For most people, a main driver for starting out in business is the knowledge they can actually do a particular job better, or offer a better way of doing it when compared to their current industry.
Leading up to taking the plunge, the situation goes like this:
You: Hi boss, can we talk about how I think this everyday task can be completed more effectively?
Boss: What?…no, I don’t have time. It’s been doing it like that for ages, just continue with it.
After a series of events and communications within your workforce like this, the motivation for you to start your own thing builds.
While I encourage entrepreneurialism, this is often where problems begin, yet it won’t be revealed until much later in your business journey.
Simply entering into business because you think you can do it better is fraught with danger. It lacks vision and without the correct vision you as a business owner will become directionless and make the wrong moves at the wrong times.
Having vision for what you want out of business and your life is a question commonly overlooked when starting out, yet it has great impact on your future operations.
As a business coach I regularly deal with small business owners who are surviving by doing what works, not what’s possible. They lack the vision to drive their business forward and instead favor operating in a safe-space minus the challenge of aiming for more.
Think of any example of great innovation and it started with not what works, but by somebody who questioned what’s possible.
The movie The Founder explains this perfectly, while others were happy to produce hamburgers to supply small numbers (or what worked), Ray Kroc questioned how he could turn that idea into mass production (or what’s possible). After blood, sweat and tears, Kroc’s clarity of vision enabled him to introduce the world to fast food (I’m not suggesting that’s a good thing, but it was a lucrative one for Kroc).
As evidenced by Kroc, when times get tough, the money dries up and others fail to see what you do it’s your vision of what’s possible that propels you to greatness.
Without that vision, you’ll remain stagnant and that will impact on success and the motivation of your staff.
Instead of starting out to simply do it better, create your vision for how it is better and what it will give you and your customers.
If you don’t know your end goal, you don’t know what you’re doing.
What your end goal is, is entirely a decision you need to make. There’s the fast-car, glamorous life or the more centered life of wanting to spend more time with your family without the constant need to always be working.
Once you know your end goal (or the life you want), you can put the correct strategy in place and ramp-up your journey to success.
Trust me, when you know where you’re heading your motivation will sky-rocket. And it goes beyond that, in a recent blog I explained how it will enable staff to buy-in to your vision and rust-on to your company.
Business owners often tell me that finding decent staff is difficult. There’s no doubt it can be, but maybe these staff don’t know what they’re working for or towards.
When I started my first business, the cycling sportswear company, I saw an opportunity of sorts. All I had was a loose vision for its success.
Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it meant I fronted up some days and did nothing – I didn’t know what needed to be done. I was aimless and put my effort into things that were not benefiting my business. At the time I didn’t know it because I wasn’t working towards any fixed goal.
In hindsight, it was a major contributor to me wasting money and nearly losing the business. It wasn’t until I was $200,000 in debt that I actually looked at my assumed-vision and realized I needed a real one.
When I stripped the business back to its bare essentials, stopped spending money on things that didn’t matter – like a $20,000 rebrand – and re-evaluated what was important for my future, that was the moment I started working with direction towards goals that would see me achieve my vision.
My vision became running a cycling racewear business that was self-sufficient and could operate without me. Enabling other owners to do this too in their business is now my vision for Evolve to Grow. I want people like you to have time and freedom in business.
If I had to rank my vision for my businesses, it would read like this:
Obviously, your vision will get more focused the more you commit to working on it.
I’ve keenly observed somebody within my business network over the course of the last 12 months. This person is an example you must learn from.
As it stands, they currently run two businesses – one marketing and one Not-For-Profit (NFP). Already there’s competing interests and lack of vision.
It seems that one week marketing gets their attention, and then the next the NFP does. I’ve tried my best, as have others, to get this person focusing on one venture and to get them to articulate what they want out of life and how business can support that.
But if somebody is not willing to work on their vision, there’s only so much I can do.
As a result, they’ve recently taken a job as a digital marketer for a corporate. Apparently this will still allow time to work on two others businesses.
When vision is all over the place, we end up working towards nothing.
I don’t want you to be like them, so there are a few questions that you need to address to hone in on your vision:
Start to bullet-point down your answers and let it simmer. Leave it alone for a few days, before coming back to re-process your thoughts and write out one line answers to each question.
While vision can be reached by yourself, it’s best to include others who are capable of providing a different viewpoint and can hold you accountable to the things you say.
Vision is the first step that naturally leads on to forming your mission and values. Without the correct mission, I don’t believe you’ll achieve much in business.
What’s your vision and is it the correct one?
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