real’ you can make it, the more likely it is to happen because your thoughts and actions will work between now and then to get you there in person.
4. Be Quick!
Don’t agonise. Don’t wait for the ‘right moment’. Don’t sit and think. Don’t wrangle or get frustrated. Just write for 30 minutes and then stop. Don’t edit and don’t beat yourself up. However unbelievable (for now) the stuff is that you are writing, keep going because it will all make sense in the end.
Write everything down because the things you didn’t write might end up being the most important bits otherwise. Don’t be restricted by convention, don’t think about constraints, what’s happened to other businesses like yours, or anything negative. Just get your business aspirations, hopes and dreams down on paper now. If you need another 30 minutes then go for it but do it NOW!
5. Mix it Up!
Your life vision will include stuff out of your business vision and vice versa. It will all blend together because the two are interwoven. Put your passions into both and see how your energy lifts as you describe your vision.
6. Get that vision up on your wall.
Tell anyone who asks that this is your vision and you’re working on achieving it. Tell yourself that you are already on your way – it is yours to have and you can think about what it felt to be ‘in’ your vision when you were doing your initial brain dump. It’s yours for the taking.
It’s worth the effort, I promise – the clarity, inspiration and excitement you get from articulating your vision will keep you going on your most challenging days and the act of articulating it means that you’re already on your way!
This will be invaluable when you’re feeling emotionally battered (yes we all have those days).
Being a business owner is tough, and being a woman business owner usually means that we’re juggling a whole load of other commitments while still working on building our amazing business. Your business vision is your light at the end of the tunnel. Your holy grail. And imagine how amazing it will feel when you have to create business vision #2 because you’ve achieved it all. Yayyyy!
As you’ll know if you read my Business Secret Weapon Blog, having a business vision is a GREAT businesss decision. It gives you focus and clarity, it helps with decision making and it stops you getting sidetracked and distracted when life takes over.
Hopefully you’re convinced of the need to have some, so let’s get down to business and get that business vision started.
Here are five questions that will guide you through creating your business vision and prevent the ‘mind blank’, writer’s block and overwhelm that hits us when we’re faced with a project like this. They will help you create a CRACKING business vision that will get you motivated and focused and help you make loads more money.
1. What Does Success Look Like To You?
Think about it. How will you know when you’ve ‘made it’? For me this has changed as I’ve grown my business. Initially it was to have a part time business making 100k. I achieved that, so now it’s about the number of women I can help, about the income I can create and the time I can free up.
Describe YOUR idea of success: Use your imagination, instincts, and/or intuition to express your “big picture”. In other words, describe what it will be like when you have reached your ultimate business success goal.
You might want to create a business that you can sell on in 10 years that will fund your retirement. You might want something that you can hand down to your children. You might want to create a million dollars of income and then retire.
Write down what you want your business to become but make sure you include some big numbers that you can measure – turnover, income, profit, number of customers or whatever.
This is not your business plan– but you can use your vision to help populate your business plan and marketing plan because your vision is your destination, remember?
So with that in mind, fill in the details. It’s this thought process that will shape your business from now on and don’t let doubts cloud your vision.
When I have used visioning with clients, the outcome can be wildly varied. On more than one occasion, when we’ve got a little way through the vision process, the client has realised that the business she’s describing is not one that she likes or wants! This happens!
And it’s important to embrace this because it could stop you wasting time on something that is never going to work for you.
Better to think about it now than several years down the line. Think through the details and see how it feels and if it isn’t working, change it now!
2. Why Is Success Important To You?
Why do you do this?
- Why is it so important to you?
- Are you trying to make your life and that of your family better?
- Are you trying to get out of a job and go self-employed full time?
- Are you trying to help your community?
- Is it make or break otherwise you have to go get a job again?
What’s the driver behind you having your own business?
3. What Difference Does Your Business Make?
What difference do you want to make to your customers?
- What do you want to bring to the world?
- Do you want to make life easier for mums?
- Help kids have more fun learning?
- Help businesses to fulfill their potential?
- Make women feel gorgeous and get their self confidence back?
- Help them create a beautiful home?
It doesn’t have to be big and life changing but there will be a reason (or several) why this business will make a difference to the world
4. Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
Who is most likely to buy from you? Who gets you? Who would you love to work with? Who’s a really good fit? I have podcasts and blogcasts dedicated to helping you get really clear on this but for now just think about what sort of individual or business they are, where you might find them, what problems you solve for them, they should all be easy to answer and you will DEFINITELY have one even if you haven’t sold to them yet.
5. What Are Your Milestone?
What are the achievements that you want to reach along the way that will show you you’re moving forward? For me they were each time I paid off a credit card or loan. They were each time I took a holiday. They included beign able to afford Infusionsoft as a business tool.
What are they for you? They might be to do with leaving your job to go full time on your business, or having an annual vacation. They might be to do with levels of income or free time. They might be related to covering school fees or buying a new car. They might be smaller milestones like getting a website done or working with a particular customer or client. They are personal to you and your business and they will keep you on track when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed – write them down and tick them off as you achieve them – which you will!
If you thought I’m going to share a snazzy tool or swish new piece of software, you’d be wrong. If you were hoping for a ninja-esque approach to marketing, you might be disappointed. BUT what I’ve got is much better than any single tool, tip or bit of software. My business secret weapon will set your business off on the right path (the one that leads to money and happiness) and will keep it on that path, despite obstacles, barriers and temptations designed to lead you astray.
What the heck is this thing?
Well, it might sound tame, but my business secret weapon is a Business Vision.
I know, it sounds pretty innocuous and even a bit tree-huggy (not that I’ve got anything against tree huggers, I love to hug trees, too) but it’s actually the opposite. If you like a bit of woowoo then this will work for you – it helps you to set a really clear intention that will supercharge your manifesting. If what I just said sounded like hippy speak to you, and you are a much more practical kind of girl, then it’s still great news because this will work for you too. It will keep you on the straight and narrow and it will be the quickest path to success and riches.
And yes, we’re still talking about a business vision. Let me explain. A vision is what gets you up on a morning. It’s what gets you through the bad days. It’s what keeps you going when people put you down. It’s what gives you energy when you’re so tired that you feel you can’t go on, but you do.
A vision is what makes the difference between having an OK business and an amazing one. It’s what will help you double and triple your business. That’s why I start all of my coaching programmes with it.
Why do I Need a Business Vision?
One thing all successful business owners have in common is that they have a vision for their business. And sadly the BIGGEST REASON by far why many women business owners never achieve the level of business they want is that they don’t have a business vision.
[Tweet “A successful business owner starts with her end results in mind. #tgmb #bizitalk”]
Her vision is higher—more prominent and powerful—than any obstacles she might come upon in her journey to reach her ultimate goal. This is why your business vision is perhaps your most important tool for success. There’s a great quote by Mohammed Ali that says “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill”
[Tweet “Having the WILL to succeed is more valuable than having the SKILL to succeed #tgmb #business #success”]
What he’s saying is that you don’t have to be the best at what you do to be successful. It’s about having that powerful vision and the determination to succeed, much more than being the best beautician in the world, or the best trainer or photographer. That is WONDERFUL NEWS because it means that any of us can be successful. You can be successful.
You can build the business of your dreams.
I have a number of female business owners that I coach and mentor and when I start working with them I ask them what their business and life vision is, their medium to long term plan, and they often look at me with a mixture of confusion and mild panic.
So I say to them “why are you doing this? What was your dream? Why did you set up your business in the first place? What did you want to get from it? Were you looking for a job that fits around your family? Were you looking for something which will give you a retirement option? What did you have in mind when you set up and what are you aiming for now?”
I’ll be honest. It’s quite rare that I get a confident, definitive answer from my female business owner clients first time around. They mostly set up in business because they want control over their life, they want to earn a living by doing something they love and not be restricted by the constraints of being an employee. They don’t really think much further ahead than just covering the bills as soon as possible.
But pretty soon they are so overloaded and overwhelmed with work, clients, family, and other commitments that they just plough on day to day, keeping their heads down, booking parties, opening the shop, seeing clients, making sure they hit their deadlines and appointments, and rarely looking up.
They are usually really busy with hardly a moment to spare, but they are always short of cash and there are never enough hours in the day. They think to themselves “it’s okay, all I need is a few more clients or more customers and it’ll be fine, I’ll fit them in somewhere along with the marketing and paperwork and then I’ll have the money I’m missing.”
By this point, they have lost the joy they experienced by having their own business, they can’t remember why they are doing this and they are seriously wondering whether they ought to go and get a job again!
Does this sound familiar? If this is you, then you’re not alone. Many people set up in business without any kind of target or end goal. If they had a business vision they would know what they are aiming for and it would keep them going through the challenging times.
The Perils of Having No Business Vision
If you don’t have a vision for your business then you’re doing it the hard way! Business owners that don’t have a business vision:
- Often have no idea whether they’re doing well or badly
- Don’t know whether their business is profitable and to what extent it might be profitable
- Don’t know whether they are doing better or worse than in previous years, other than some kind of gut feeling and a vague sense that they might have more money to spend this year.
- Have no measurement in their business and they have no direction.
- Don’t know if their business is scalable, or whether it is ‘sellable’ in the future and
- Don’t know if the future numbers stack up.
If you don’t know what you want to achieve with your business and what you want it to look like in a few years, how can you make decisions about it? How do you know if you are moving your business forward through that decision or holding it back? You can’t hit a target that doesn’t exist! If you don’t have a vision for your business, how can you make marketing decisions?
[Tweet “You can’t hit a target that doesn’t exist! #business #tgmb “]
Let’s turn that on its head.
If you DO have a vision for your business you are very clear about what you’re trying to achieve and by when. This in turn means that you can make decisions based on whether you think it will take you closer to or further away from your vision. If you DO have a vision you will be able to work out who your ideal customer is – it will be the one that brings you closer to your vision.
If you are not clear on your vision and ideal customer then this is probably quite tricky for you.
How do you know what constitutes GOOD business? Or BAD business? Not all business is equal but the gist of it is that some customers or clients are bad for your business. They take you further away from your big vision as opposed to closer to it.
Let me give you an example:
I have a client who is a marketing consultant. Her vision is to create a £100k turnover business working with large corporates, helping them with tricky employee engagement challenges. She has already had one of these projects and she’s spotted a gap in the market for her business – these are her ideal clients, they pay well and they need her.
So if a small café comes and asks her to help them with their marketing, she knows straight away that this doesn’t fit with her vision, it’s not going to get her closer to her vision.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, she would have taken on the work because she doesn’t like to say no and she would have hated turning down work. These days she tells them that she’s really a big company specialist and she refers them on to a couple of small business specialists she knows.
Your Business Vision
Having a vision makes a really tangible difference to the way you run your business. Can you see that you need to understand what you want to achieve from this business or you will not be able to make decisions based on that goal, and you won’t know if you hit it?
This is really, really important.
I believe that this is the key to fulfilling your potential as a woman in business. It is the only way that you will be able to get that laser focus that propels you forward and helps you to achieve all of your goals and dreams.
[Tweet “You can’t get laser focus with blurred vision. #tgmb #bizitalk”]
So I want you to think about your business, whatever business you are in. I want you to think about your business vision – I mean really think about it, and answer these questions:
- Why are you running your own business?
- What do you want to achieve with it financially and otherwise?
- What are your business’s BIG numbers – the targets that you want to achieve (turnover, profit, units sold, etc) and by when?
- Who is your ideal customer – the one who is a great fit for your business and takes you closer to your vision?
I don’t care if you’re selling jewellery through home parties, or you have a gift store, a website selling paintings, you’re an HR consultant or you do Angel card readings for a living. If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there and how will you know you’ve got there? Without these big targets, or business objectives, you’re just coasting aimlessly and that’s a waste of time and energy. Who’s got time and energy to waste? Not me! I need all the time and energy I can get!
So, you get the message. If you don’t have a vision for your business, now is the time to change that. In our next blogcast episode I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to get your vision out of your head and onto paper, even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body.