Not long ago I participated in a conference for Americans who had an interest in changing their lifestyle completely by leaving the United States and living as ex-pats in another country. Not far into the conference I realized that the participants fell into three categories.
- Those who dream about living offshore, read and talk about it a lot, but never make a plan.
- Those who participated in the conference by asking a zillion questions, wanting to make an international move with absolutely no surprises and little risk.
- Those who have, in writing, their criteria for selecting a new country in which to live, have made several trips to check out potential locations, and have created a written budget of what they can afford and how they will live.
Which group will be most successful in making the transition to full-time ex-pat living? Group #3. This group will be the ones who actually act, who will achieve the goal of trying another country as their home. Why? They have done the work of honing their vision, and that solid vision gives them confidence to act and succeed.
It’s the very same with those of us who are small business owners. We tend to fall into three categories similiar to those above.
- Those who dream about owning their own business, talk about it a lot, make a few small efforts but never make a plan.
- Those who attend conferences and live events over and over again, ask questions because they want to know the how up front, thinking that fully knowing the how will erase the risk of business ownership.
- Those who have written down a full business plan, have a workable marketing plan, have talked to others who are successful business owners, are ready to make a significant investment of time, and have some money to put toward establishing their own business.
It’s not hard to imagine that the category three people will be the ones to succeed. In the Book Yourself Solid system we know that you must have an urgent need and a compelling desire – you must know not only that you don’t want to work for someone else (your urgent need), you must also have a vision for what you want to move toward (your compelling desire). Small business owners who don’t have both tend to not go the distance – they don’t have a clear vision that fuels them toward success. They know what they want to walk away from, but they’ve not taken on the visioning work, the thinking and feeling through to what they want to walk toward.
Dreaming is one thing, digging in is another. The more I work with small business owners, the more I find that the unsuccessful ones are half-in, half-out. They have a vague idea of “something different” but their vision isn’t clear. They have not done the work of taking their current discomfort and vague dreams of something different into a lively vision. And consequently, they take no actions, or the actions they do take lack focus and energy, so the business is not successful.
Without taking our dreams into vision we do not bring about success. Working with our dreams and creating a heart-felt, written vision will spin our energy toward action, will fuel us past the times when things are harder than we thought they might be. Clear vision is more than a vague dream – it is the muscle we put on the bones of a dream. It’s a critical factor in the staying power and commitment it takes to bring your small business to profit and success.