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Starting a business without a vision could be the difference between building a castle with sand versus concrete bricks — one is bound to collapse under the smallest pressure.
A founder’s vision is the steering wheel of the company. It directs where the company is moving, even when there’s turbulence or obstacles ahead of the course. On the most fundamental level, a vision is an idea. That idea is an extension of a motive or intent — therefore, identifying the “why” should lead before the “what.” Once a strong enough intent is established, creating the pathway to satisfy that goal becomes more tangible.
Entrepreneurship provides the opportunity for individuals to do the work they love, rather than the work they have to. Many start with a passion and find a way to offer unique value with it. Money becomes a byproduct of stellar service that extends from a deep passion for the work. However, often this is not enough. As a successful company owner, the goal is to quickly switch your attention from maintaining the day-to-day to maximizing the growth of the company.
Steves Jobs was not only a successful entrepreneur, but he was also known as a visionary. He had the vision to universalize personal computers, which translated into products that offered tremendous value to the world. Money was a byproduct of working from a place of passion.
Related: Vision: The Driver of Entrepreneurship
Here are some essential strategies to achieve your vision by using your business as a vessel.
Identifying the vision
If a genie could grant you any wish you wanted, what would it be? Most people let their dreams stay dreams because of the limiting beliefs they place on themselves. “It costs too much money,” “It’s too risky,” “I don’t have enough time” — these are just a few of the common excuses we tell ourselves when we get an inkling to try something new.
Most of the things we can’t live without came from these “impossible” dreams. Just look at what you’re holding in your hand that is allowing you to read this article. Your dream doesn’t have to be as inventive as building rockets and spaceships; it could simply be something you’re incredibly passionate about.
A dream is meant to be shared. If your idea doesn’t add value to anyone, it will not be useful or adopted on a larger scale. World-renowned UFC champion Conor McGregor is known for using visualization as the driving force to fulfill his dreams. His aspiration to be the world’s UFC champion may seem like a selfish endeavor at a glance, but think about how he ushered in a new era of the sport, and how many business opportunities came from him building his brand. His success creates opportunities for other people, and his legacy inspires others to pursue this sport.
Translating vision into a unique business opportunity
Once you pinpoint what your vision or end goal is, it’s time for the tricky part. How do you actualize this? You can glean wisdom from some of your most admired leaders and heroes.
Actualizing a vision requires a detailed plan. First, you must make this vision the pinnacle of your life. Failing to prioritize the vision makes it easier to become sidetracked and give in to the day-to-day issues that require your immediate focus.
Take Elon Musk as an example. Musk spends Monday to Friday at SpaceX and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Tesla. Does he have time to take on other side projects over his 120 hour weeks? Probably not. The reason why those two companies are as successful as they are today is that his attention is focused immediately on those tasks. His end goal is to revolutionize human transportation, and that’s exactly how he lays out his hours, 365 days a year. Consistency and focus on the end goal.
Elon Musk’s vision was to equip humans to travel to Mars. He had to come up with steps to actualize this vision: redefining transportation with batteries, cars and rockets. Tesla and SpaceX are byproducts of his overall vision, and they’ve become very successful and sought after because of the value they offer people and the environment.
Visualizing your future and what you want to accomplish will keep you mentally primed and subconsciously and consciously pursuing opportunities that lead to your grander vision.
Related: How to Engage Employees Through Your Company Vision Statement
Overcoming adversarial events with vision
There’s going to be resistance when it comes to pursuing your dreams. With any project that requires such heavy confidence from people to work, the probability of error is that much higher.
Having a strong enough vision will help you persevere through setbacks and attract the right people who are compelled enough by your vision.
Back to Conor McGregor. McGregor battled all the unpredictables in his life: He was poor and not in the UFC a decade ago. But he visualized being the champion from early on and focused on nothing else but that passion. He attributes perseverance in the bad times to having a strong vision.
Elon Musk has become one of the most influential people in the world because he held onto the vision of changing humanity, despite his company being ridiculed in the public eye for years. He now yields great control over people and can influence market movements with just a tweet.
Establish a five-year plan
Determine the core actionable steps you need to take to accomplish your vision. Assigning deadlines under a realistic timeframe will help you stay accountable. Better yet, if you vocalize this somewhere publicly, you can enhance your own motivation to get it done.
Laying out a precise plan allows you to work in increments or have things simultaneously going on, which all contribute to the end goal. Make it the plan to transition from a job you don’t love to a job you do.
Evaluate your skills and diversify them into different work models. For example, as a programmer, there are many ways you can leverage the same skills but offer different services: web design, hosting, making apps, security, etc. Focus on finding a skill that can be multifaceted because it allows you to diversify and scale your services. Try not to focus on a service that ties you down to one task and one location — for example, being a nurse or waiter.
Related: Vision Statements: Why You Need One and How to Create One
As you begin to build a bridge between the skills you’re passionate about and how those skills can be leveraged to add value, you will be well on your way to achieving your vision.
Having a vision that is compelling enough for you to drop everything and focus on achieving it is important in the long run. Your primary focus and concrete plan will help you overcome the setbacks and rebuild when you need to. When your vision is strong, it becomes compelling and inspiring to others because they can start to see the ramifications of your work. Think carefully, act boldly and stay persistent on the path to achieving your vision.