It’s a rare business owner who—at some point—doesn’t feel stuck. And by stuck, I mean feeling like they don’t know what to do next. Feeling stuck means the absence of things like trust, confidence, and a clear path forward. Either you begin to experience burnout, or you aren’t reaching your goals and can’t seem to get past the income plateau you’ve found yourself on.
What you may not realise is that having trust in your business, the confidence to make good business decisions, and knowing what you need to do next, all come from having a business plan.
Feeling stuck is more normal than you might think as a business owner, but staying there isn’t good. Successful small business owners figure out how to overcome the hurdles that overwhelm them and continue to grow their businesses. This is when entrepreneurs like you usually look for me. Together we take the first step to helping you become unstuck, and that is to determine what exactly is holding you back.
Lack of Clarity
When you don’t know what it is you want from your business, you’re experiencing a lack of clarity. Maybe you aren’t clear on who you’re meant to serve, or can’t quite envision your product funnel.
Or maybe you can’t even picture your epic training course in its entirety.
These are all symptoms of a lack of clarity, and they can stop a promising business in its tracks.
If you’re suffering from a lack of clarity, take a step back and do some brainstorming (or brain dumping) to get everything out in the daylight where you can see it. This alone can help you get clear on what your next step is.
Lack of Focus
If you’re clear on your goals but you’re having trouble moving forward consistently, then a lack of focus might be your trouble. You head to your office each morning with purpose, but by lunch, it’s clear you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do.
You’re not a bad person or even a poor business owner. You just have trouble focusing on the next step that needs to happen to make your dreams come true.
With your end goal in mind, brainstorm the next physical action you need to take to achieve it. So if your goal is to build a 4-week e-course, then your next step might be to poll your mailing list about what they need/want from you.
Bored? Lost interest in that business you once loved? This is unfortunately pretty common among solopreneurs. That’s why you see so many of them jumping from business to business, never spending enough time in any one endeavor to see it through to success.
Staying excited about your business starts with having a dream that keeps you going even when you’re faced with the day-to-day drudgery that every small business owner encounters. Not everything is fun when you’re running a business, but if you keep your “why” in mind, it can help you get past the dull spots.
Want to know how to easily fix all these issues (and more)? It’s a simple trick that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been using for decades: vision boards. These fun and colorful tools can help you clarify your dreams, work out your next steps, and stay excited about your business.
I know what you are thinking – because I thought it too. Really? That’s all you’ve got? A Vision Board?
Before you dismiss the idea, you could give it a try – a real try. Go all in with creating a vision board. Here is my challenge to you: if you don’t get clarity from your vision board, then book a chat with me and we can go over it together. A fresh set of eyes on your business can give you a unique perspective that you aren’t seeing – especially when that perspective comes from an experienced professional (like me!).
Vision boards can be as simple as a few images clipped from a magazine and pinned to a corkboard, or as complex as a framed poster with hand-lettered quotes and personal inspiration. The choice is yours. It’s completely personal, super fun, and best of all, it works. Here are some reasons why it works.
Vision boards, or dream boards, might sound a bit airy fairy for you. If that is the case, let’s put a twist on the name. You are creating a business visualisation board. It is simply your business plan in images, graphics, elements, colours, and letters.
“Strategic planning is worthless unless
first there is a strategic vision.”– John Naisbitt
Steps to create a formal Business Plan
If I tell you to write a business plan, you may be feeling anxious about writing a formal business document. Don’t worry, you can write an effective business plan by following a few simple steps.
1. Start by researching the industry and market that your business will be operating in. This information will give you valuable insights into how to structure your business plan.
2. Create a detailed list of your goals for the company. Include both short-term and long-term objectives. Make sure your goals are realistic, measurable, and achievable.
3. Describe the products or services that you plan to offer to customers. Outline your pricing model and any important features of the product/service that may distinguish it from competitors in the market.
4. Develop your marketing strategy. Think about how you will reach out to potential customers and what channels you plan to use. Also, identify tactics that will help you retain existing customers.
5. Create a financial plan for your business. Include an estimate of the start-up costs, projected sales revenues, and expenses. You’ll also need to decide on a pricing strategy for your products or services.
6. Prepare a draft of your business plan, including all the information you’ve gathered from research and financial planning. You’ll want to include a detailed executive summary that outlines the main points of your plan.
7. Get feedback on your draft before you finalize it. Ask trusted advisors, business experts, and other entrepreneurs for their advice. This will help you refine your plan and make it more compelling to potential investors or lenders.
8. Finalise the document and ensure that it reflects all the changes based on the feedback you’ve received. Make sure everything is accurate, concise, and well-written before sending it out.
By following these steps and doing the necessary research, you can feel confident that your business plan will be effective.
If you are applying for finance, doing a business pitch, or having to report to stakeholders, this is the plan you need to have. It must be thoroughly researched and derived from facts, figures, and historical and industry data.
But the dream you have for the life you want and the change you want to make isn’t about facts and figures that are researched. This is why so many business plans will sit in a draw somewhere, out of sight and out of mind. There is no emotional connection for you to this type of document.
This is why you need a Vision Board.
Well, what if I told you that a Business Plan and a Vision Board can be the same thing in a different format? A format that makes it much more exciting and fun to create, and it has so much more emotional connection for you as the business owner.
A traditional business plan will detail things like:
the mission and vision statement, the product or service you offer, your target market and customer base, financial projections, and a marketing strategy. This plan should also include detailed information on how to manage the day-to-day operations of your business. You’ll need to have clear goals for every aspect of your business outlined in this document so that all stakeholders can understand the direction of the company.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider potential challenges and risks that could hinder your success and outline strategies for mitigating them. It’s important to track progress against milestones so that you can adjust your course if necessary. By developing a comprehensive business plan, you will have greater success in achieving your long-term goals.
To create your business visualisation board, you include these elements, only you do it in a different way. You are articulating your mission and vision with images, a word, or a quote, instead of a formal statement.
Your target market and marketing strategy become clear through your choice of images. Particular colours become evident, styles and themes shine through, and the collection of these things paints a picture for someone like me, who is excellent at interpreting vision boards. Having a clear idea of who your target market is and how to reach them can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to marketing. Once you have decided on an image or images that best represent your business, create a marketing strategy to get your message out there.
Think of it like this. A vision board is a mosaic for your business. You might be sitting in front of a thousand tiny pieces of broken tile, thinking that it is just rubble and ruin. Useless, because you are placing all the value in a complete tile, instead of seeing the value the pieces have when they are put together differently. But when you piece all those pieces together, you create something beautiful. Something that makes sense of the ruins.
Your vision board can help you do this. It’s like a puzzle that lays out the pieces of your business journey. A map to help guide you forward, connecting the dots in a full picture of what it is you want to accomplish. With every piece coming together, you get closer and closer to achieving your goals and creating a successful business.
Creating a vision board is not a wasted exercise. This vision board will be something you will ideally refer to daily. Creating the vision is not enough to get it done. You also need to then take action.
“Vision without action is daydream.
Action without vision is nightmare.”– Japanese Proverb
So don’t let anyone tell you that it is not professional to create a vision board for your business. It can be as simple as some post-it notes on a corkboard, or as elaborate as a framed poster full of inspirational quotes and personal motivation. You are never too old, too young, too small, or too big to create something beautiful. The only thing that matters is the passion you have for what you are creating. So get started and create your business visualisation board today!