Tuesday, August 22, 2017

5 Reasons Small Business Owners Need A Written Business Vision

One of the mistakes the majority of business owners make in building a profitable business is not creating a short, written statement that envisions key aspects of their company 3-5 years into the future. Why is that a mistake? With your time in such short supply, why should you use this scarce resource to write down how you see your company in the future? Is it really worth it?

These are very common questions I hear every day from my clients. In answering the last question I like to reflect back to my boyhood. From a young age I liked building things with my hands. One of my favorites was building tree houses.

Today I still like to build things with my hands but I use a keyboard and mouse instead of a hammer. Through this process I’ve learned that while there are a lot of lessons and similarities between building businesses and building tree houses, some things are critically different. Planning is one of them.

You can successfully build most tree houses without a written plan. You design and build as you go and use whatever you can find lying around the yard. Attempting to build a business the same way leads to disaster.

That said; let me get specific about why you should invest the time to write down your business vision. Here are 5 reasons you should take time now to create a written business vision. Doing so will make the difference between a mediocre business and one that thrives:

  1. It takes less time that you think. On average, this activity takes 30 minutes or less with the right tools. Why? Most likely it is already in your head. We are just transferring and organizing the information from your head on to paper.
  2. It provides a solid destination to navigate towards. Like any successful travel experience, it always begins with the destination in mind. How can you get there when “there” is unclear? Putting in writing makes it possible to establish a shared vision of success with your employees, suppliers, and financial backers.
  3. It helps you focus. Having a specific, time-boxed goal in mind can ensure you are focusing on the right things – things that will move you along the path to where you want to end up.
  4. It helps you evaluate. Having a measurable destination provides an effective measuring stick you can use to evaluate decisions of all kinds in your business. When clients want my input on their decisions I always weigh the consequences of these decisions against the ultimate goal in the future. I like to ask, “Is this action helping you move closer to your goal, or is it detracting from your goal?”
  5. It helps you prioritize. Once you’ve decided to take certain actions you’ll also need to sequence and prioritize the work to be done. Here are again we use your written goal to decide not only what to do and when.

Why not take a few minutes right now and write down a few ideas about where you are taking your business and your life in the next 3 years? Let’s turn that tree house into a mansion!

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