What's your vision for your business?
By 'vision' I'm not talking about that 'vision statement' that you sweated blood over while doing your business plan on a PowerPoint template. I mean the real vision you have of your business in the future, you know the one -- you fantasize about it enough. It's the one you are picturing right now, the one where you have waiting lists or you're employing staff because you're so busy, the one where the local media contact you regularly as an expert in your field, the one where work is so guaranteed and so regular you no longer have to worry about not making enough money next month.
What's that I hear you say? That's not a vision it's daydreaming? Fantasy-land? Never going to happen? Wrong. If that's what you fantasize about it's time you turned it into your business vision. In my book, your business vision should be the dream you have for your business. Don't listen to that little voice telling you to start small and be realistic, just go for it with the biggest dream you have. Dream it like you mean it.
From there you can begin to create a business plan – but that business plan isn't your vision, it's the road that takes you to your vision. Your vision has to come first. When I ask clients about their business vision they either hand me a lovely, shiny, beautifully bound copy of their 'business plan' complete with graphs and pie charts or they say they don't have one. To both of those clients I say 'create a vision'. See the vision, write it down and then start thinking about how you'll get there (that will later become a business plan).
So do you have a vision? If not, write it down now, every detail of where you want your business (and yourself because you are the business) to be in 5 years, 3 years and 1 year. How many clients, how much income, where you'll be doing business, how many staff you'll have. Go nuts and have fun. Once you have it, read it every day (or at least fairly regularly) because you can’t create an accurate, effective business plan unless you know what you're aiming for. Just as a map can only guide you if you know where you want to get to, your vision and your business plan cannot operate independently of each other.
Create that vision and the journey will really begin.