I’m sure you’re on fire, planning your work and working your plan in this glistening new year. What’s that? You didn’t write a 2011 strategic business plan? I can’t say I’m surprised. In my 25 years of helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, only four of my clients had a plan when I met them; most of those plans lived in digital suspension, sucking the megabytes from their computers.
You need a plan; but don’t just take my word for it. In her article, “Why Are Women-Owned Firms Smaller than Men-Owned Ones?” (Wall Street Journal 17 May 2010), http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704688604575125543191609632.html Dr. Sharon Hadary indicates the only factors that statistically predict successful business growth are the goals set by the entrepreneur. Moreover, research reveals that men start businesses to be “the boss” and delegate responsibilities; in contrast, women prefer a collaborative style and grow their businesses only to a level they can control on their own.
What does this mean for you? Perhaps you’re a self-described, Type-A control freak. Or you want your employees to work as a team, follow a system, and efficiently serve more customers. Whatever the reason, a Business Vision Statement starts the planning process by addressing four areas of concern shared by every entrepreneur.
Seeing Your Dreams Real
Those of us women that like to think big will need a plan. Audacious goals require a stable base to burst forth from, just like fireworks on the Fourth of July. You need systems and protocols so that both you and your team can operate confidently and competently through challenging situations. The goals you set will remain a strong guide, while you vision your dreams and build your company around that vision. And “Type A” personalities can relish in victory – even if it’s only for a moment before the next big idea comes along!
Quick, Solid Decision-Making
Many of my clients have expressed a need for the ability to make good decisions, quickly. In his classic book, “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill writes at length about “definiteness of purpose”, and the advantages of making statements to guide the actions of your life. This kind of single mindedness can only be achieved with a clear vision that sets parameters for daily business operations. It generates a mindset that allows you to distinguish good opportunities from GREAT ones, without confusion or self-doubt.
Freedom, Flexibility, and Control
Nothing thwarts a woman’s success more than her tendency to grow her business only as big as she can wrap her arms around. Most of us have a hard time envisioning a business that doesn’t require copious amounts of time and attention from its owner. Danger lurks around every corner, our employees threaten to undo everything we have done, and it’s a miracle we keep our customers at all. Forget about vacations and getaways, or even a couple holes of golf. Clearly, this doesn’t yield the flexibility and freedom you thought you’d have if you became “your own boss”. No, what you’ve created is a J.O.B. and your boss is a lunatic! One of the best-kept secrets of creating a Business Vision Statement is the ability to simply, quickly, and elegantly communicate your vision to your employees or team. With everyone in harmony, operations can run smoothly. Convincing your team to see and DO things your way isn’t quite so difficult anymore. In fact, it can be a relief for them to have guidelines in place when a decision has to be made without you. Golf, anyone?
Broadening the Definition of Success
We all know that you started your business for more reasons than just money. Most of us (myself included) derive particular satisfaction from serving others in a way that no other business can. As women, we have a need to connect with and help others. My clients share many common reasons for going into business for themselves. Topping the list is what I call the “Five F’s of FempreneurismTM”: Flexibility, Family/Friends-Time, Fulfillment, Freedom, and Fun. Each of these is an important aspect of success, and their order of importance is individual. Visioning helps you prioritize your values, succeed on your terms, and live a life you love.
Turbo-Charge Your Business: It Starts with a Business Vision Statement
A business vision statement is the first thing you’ll create when writing a strategic business plan. It describes what you want your business to look like, prioritizes your values, and propels you and your team forward every day. It defines areas of focus for your overall business plan and uncovers elements crucial to the growth of your business. This secret weapon helps successful entrepreneurs make more money, even during a moody economy. Remember, the only statistically significant factor in an entrepreneur’s success resides within her goals. The biggest obstacle to your business success is your own willingness to put your vision into words. Learn how to live life to its fullest when you create vision statements for yourself—personally and professionally.
© 2011 Maria Marsala is owner of Elevating Your Business, a business strategist who helps financial and service sector CEOs, professionals, and executives, with big dreams – millionaires or aspiring millionaires whose companies are growing too slowly or have grown too quickly and they lack systems – including a business vision statement. We help clients create systems that help them manage and market their businesses, profit centers and departments more efficiently and effectively. For more information, visit www.elevatingyourbusiness.com