So often, we see business owners get stuck at some sort of roadblock or speedbump that stops them [or slows them down] from achieving their bigger-picture goals or implementing their plans for the business.

Businesses have endured the last 3 years  [forever to be known as the covid years], and many are ready to reset their vision and re-energise their teams to work towards new goals.

This toolbox will give you the tools, resources, and guidance you need to start the year afresh and reset your vision.

Not every ‘tool’ will be relevant for your specific situation, but I’ve included a range of different resources to choose from so hopefully one will best suit you, your situation and your team. 

the business owner struggle

Some business owners struggle to define and articulate their vision. As an entrepreneur who just scraps in, gets sh!t done, and makes decisions on the fly, this is not usually a problem. But, when the team grows and you need to empower others within your business, you might hear comments like;

  • “what are our goals?”
  • “we have no clarity”
  • “I don’t know what our vision is”

Some business owners struggle to work out what it is. Some have a vision but just can’t articulate it.

it doesn’t need to be a big, bold new vision

Your vision doesn’t have to be a big bold new business model or radically different goals – in fact, it is probably better that it isn’t dramatically different to what you have previously talked about or described.

A check-in on your existing vision to clarify the focus for the year ahead is just as important as painting the picture of what we want things to look like in 2030.

start by clearing the head

Often one of the most important ways to start is to just take a breath and clear your head before reconnecting, refocusing, and reaffirming what your vision is.

Burnout is rife among business owners. Rebalancing your headspace before tackling any of the following strategies will put you in a good place ready for some clear thinking.

Reducing or eliminating burnout is something that doesn’t happen overnight. So I’ve gathered a few resources you can use to help identify and deal with it.

  1. In 2019 I was lucky enough to enjoy a trip to Mongolia with a group of fellow entrepreneurs and members of the business community. Going into the trip, I knew I was personally close to burnout, but this trip proved just how badly I needed a moment to step back, reset and find another perspective. Read some of the leadership and headspace lessons I learnt from this short but powerful trip.
  2. Run through the short ‘Am I burnt out at work?’ questionnaire from Margie Ireland, organisational psychologist and leadership coach. This survey helps you assess where your headspace is at and highlights how burnout is impacting your life. If you are on the high-risk side of the results, it’s probably wise to take steps to reduce your burnout before even getting started on your other business goals.
  3. Time and time again, I have seen stress not be addressed in business . The risks of this stress resulting in long-term mental health issues are high. Check out the resources for business owners at Heads up’s Healthy workplaces for small businesses [an initiative of Beyond Blue].

tip around timeframes

Before you can clarify what your vision is, consider when you want to make your vision a reality. As a business owner, there is already an immense amount of pressure weighing on you. So whilst setting a stretch goal may work for some, setting an unrealistic timeframe can add [unnecessarily] to the pressure and becomes counter-productive.

If your vision is all about taking the business to the next level or transforming it for the next phase, it is important to give yourself and your team enough capacity to still get the rest of their job done.

That’s why I often use 3-month waves to implement change, but this will depend on where you are in the business life cycle.

5 strategies to help you find, reset and clarify your vision

Use just one of them if that works for you, or alternatively, apply them all and draw insights from the exercises to see what feels the best for you, your team, and your business.  

1. draw ‘it’

Rather than trying to describe your vision with words, simply draw it. Whether that be on a whiteboard, a blackboard or big sheets of A1 art or butcher’s paper, just grab a pen and start drawing a big picture of what you want things to look like in your business.

Set whatever timeframe you like or do multiple versions at different points in time.

Your drawing could be an illustration, a mind map, a timeline or even just scribbling down some buzzwords to help you work towards clearly defining what your business will look like.

Even get your staff, colleagues or business partners involved and start ‘brain dumping’ all different ideas of what everyone’s vision is onto a blank canvas before finally consolidating all those different thoughts into one primary summary. As they say “A picture paints a thousand words”.

2. wingardium leviosa – the magic wand

Consider the scenario of a magic wand. If you were to wave your magic wand today, what would you ideal business look like tomorrow? Once you have a vision, you can take a few steps back and discover how you can get there.

Again, drawing something helps with this. Map it out by yourself or with a team and consolidate into one vision, this will be your primary focus in achieving your goal and growth within your business.

3. how does it feel?

Often we find it hard to capture feelings and defining what we want something to look like.

Incorporate into your visioning work a feelings exercise. Grab some post it notes with your team and ask them to write a feeling on individual post-it notes to describe the feelings we want to be having when we have achieved our vision.

Stick them all on a board or a table and group into a couple of key themes [I would suggest 3-5 groups]. For example, one feeling might be that we want everyone to feel energised to try new things. You can then take this to a deeper level and do the feelings exercise from the perspective of each of the following stakeholders:

  • Team members
  • Shareholders/investors/directors
  • Clients/customers
  • Suppliers/referrers/collaborators

Note: sometimes people do struggle to articulate the feelings they want. To help, download a feelings wheel and hand them out during the workshop as a prompt. But also don’t feel limited to just one-word feelings – describe them however you want. For example, one of our values at businessDEPOT [we call them our ‘That’s DEPOT statements’] is #giveash!t. It came about because we were struggling to summarise how we wanted our team, clients and collaborators to feel when working with businessDEPOT until a moment when we were going around in circles and Accounting Director Bradley Conn said… “I just wish everyone would give a shit”. 

4. what is the problem being solved?

This is a classic test of whether you really know what you want. Summarise what the problem is that you will be solving at that point in time. It’s another way to look at your vision but a good way to somewhat sanity-check things.

5. write a fairy tale

A fairy tale is a make-believe story typically for children with no limitations on the imagination. It is an escape from reality that includes magic, made-up characters and miracles.

Set the scene by asking your team or whoever is participating in the exercise [it may just be yourself] what their favourite fairy tale is. Use this to evoke the feelings that come with having no limits to the outcomes we can achieve. Then give yourself and/or your team members time to write the outline of their own story tale. It can help to use the attached handout [especially if they are not a very creative bunch] but make sure you don’t let the handout limit their imagination.

What this exercise does is not come up with a definitive vision… instead, it helps you understand what we would love to achieve if there were no limits so it feeds the curiosity more than defining what the vision is.

making ‘it’ happen

This is only the first step in breaking through those barriers to success and making ‘it’ happen within your business. After finding or clarifying your vision, the work is only just beginning. But without this clarity, you and your team may struggle to stay on track and often get distracted by ’squirrels

So once you have some clarity on where you are going, now you also need to ask yourself the following:

  • Why do you want to achieve that?
  • Does the market want it?
  • Are you ready?
  • How can I validate the vision as viable?
  • What is the plan to get us there?
  • What could go wrong or get in the road?
  • How do I get the team onboard?


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