Merriam-Webster defines vision as “the ability to see: sight or eyesight, something that you imagine, a picture that you see in your mind, something that you see or dream". I define vision as “your imagined transformation”. It is what you see your venture or community will be doing in the future. Having an entrepreneurial vision is about “blueprinting your transformational architecture”.
One of the challenges that we face as entrepreneurs is not having clarity with our vision. In our survey of 122 entrepreneurs, we found out that 9% of the respondents took more than 5 years, 13.1% took 3–5 years and 27.9% took 1–2 years to get clarity with their vision.
Given how businesses fail on their first five years it is crucial to address the importance of clarity in business vision as these have impact on success or failure rates.
CB Insights found in their post-mortems of 101 startups Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail. The top ten results from this study are:
No market need
Ran out of cash
Not the right team
Need/lack business model
It is easy to imagine how uncertainty in business vision can drive a company to failure because of not having a good market fit and at the same time running out of resources from doing activities that are not in alignment.
So how do we address this need for clarity?
When I was working with my friend Eleanor Spagnuolo, we created the Alignment Cycle to help entrepreneurs get into the habit of using multi-level envisioning, goal-setting and planning. We believe that to make great ideas happen and impact the world, we need to start from getting into the practice of refining our vision, making it visible and having specific milestones enroute to the larger goal.
That larger goal is your impact. This is the change you are stirring with your presence. This is the movement you are spearheading to create change, impact people and leave a lasting legacy.
Here is our first part of our Alignment levels and how it can be applied to envisioning a business transformed into a movement:
Level 1: Imagine
Let loose with what you want to achieve, set out big hairy audacious goals (BHAG). Think in terms of possibilities. Write all of them down and what you want to achieve. Do not limit or censor yourself. Make it clear in your mind what that expanded, fulfilled and expressed vision can be.
Think also in terms of impact. How will your presence, your voice and your expertise blend together to create the change you want to see in the world?
Your goal: is to get clarity with why these are important.
How do these tie in with your life purpose?
What needs and values are driven by these aspirations?
Why do all these matter?