When was the last time you spent time on the “why” of your business? Why are you doing what you are doing? how do you define success? And what would your business look like in a perfect world?
Often times, we focus on solving problems, finding opportunities and keeping up with changes in the industry, which makes us forget the foundations on which we built our business: our “why”. When we lose sight of or forget our “why” we are more likely to get lost, such as sailing on a ship without a rudder. It is dangerous because now we are at the mercy of the strongest prevailing wind.
Simply put, a business vision describes where your business is going and how you’ll know when you’ve arrived. A corporate mission statement is your “why”. What does success look like to you, and why are you working so hard to make it happen?
A business vision requires you to be aware of your personal and professional ambitions. how do you define success? What will it take to get there, and how will you know when you do? We’ll get into the details of creating a vision and mission statement in another article, but for now, let’s take the time to dream big.
What are your dreams?
For maximum impact, let’s park the reality filter at the door. Now is the time to envision your business as if there are no obstacles or hurdles.
If you are a hard-wired, out-of-the-box analytical person and structure is your favorite tool, then this is going to be a challenge for you as it requires trusting a side of you that you don’t mine very often. – your creative side rather than your analytical side.
Find a quiet place, free your calendar, turn off the phone (not just the ringtone – turn it off), turn off your email notifications, and do the following exercises.
Exercise 1: You tell your grandchildren about your life.
It doesn’t matter if you have a family or not, or even if you don’t want one. It is an exercise in possibilities. So answer the following questions as if you were telling your ideal career story to your grandchildren.
1. What did you do and why? What was the best part of your workday and why?
2. How big was your business? How many employees did you have? How many places have you run?
3. What accomplishments are you most proud of? How has your business contributed to the lives of others?
4. What will you be remembered for? What enabled you to maintain your competition at night?
5. How did you define success? How has your business helped you build your ideal life?
6. Who took over? Have you sold, closed or transferred the property to your family?
7. What is your heritage?
Spend about 20 minutes thinking about these questions, then start writing things down. Don’t self-edit; just free and write what comes to you. This will give you a good idea of what’s important and how to get there.
Exercise 2: You receive a prestigious award for business excellence.
1. In the summary read at the award ceremony, what will the speaker say about you and your company?
2. What kind of award is it – humanitarian, entrepreneurship, innovation, business excellence? Is it for you or your business?
3. What are the achievements highlighted? What are you most proud of?
4. Where do you receive the prize? Is it local, provincial, national, international?
5. Who will be present? Who are your peers or contemporaries?
6. What would the accompanying media coverage say?
Now write the story. It does not need to be formatted correctly; just write your success story. What would he say? What achievements are included? Who is cited? Which business leaders will celebrate your success and what will they say?
Exercise 3: Wave a magic wand.
If you could wave a magic wand to remove all obstacles, what would your business look like?
1. If there were no barriers, what would you do and why? Many of us spend our lives in a job rather than a career because life is coming. What would you do if there were no obstacles?
2. In an ideal world, where would your business be positioned? What would you be known for?
3. And you, keep your competition awake at night? Why? What is your unique value proposition and how did you get there?
4. What will your legacy be? What will your business be known for in the future? What was your role in this success?
5. What is the best part about your business? What have you achieved? How did you get there?
Create your vision and mission statement.
Now put the papers away for a few days before examining the common themes. Do you see any common words, goals or wishes? Start writing them.
Your vision for your business is what you want it to be. Your mission statement is what you want to be known for. In other words, the vision is the “what” and the mission statement is the “why”.
Best Advice: Give yourself permission to dream big, and test your dreams and vision with a trusted friend who will give you honest, constructive feedback.
By following these exercises, you can remind yourself of your goal, reinforce your forgotten “why”, and stabilize yourself, your business and your employees. You will no longer be easily blown away by the wind; instead, you’re leading a chartered course with clear vision and a steady hand on the rudder.
Successful professionals know they have limitless potential. Go back to your notes and dream even bigger. Now is the time to stick a stake in the ground and stop playing small. In your wildest dreams, dare to be this amazing, shining star that you and others admire and want to follow.
Consider what is possible. What is your big vision and dream? Live up to your highest expectations!