Realizing a Vision: Launching a Business or Growing Your Business

Imagine yourself leading your business as a highly  successful woman entrepreneur and leader.

One of the most famous baseball players and coaches in the world of baseball once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”  The player was Yogi Berra.

“I skate to where the puck will be, not here I’ve been.” Wayne Gretsky, world champion National Hockey League player and considered the greatest hockey player ever.

Does Visioning For A Business Really Work?

Successful entrepreneurs and business owners believe it does.  Sandy Abrams, founder and CEO of Moisture Jamzz Inc. and author of Your Idea, Inc. (http://www.yourideainc.com/about.html told me she was visualizing what she wanted to do, her products and who she would sell to as  she was planning her initial business. Sandy continues to vision the changes she wants to make with her business each year. Sandy’s cllients include Origins, Aveda and Linen’s n Things to name a few.

Babson College and visioning assignments for MBA students:

While attending Babson College in Massachusetts I  enrolled in a women’s entreprenuer and leadership MBA course taught by Dr. Candida Brush. One class assigment was on visioning our lives.  Our visions were to be written, shown in a visual way and with a timeline with goals and dates of competion.  Why is this significant to visioning with a business.  Dr. Brush is the Chair for the Entrepreneurship Division at Babson College (http://www.babson.edu/faculty/profiles/Pages/brush-candida.aspx) and understands what is needed for women to become successful entrepreneurs . She has also co-authored several books on the subject and has resarched and helped women entrepreneurs globally.

Four important key points when charting your path:

These points are the same for launching a business as well as growing and changing the business.

  • Values:   Your vision is based upon what is important to you now and going forward. Sharon Hadary, the former and founding executive director of the Center for Women Business Research is the co-author of How Successful Women Lead. (http://howsuccessfulwomenlead.com/authors/sharon-hadary).  Sharon has found highly successful women know their values and stick with them. Their visions reflect their values.
  • Set high goals: Additionally Sharon Hadary found that setting high goals was another charactheric of successful women. Once those goals were reached, the women set higher goals and continued to do so each time their goals were reached.
  • Purpose:  Vision gives a reason for doing things, a base from which you set your goals and a strategy to accomplish those goals.
  • Future Directed:  Your vision shapes how you look at your future. It can be measured by time (weeks, months, or years) or events.

Realizing a Vision: “Write It Down, Make It Real.” 

Sandy Abrams recommends “Write It Down, Make It Real.”  Sandy writes in her book, “Your idea has been swirling around in your head long enough. It’s time to put it on paper. When something is committed on paper, it takes on a new reality.” Write out your goals no matter what stage you are in with your business.

Additionally Sharon Hadary learned in her research, it is important to define your success.  Sandy suggests to include a vision for your success, how you will look and feel about it.

Your vision statements need to be clear for you.  Something you can easily remember and keep in a place you can refer to on a regular basis.  These statements are also the key points you will want in your business plan or as you make adjustments to your plan.

Realizing a Vision: A “Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”

Pictures can deliver a message or thought instantly. Visual thinking can give you a clear and convincing picture to motivate you to act and accomplish your mission and goals. There are even companies online to teach people how to create a vision board as well as “vision board” software to download.

I prefer to use my imagination to create a vision board. I have seen vision boards created by high school girls before starting their businesses.  A year later the girls found what was put on the vision board had come to close to fruition, if not totally.  The results may not have been a specific yet it was a path that was better at the time.

To help you move forward with charting your path you’ll want to create a picture of your idea and how you want your future to look.   When you make your idea and goals visual, all of it takes on a new meaning.  Remember, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

This is to be fun while also helping you to sort out what you want and how you define your success once you achieve your goals.

  • The first step is to use photographs, magazines and news clippings to match your vision.  You want to make a picture, drawing or collage that expresses your vision.  Use anything that will help you express your vision.   You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like.
  • Have fun with it.  Take some time and make it your own.  Work on it in a room where no one will interrupt you. You do not need to do it all at once. A step at a time may be the best way for you.

Keep your vision board in front of you.  It is a mental image of how you see yourself and the business.  Place it where you can easily see it.

Realizing a Vision: Create a Timeline

You have your vision in writing and also visually.  Next step is to create a timeline to determine how long it will take you to reach your initial destination and goals.

  • Give a date or length of time to accomplish your goals.
  • Think realistically about the length of time it will take to reach each goal.
  • You may find it necessary to make some changes and slow down a bit.  For some goals you may reach them faster than planned.

What did I learn through my visioning project at Babson College?  Dr.Brush showed me I was trying to do too much at once.  I still have my originak vision board and timeline as a reminder. The new one is a bit more realistic as is the timeline. My written vision has changed a bit as have my goals. I have learned to remind myself of the vision.  If I do not refer to it on a timely basis I get off track with nonessential activities that take me away from my goals.

Author Sylvia R.J. Scott is the Founder and Managing Director of the Girl’s CEO Connection LLC.  She is also the creator and producer of the “Realizing a Vision” conferences and workshops. Sylvia is a leading advocate for equipping and engaging today’s high school girls as a new generation of entrepreneurs and creative women leaders.  Her book Realizing a Vision, A Girl’s Guide To Entrepreneurship will be available in November 2012.

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