You can't start planning the strategy for your business unless you know where you are. You just can't. Everything starts with your personal vision. Know yourself before you can know your business, or know others.
So you need personal vision. You got it? Then you're golden.
You don’t have one? You're like most of the population. How you going to get it?
To have personal vision, you have to know yourself. Most people spend most of their life trying to know themselves and I'm not going to deprive you of that privilege. It's Maslow's highest level; self actualization. But... I will suggest to you that there is a 'speed version' that will work just fine for our journey right here.
As an entrepreneur, you have the capability to determine what you do at work, how much time you spend doing it, and with whom you do it. Custom-tailoring your job description to focus primarily on activities for which you feel passion, have aptitude and can make a major positive impact upon your company will help greatly in achieving your dreams.
Time away from your business should not provoke guilt. Instead, it should be viewed positively as time for reducing stress and for enjoying your personal life.
So what does a personal vision look like?
I’m a big fan of 7 or 8 bullet points and I’m happy to share mine
· Maintain controlling interest in my business and grow sales while reducing my work efforts so I do not have to work on Fridays
· Take $450,000 annual income from business to maintain current lifestyle
· Be able to take one week off a quarter, of which two of those weeks involve international travel with my wonderful wife
· Only perform activities in business I enjoy including selling major clients and handling media relations
· Develop the business so it has sellable / licensable to a third party for $3 million within 8 years
· Make someone’s day every single day
· Be part of entrepreneurs success story
OK, now stop. You really need a personal vision, so if you don't have one you have one of two options. Option one, take mine above, change a few words and then add your own name. Option two (the harder, but I promise you the more satisfying) is to spend the next 30 minutes doing the exercise. Go on. Don't skip ahead until you have a personal vision.
So how do you write your personal vision?
It’s actually quite simple. Ask yourself these 14 questions and write down a few words as notes.
What areas in your Business do you love?
How and where do you want to be involved in your business where you excel and have passion? (Creating new processes, selling big accounts, mentoring family members, developing strategic plans and alliances)
Activities to Delegate
What business activities that you are currently doing would you like to delegate? (bookkeeping activities)
Work Time Commitment
How much time do you want to spend working at your business during a typical week? (full-time consisting of at least 50 hours, three-day work week)
Desired Vacation Time
How many weeks each year do you want for vacation? (5 weeks each year for out-of-town vacations)
Desired Annual Compensation
What is the total annual compensation package desired from your business for you and your family that will provide the financial freedom you desire? ($250,000 annual salary, company car)
What intangible rewards are important to you? (have leading company in industry, possess political influence, create high-paying jobs for employees, be honored by business community for achievements in business)
What are the spiritual beliefs that motivate you and bring happiness to your personal life? (being active in a religious congregation, closing business on the Sabbath and religious holidays)
What non-business activities bring you peacefulness or contentment? (family time, hiking, reading, sailing, skiing)
What personal achievements that have potential to bring personal fulfillment do you seek? (going back to school to get my MBA, writing a book)
What humanitarian interests are important to you? (volunteer time at children’s hospital, create charitable trust through business)
What family involvement is important to you? (home for dinner with family several nights each week)
Do you want to eventually retire or do you intend to remain involved in your business in either a part-time or full-time capacity? (never want to retire, always stay involved as CEO, ultimately want to totally disengage from business)
Business Exit Strategy
What is your business exit strategy? (sell or give business to family members, keep ownership and control with son taking over as COO, sell to outsider)
If you plan to sell to non-family, what is the minimum market value amount for which you are willing to sell and what is your time-line for selling? (sell business before I am 60 for minimum of $2,000,000)
OK – now take those few notes you have and write out a 7 to 8 bullet points.
Voilà – your personal vision.
What’s next? A business vision, followed by your values.