Apple Growth Partners

Use Your Vision as a Magnet

Article #2 in the New Business Owner Series

Toby Kaye, CPA/ABV

Excitement is surging through your veins. All potential obstacles are conquerable. Opportunities for success are everywhere. How do you maintain this excitement as you grow? 

You have a unique chance upon starting a business to give that enthusiasm staying power by outlining your vision. Tap into the reason that you created the company. You, your customers, employees, management, and vendors can look to it as a guiding light and inspiration. The more you can define and illustrate this initial spark of innovation, the more the vision can act as a glue for your company.

The vision should elicit emotion and be based on a deeper purpose. 

People act based on emotion. Employees put in extra effort. Customers make the decision to buy. What emotional need is your business providing for your employee and customer that they are thirsting for? 

As mentioned in John Sculley’s book “Odyssey,” Steve Jobs was trying to lure Sculley from another major company. Jobs spoke to him multiple times about all the logical reasons to make a move, such as considerable compensation, great people, etc. He declined. Until Jobs stated the famous line “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” Who could say no to that opportunity? In the end, they did bring personal computers to the masses and changed the world forever. Your vision should speak to the natural human desire to pursue a broader noble cause.

Imagine yourself in 10 years running this business as a scaled-up thriving enterprise. How would the lives of your customers be improved? How would your local community be impacted? How would you have changed the world? How would you be a different person? Success as a business owner is not only measured by the growth of the company, but also by you growing as a mentor, salesperson, visionary, teacher, manager.

This exercise should provide you with the content to create your goals and the motivation to hit them.  Repeat this visioning exercise periodically to maintain the energy and to reconfirm your long-term goals.  Some shortsighted people don’t set goals. They may fear failing to meet the goals, or they may be caught up putting out the latest business fire alarms. You will see a robust return on time spent thinking about the company’s goals.  

If your business vision is the light to guide you, goals are the track to get there. 

Goals for you and the business should be short term and long term. Detailed goals should be kept to a 1 – 3-year time frame as business conditions change rapidly. Longer-term goals should be broader. The goals should be revisited every three months to ensure they still reflect market conditions and the development of the company.

Do not fall into the trap of making the goals too easy. You and the business need to be pushed to excel to survive. Goals are not the determinant of success but should be used as a platform to grow and meet your potential for greatness.

Both personal and business-related goals should be shared with trusted mentors inside and outside the firm. These people will provide their view on the feasibility and relevance of the goals. These people can also hold you accountable for taking steps to meet the goals. The business-related purposes should also be shared with employees. The transparency will help to build trust and elicit valuable feedback. 

Now that you understand how your company will change the world and the steps you need to get there, you should consider your value proposition and your marketing message to the customer. Look out for our third article in the New Business Owner series: “Be at One with the Customer.” Contact me to brainstorm for a breakthrough if you are a new business owner struggling to outline your vision or select your goals.