Forming a perfectly clear strategic vision for your company is a difficult undertaking for any entrepreneur. Whether you want to double revenue, create a new product, change the world, make people happy, or do anything worth dedicating a large portion of your life to, you need to find a path.
It doesn’t need to be a lengthy process—in fact, it can take just 10 minutes. Below is a five-step exercise I recently completed that has made a world of difference with my company, and my team’s determination to reach our goals:
- Ask the question. Too often when we think about what we want to do, our own negativity holds us back. Are you here or are you there? Do not focus on what you want to accomplish from afar; you need to start at the accomplishment in order to eventually tell the story of how you got there. By adopting your future mindset now, you can push all that self-doubt aside and these answers become the building blocks to accomplishing your vision. This is the most powerful part of the entire exercise.
- Write it down. Use a large whiteboard to write all the accomplishments your team states during this exercise. The key here: Nothing is unrealistic, out of reach, or too big. Have fun with the exercise. The more out-of-the-box the accomplishment is, the more energy will grow in the room as everyone takes turns telling the story. Don’t let anyone over-think what they are going to say — instead, tell them it should come from the gut.
- Categorize your list.You and your team might have come up with 15 or so accomplishments, but after you organize them, you’ll see that they fall into a handful of broader themes: partnerships, product development, office expansion, and so forth. You may have outliers, and this is fine; use it to build on the collaboration of ideas.
- Talk out the story. Again and again. Have fun with it and have everyone take turns incorporating accomplishments. Certain things will stick right away, while others will still be lingering out there and may be pushed to the side for the time being. It is important not to cross anything out, but instead just focus on what fits your story. You know you have done a good job if everyone is excited and a bit nervous about what is in front of you.
- Present it to the company. This last step helps to finalize the vision and how you are going to achieve it. There is nothing like getting an idea or concept to stick than having to communicate effectively it to others. I first wrote down the story, and then created a video to share with our entire staff, complete with music and images in the background. After we viewed it as a company, there was this overwhelming consensus that what seemed so out of reach just the day before was now within our reach. In fact, we were already knee-deep in it.
After this five-step process is completed, you and your team must adjust your perspective to act with clear vision and a strategic plan. There can be no more “I think” and no more “maybe” in any of your conversations—instead, it’s now “this can be accomplished” and “yes we will!” Not only will it feel as if you’re already there, but you’ll also actually find yourself actually arriving there sooner than you thought.
The question is: Are you here or are you there?
David Schnurman is a passionate entrepreneur whose primary focus is creating a collaborative environment where individuals can actively learn and share their knowledge. He is the founder of two e-learning companies: Lawline.com, and TrueNYC.com, an online website that features video interviews and advice from entrepreneurs.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.