It is estimated that nearly 50% of businesses started will fail within the first 5 years. Other research has put this percentage as high as 90% for start-ups. This is frankly depressing.
So why is this number so high? Why are creative businesses closing shop at such an extreme rate?
Lack of finances, lack of customers, lack of leadership, and lack of motivation, and are a few reasons why businesses fail. However, there is one other reason that people often neglect to look at.
This reason is a lack of vision.
Not only does a lack of vision prevent most people from ever venturing out on their own, it works to put business owners out on the street. A lack of vision is a powerful force with the ability to make your life miserable.
As a business owner you cannot afford to lack vision, not if you want to succeed.
However, having vision for your business is not an automatic process. You will need to work on creating a vision for what you want to achieve, and this is usually a tough process.
That is why we will look closer at the perils of having a lack of vision, in addition to showing you how you can develop a vision for your own business.
‘The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.’- Neil Gaiman
A Simple Definition
Vision is defined as ‘the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom’. Alternatively, you can define vision as ‘the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.’
As an entrepreneur your vision will determine how you see your business in 1 year or 5 years, maybe even 10 years. So if I ask you where you plan to be in 1, 5, or 10 years, will you have an answer for me?
‘Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others’- Jonathan Swift
Falling into the ‘Hindsight’ Trap
Another word for vision is foresight, which is defined as the ‘ability to predict or the action of predicting what will happen or be needed in the future.’
The opposite of vision or foresight can be described as hindsight ‘the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event.’
What this means to you as a business owner is that when you do not have the ability to look ahead, you will be stuck thinking about what could have been. And if you’ve ever met a failed business owner constantly replaying the events of what happened to their enterprise, then you know what I am talking about.
If you fall into the ‘hindsight’ trap, you will be unable to succeed. You need to have the foresight to look into the future, while remaining grounded in the present.
‘The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision’- Helen Keller
Becoming a Visionary
As I have mentioned a couple times already, the one thing necessary for your success is having a vision. By thinking ahead and planning for the future, you will find that you can tackle problems and make better decisions for your business.
But what if you have a ‘sort-of’ vision? A vague foresight? Well, as a wise man named Ron Swanson once said, ‘don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass own thing’. Now, I know you are wondering what in the world Mr. Swanson’s quote has to do with vision.
What I’m trying to say is that you should not half-ass your vision, unless you want to have half-assed success. You need to have a clear, concise, and well thought out vision. You need to break down any preconceived limits and imagine big when it comes to your vision.
Just think about Bill Gates. Nearly 4 decades ago he had a vision of putting a computer on every desk and in every home. This vision is what he and his company have worked towards over the years, and as I write this from my own computer I can say that his vision has borne fruit.
What if Bill Gates didn’t have a vision? What if the men and women who envisioned the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the planes we fly, and the buildings we live in, lacked vision. Where would we be?
You don’t have to be the next Steve Jobs or Richard Branson or Oprah, to be considered a visionary. You don’t need to create the next Google or sell millions of records or solve global warming to be considered a visionary.
As long as you have original and whole ass ideas about the future of your business, then the title of visionary is yours.
‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality’- Warren Bennis
So How Do I Do This?
Thankfully, creating a vision is not rocket science. Otherwise, I would be the last person who could help you (cue in traumatic flashbacks of chemistry and physics).
To create and execute a whole ass vision you need to plan. While planning may seem boring to all my compulsive readers, it is mandatory. You need to plan every single detail of your vision so that you can easily articulate it and execute it. You need a vision that you can easily communicate to those working with and for you, so that they can move towards the vision alongside you.
After all, there is no point in having a vision that you cannot explain or attain. A vision is only a pipe dream until you turn it into a reality.
In order for you to create a vision which you can explain and attain, you need to take the following steps:
1. Create a vision based on your values, your purpose, your passion, and your goals
2. Write down your vision and make every aspect clear and specific
3. Plan out the steps to accomplishing your vision
4. Act on the steps that you have planned out
With these 4 steps, you can transform your scattered ideas and farfetched goals into one clear and coherent vision. From here you can plan out every single step of accomplishing your vision, so that you are not winging it. Once you have a plan that you and your team can follow, then you can go ahead and act on that plan.
Your vision will give you the focus and drive to succeed, and your plan will give you the guidance that you need on this journey.
In this way, you can be all-action as opposed to all-talk. What more can you hope for?
‘Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry, or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you can contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.’- Leroy Hood
Don’t Give Up on your Vision!!
Once you start thinking about your vision in greater detail, and planning every aspect to the letter, the panic will start to set in. As you realize the number of challenges and hurdles you will be facing, your first instinct will be to abandon all hope of accomplishing your vision.
This is normal. As humans, the easy road will always seem like the better option. It is at this time that you need to be at your strongest. Surround yourself with people who have a vision like yours, be accountable to them. Get rid of all the toxic people in your life; you do not need negativity when you are fighting an uphill battle.
And most of all don’t give up. When the challenges come, stay strong. When it seems easier to close down your business, fight even harder.
Never, give up on your vision. It is yours to show the world. And if your vision evolves, then refine your plan to evolve with it.
‘I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom- how great is that?’- Soledad O’Brien
Without a vision, your business is just treading water; going nowhere in particular. Without a vision you are wasting your time and your energy because you have no plan of attaining anything. However, when you have a vision, you give yourself and your business a sense of purpose.
You give yourself and your team something to work towards, and you ensure that there is always something to fight for. And if you have failed because of a lack of vision, then creating a vision right now allows you to hustle onwards towards success.
A vision will determine whether you will be the happy individual looking forward to the future, or the bitter individual constantly looking at the past.
I have a vision for expanding my blog and opening my own business, and I know that you have your own vision as well. So let’s be proactive together, let’s take the next step on our journey to success.
Before you leave I urge you to share this post with your friends and colleagues, and drop me a comment telling me about your own vision(s). And don’t forget to sign up to the Business Broken Down newsletter for first-hand updates on new posts and everything blog related.
I hope you have a great week, spent creating and articulating your vision. See you again next Monday.