At one point or another, we’ve all heard the canned slogan, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it!” Or if not exactly that, some variation thereof, such as “Dress for the job you want.” These phrases are tossed around so often that they are nearly rendered meaningless, but they draw from a very real and very profound component of success: having a clear vision.
Ask yourself, what does success look like for me? How will I know when I have become successful? If you are a solopreneur and just getting started, the answer to that question might be a profound reflection on the kind of life you want to lead and what priorities are most important for you. Vision doesn’t have to just be big-picture stuff, however. Every project or endeavor can be made more successful by first having a specific and drawn out idea of what success is going to look like.
Michael Hyatt wrote about why vision is more important than strategy. He writes, “Through the years, I had learned that if you think about strategy (the “how”) too early, it will actually inhibit your vision (the “what”) and block you from thinking as big as you need to think. What you need is a vision that is so big that it is compelling, not only to others, but to you. If it’s not compelling, you won’t have the motivation to stay the course and you won’t be able to recruit others to help you.”
Having a clear vision also becomes a powerful tool for deciding what strategy to implement. Without a clear vision, it may be difficult to judge whether one particular strategy or another is going to be more effective to reach your end goal.
A company vision is as unique as the company itself. The more precise and clear you can be when defining your vision, the better, but what you include in your vision is going to be different from what other solopreneurs include. A recent college grad may have a clear vision of building their own business in order to meet the needs they see in their community, and success might be measured in how many people they are able to help. Someone else starting a business might see success as earning enough money to support themselves and their families with comfort. A parent’s vision of success might be working flexible hours while still being able to provide for their family financially.
It can be difficult to actually sit down, put the pencil to the paper, and write a company vision. Ari Weinzweig, co-founder and CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, MI, writes at length about leading a business in general, but has written specifically about the importance of vision and what a vision can look like. His book was excerpted for Inc magazine and you can follow this link to read it. In the article, he talks about the role vision has played in the success of his own business and eight steps to writing your own company vision.