Why Clear Business Vision Ensures Your Success

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.

  1. Those who dream about living offshore, read and talk about it a lot, but never make a plan.
  2. Those who participated in the conference by asking a zillion questions, wanting to make an international move with absolutely no surprises and little risk.
  3. 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.

  1. Those who dream about owning their own business, talk about it a lot, make a few small efforts but never make a plan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

21 thoughts on “Why Clear Business Vision Ensures Your Success

Cindy @ YogaInMyPocket.com

What a great article Sue. It’s so true – just dreaming is well… just dreaming. Getting clarity is not as easy as it sounds but I never give up. Thank you for your wisdom.

Sue Painter

It can be tough to stay quiet enough and get that true clear vision because so many around you go off into business without it and make a lot of noise. But keep at it, the energy you’ll find there is what will fuel you to success.

Terri Zwierzynski

Sue, what a great insight into why some folks are successful and others are not! It all starts with a vision…which is why I always cringe at those programs that push the “find a profitable niche” approach. It’s hard to be passionate about a topic or a group of people that you choose from a bunch of keywords! Go with where your heart is, and the rest will follow.

Sue Painter

Hi Terri,
I think of it as the opposite way around – get clear on the vision, then test that vision against business models and keywords. Almost always one can find the keywords that will support the vision.


Love this, Sue. I just received a coffee mug that says, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” Ain’t it the truth!

First the vision, then the plan, then the action.

Sue Painter

Oh, how funny about your coffee mug, Paula! Maybe I should be writing sayings for a coffee mug company as a sideline to The Confident Marketer.

JoLynn Braley

Sue, this is so true AND it applies to ANY life area. For example, take my specific expertise in permanent weight loss through The Inner Self Diet™ – I have spoken with many who Want to drop the fat and keep it off, who Say they are going to do it, but then do not actually commit to a specific plan of action.

So actually the ones who get what they want in life do not get it because they hope, dream, or talk about it, nor do they get it because they collect lots of information about their dream.

The ones who get what they deeply desire are the ones who Believe they can get it, Expect it to manifest, and then (crucial) they Take Specific Action to create it. No matter What life area, whether that’s building a business, releasing your lifelong food & weight struggles, or attracting your ideal mate!

All good stuff Sue!! (Can you tell I’m just a little bit passionate about Results rather than just Talk?) 🙂

JoLynn Braley
The F.A.T. Release Coach

Sue Painter

Hi JoLynn,
Yes, I do believe that living into vision works for all areas of life, not just one’s life work.



I am wondering if you can expand on your thoughts about having a full business plan and when it is time to rewrite that business plan.

I completed a full business plan when I started my business, and approximately 1 month later it pretty much had no resemblance to what actually happened. The business took off in another direction and I flowed with it.

Now, over a year later (without a business plan) technology is causing my business to shift and change again, so the idea of having a full business plan seems exhausting if it is going to keep changing.

What are your suggestions for changing/maintaining a plan once the business has a bit of a life of its own?



Sue Painter

Your question is a great one and demands a longer answer than I can do here. But look for a little video that will contain your answer on my YouTube channel!

Gail Saseen

Great article and insights. I agree that most business owners don’t take the time to get a clear vision. The vision reveals a roadmap and becomes your internal GPS. Without it who knows where you’ll end up!

Jeremie, I sense your frustration regarding business plans. It’s not that hard and doesn’t have to be time consuming. Unless you are preparing a formal business plan for bank funding, its your business and marketing plan.. a constant flexible document. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can get help (check out my website). Check out Sue’s video… She is an expert in this area!


Terry Monaghan | Time Triage


Wonderful! It always amazes me how many people think they can get what they want without a plan and working the plan. Love this.

Vidette Vanderweide

Great article, Sue!

The WRITTEN vision is what keeps me going in times of challenge. It is amazing how many business owners skip this step, yet it is such a critical one.

My big vision has been the same for years and it is so encouraging as pieces come together bit by bit. What better way to see how far we’ve come than by having our vision in front of us every day?


Great article, Sue! Yes, it seems a plan put into action is the only way. Dreaming about it is so much more fun, though.

The Book Yourself Solid program, along with your coaching, sounds like a wonderful support system!




So true Sue! Thanks!

Jennifer Bourn

Sue – Brilliant. You are so right on the money with your comment “the unsuccessful ones are half-in, half-out.”

I was just speaking with a friend of mine about the exact same thing …

The successful are willing to do whatever it takes. They work weekends or nights to make it happen. They put in the extra effort. They take action. They make decisions. They have a plan. They get help. They take risks. They get out there.

The unsuccessful talk A LOT about it. They look like they are working hard … but in reality they’re just busy doing things that aren’t moving them forward. They only want to walk the safe path. They aren’t willing to give up a weekend or pull an all-nighter to get it done. They aren’t taking action.

Sitting on the fence gets you nowhere … you’re stuck on the fence!

I also think the traditional idea of a business plan scares people out of doing it. They get intimidated or overwhelmed.

I’ve found that my best plans, that have made the biggest impact on my business are the most simple ones. While I do think you need complete clarity about where you’re going and what you’re working toward… Sometimes it’s just enough to plan out the next step clearly.

Love the post! Hope you’ll be sharing some more 🙂

Jennifer Bourn

Erin Ferree

I, too, struggle with planning too far out since my business takes innovative twists and turns regularly. However, I’m happy to plan and execute in the short term. What do you recommend for a “best of both worlds” situation?

Aprille Trupiano

Sue – you hit it RIGHT on the head! GREAT article from the always BRILLIANT mind of Sue Painter!!

I just spent an entire day training business owners on getting clear and getting into action with my “6 Figure Business Plan Bootcamp”. They love the Visioning, the Ideal Business, the Marketing, the Ideal Clients, the Referral Partners. That is, until I talk to them about the importance of putting their Vision into existence…meaning getting the ACTIONS into their CALENDAR. Whenever I teach that section, I have to literally walk around the room and look at each workbook to see that everyone is doing it. And surprisingly, this is the place where they get most stuck. They’re just not sure what to do next or what to do first.

It’s critical to create the Vision (CLEAR Vision), just as you always say Sue. Because without it, there’s confusion, push back, drudgery. Yet, once I have them go back to the Vision they created, they slap their head and say “oh yes!” and start scribbling madly in their calendar.

With a CLEAR Vision, the actions you need to take to be successful are also CLEAR. They become obvious and natural next steps. And, all that resistance to putting it in the calendar dissipates because clarity in their Vision inspires them to take those actions. They’re easily motivated each step of the way.

Keep telling it like it is, Sue. Business Owners need to hear your wisdom so they can make their dreams a reality!!

Aprille Trupiano
International Expert on Leadership
Radio & TV Show Host

Sue Painter

Thanks so much for your comment, Aprille. The relationship between clear vision and motivation is so strong, I agree!

Michael Trow

Great article Sue! As an expat four times over I can definitely agree with the points you are making! I have been all three of those people and my outlook on life, and business, has changed through these experiences. You couldn’t be more right about this.


Thanks a million Sue!

I have just finished Book Yourself Solid, I think it will make a great change, I think it will make a great shift in my business.

Thanks Sue and Michael.

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