One of my mentors – Dr. Ike Rieghard, said to me that unrealized visions are.hallucinations. Meaning that a vision is some place or some situation in which you can picture yourself of your business. For example, my vision is to be an educator of strategic planning, strategic foresight and servant leadership. If I never do anything with that vision, it is no more than a dream.
The other thing Dr. Ike said was that when I have a vision, write it down. He went on to explain that visions aren’t always right around the corner, or something that is going to happen right away. Often, visions are based on some future state. Therefore, if you write it down, and make it your focus – look at it often – you are more likely to craft your activities toward achieving that vision. Your thoughts and ideas will constantly serve to reach that vision for yourself or your company.
As business leaders, ideas about how to grow your business, or new businesses, are constantly popping into your head. The challenge I have seen is that without putting energy into one or two goals that are moving toward a specific vision, you will be all over the place. You will be starting a lot of different things, but not actually accomplishing much of anything. What I’ve recommended to people is to create an Idea Platform, which is a way of documenting, evaluating and incorporating an idea into the business.
The other end of the spectrum is to promote and sell a number of ideas half-baked. For some people, that works. One of the problems with this type of effort is that the products or services delivered aren’t always as powerful as they could be, and they don’t have the impact that they could. Additionally, you have to determine if running your business this way is sustainable. Yes, there will be opportunities that present themselves that you must “jump” on right away, or the opportunity wily. However, like the Idea Platform, it would be valuable to have a process for managing these types of scenarios.
For example, if you were to look at a typical gas company – they aren’t necessarily the companies that produce the gas at all. They are more likely gas marketers, or companies that sell gas and related products. There goal, of course, is to sell gas. Now they probably have a number of different venders that a) sell them gas, b) sell them gas-related products and c) offer different tools that assist with monitoring gas consumption and billing. These companies cannot afford to jump at every single idea half-baked. They should (but may not) have a system for evaluating the products and services, to determine if they will be viable and profitable for the company, without taking them outside of their core business. The more efficient their process is, the faster they can take ideas to market.
If that holds true for publicly traded companies, it certainly holds true for your company, since your time and resources are probably more limited then those of the gas companies. So create your idea platform. Have your ideas and your visions and write them down. Evaluate them. If your ideas will lead your business toward the vision and they make sense for your business, incorporate them and move forward. Remember, moving forward on inertia – without much effort – will NOT make your business extraordinary, but rather, as mediocre as many other businesses in the marketplace.
Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there. We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].