Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Jennifer Martin of Zest Business Consulting. Her opinions are her own.
When we go into business we all have a dream. Some kind of idea about what we want our business to become.
We want to make money (sometimes lots of money). We imagine ourselves doing something we care about, maybe even love. We think “I can do it better than (fill in the blank)”. And (generally) we are excited about creating this company, and the possibility of leaving behind a legacy for our kids or the next generation. There’s nothing stopping us from achieving our goals.
Well maybe nothing.
1. What is holding you back?
With great passion and enthusiasm motivating us, how come our businesses don’t always reach their potential?
We tell ourselves stories; we couldn’t get the financing we need, or I can’t find anyone decent to hire. We had bad timing in the market, or for those honest types, I am great at (doing whatever it is that you do) but I’m not a great manager. If you recognise yourself in any of these statements, you aren’t alone.
Most entrepreneurs (at least the honest ones) will tell you that they’ve been there. So, what is it that takes them beyond their frustration, beyond their plateau into financial freedom and satisfaction?
In one word, Clarity.
John Naisbitt, Author of “Megatrends said, “Strategic planning is worthless—unless there is first a strategic vision.” If your business hasn’t fulfilled its destiny, if there is still a little room for improvement for greater success, perhaps the only thing standing in your way to success is you.
2. Do you know where you want your business to be in the next 24 months?
Does your vision outline the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How you see things? Is this vision in writing? When you read your vision, does it actually excite you? Can it capture your interest and engagement for the next 2 years?
Would it provide a compelling reason for your customers, vendors, staff, or future hires to say “YES” to you and more importantly your organization?
They say that if you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know it when you get there. Where a company is concerned neither will anyone else. Worse yet, no one on staff will have any clearly defined markers to tell you if you are moving closer to your goals or further from them.
3. Can your team articulate your vision?
Are you 100% certain that if anyone on your staff was asked the following questions that they would answer mirroring your thoughts verbatim?
- What are the 3 most important things that anyone on staff needs to know about interacting with our clients?
- What does this business do best?
- What do we stand for as a company?
- What are the primary goals of this company over the next 24 months?
If you are wondering if it’s time to create a written strategic vision, write down your answers to the questions above and compare them with the answers your team gives you.
You might even want to take it one step further and survey your clients to make sure their experience is in alignment with your goals.
4. How would you rate your company culture?
On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your company culture? When you come into work are you excited and do you feel energised by the people you have surrounded yourself with?
Do your people “get you” and what the company is all about?
Do they understand what their roles are and how they play a part in helping you take your company to where you would like it to be?
5. Remember: As a business owner you are the leader.
Without a clearly outlined vision, how can you reasonably expect anyone to follow you or intuitively go where you want them to?
Your team needs guidance. They need to know what is expected of them and why. Whether you are bringing new staff on board or developing your existing team your people need to know where your destination is and if you want them to champion you they need to be able to take some ownership in helping you get there.
No matter how long you have been in business, the number of clients you serve, or how many people you have on staff, now is the perfect time to set your sites on your destination.
Create your written strategic vision and share it with your team, your vendors, and your clients, and anyone else who will listen.
Of course you may want to edit out your financial goals for your public version as clients generally don’t get excited about the fact you want to triple your revenues!
With a clear vision moving forward you are no longer on your own, but you have engaged an empowered team to help you get there.
Jennifer Martin is an EMyth Certified Business Coach, Author, Speaker, and owner of Zest Business Consulting. She helps small business owners, leaders, and managers worldwide understand how to build thriving businesses they love.