When I started my business in 2017, I did not really have a clear path on where I wanted to go, what I wanted to be and who I wanted to work with. I wanted to do “all the digital marketing things,” and I wanted to work in social media with small businesses, but I didn't know much more than that. What I needed then was to do a business vision exercise to know where I want to go!
Sound familiar? This is how many companies start out. You get into a situation where you want to work for yourself, our side hustle to get it going, you quit your job, and then take the plunge of to be self-employed and start your own business.
Since April of 2017, I've read countless books, listen to numerous podcasts, read many blog articles and watched webinar after webinar about building a business vision.
What's a business vision? It melds the practical parts of your business with your dreams all in one place where you can refer back or visualize when you're needing some motivation. It may sound a little "woo woo" but think about it, visualizing the "prize" is the key too often keeping your goals in check.
Your business vision could be something that you reference weekly (or monthly or quarterly) when you need to visualize your business growth or when you're feeling stuck and need to be reminded of where you want to go or need to reevaluate where you're heading.
My business vision took a year to come to life and develop, and I have often thought to myself things would have been a lot different if I just would have done this within the first month of starting off as a freelance contractor.
When I started working with coaching clients on digital marketing and web strategy, the first thing I will ask is “do you have a business vision?” Ninety-nine percent of the time my clients will say “nope,” and that's our first starting point.
How do you develop and write a business vision? This is one of those touchy-feely exercises that comes from the soul and long-held fantasies that you may have.
Here are some best practices for building a business vision …
Set aside 30 minutes to complete this exercise
Grab a journal OR open a document on your computer
Write in the present tense like your chatting over coffee or beer with a friend.
Give details on how exactly you want your business to look
Sample Business Vision Questions:
How will your business change the lives of those who hire you or buy your product?
What are my core values?
Where would you like to be in 3 years? 5 years? 10 or 20 years?
What legacy do you intend to leave by starting this business?
How much money does your business make per year?
What are your revenue sources and how much do each make annually?
Do you want to have employees? OR outsource part of the work?
Will that staff work onsite or remotely?
Will you have an office you go to each day OR will you work from home?
What does your day look like when you're working?
What will your business hours be?
Will you have set dates for when you want to take time off?
How will you give back to charities through your work?
What kind of positive impact do you want your business to make in the world?
Who are your target clients?
Who are your professional colleagues?
How often will you travel for work?
How does traveling for work look like for your business?
What does it feel like to be running your business?
How will your business be different from how competitors run their business?
If my business vision comes true, how will my life look?
What does creating this business vision mean to you?
Once you've answered all the questions above, you can either leave it in your journal to reference, write or type it out or do what I did ... memorize it and visualize each night before I go to bed. I knew that if I didn't reference it daily, I would more than likely lose sight of my goals but reference it as often as you need too.
I will note that my business vision did change over the last year and I've had to reevaluate some of my goals as my services have evolved. For example, when Michelle and I started talking about our Social Media + Photography packages, we answered the questions above and wrote our own which I then had to add to mine.