In this column, I’d like to reflect on how entrepreneurs can stay motivated by your vision when the times get tough and you feel like you can’t or don’t want to go on. Throughout the first year of building your business, you will hit this roadblock many times as you encounter issues with finances, customer markets, your product, and the grind of being a startup entrepreneur. It’s never going to get easier, but having the right mindset can make you victorious.
Where to Start: The Vision
Before you are able to motivate yourself by your vision, you must first create that vision. For some entrepreneurs, imagination is a key skill that they possess and enjoy using, but that is not the case for every entrepreneur. I have met many successful entrepreneurs who have struggled to see past the next three months of their business and they are extremely successful.
When first creating the vision for your company, you will need to tap into your imaginative side. You are tasking yourself with seeing a future that you believe is realistic within a given time frame.
Here is the process that I encourage entrepreneurs to follow to define the vision of their company. It is a practice that can be used within your personal and professional life. It clearly defines the life that you want to live and places your mind in the right state to tackle such a future.
Creating your Vision
Step 1: Introspection
Place yourself in a space where you do not have any distractions. No television. No computers. No screaming kids. No opportunities to be thrown out of your mental concentration.
Think about the idea that you currently have of who your company is. Who is involved in the company? Where is it located? What is the product or service that you are offering? What do the financials look like? How are you addressing a real problem in a customer market? Where are you struggling?
If you are a visual person, write down all of your thoughts so that you have a physical picture of who your company is today at day zero.
Step 2: The One Year Mark
Using the same piece of paper or notebook, concentrate on 1 year from today…May 10th, 2017. Answer the same questions that I posed above about who your business is. How has it changed? What are the major differences between who your company is today and who it will be in 1 year? How will the role of your team members change?
At the same time, think about who you want to become in the next year. How will your role change? What will you be most involved in? How will you be leading the company?
Step 3: The Two Year Mark
Same process. Build upon the vision that you created for the next year and continue it into 2018. It is now May 10th, 2018 and your company is still alive. In fact, it is thriving. Who is your company two years from now?
Move through the key areas of the business that I identified in the first step and write down your vision for the two year mark. Are you starting to see the vision for who your company will become and how it will make a true impact on your customer market?
Step 4: Form the Vision
After you’ve put together your answers to the two year mark, pull it all together into a vision that you can regularly refer back to. One of the most important aspects is writing it on its own piece of paper so that you can hang it in your office, carry it around with you, or post on your bedroom wall. You also want to make sure that you are writing it in such a way that you are envisioning it becoming truth.
Here is an example:
Vision: eCommetize is a multi-million dollar company managing and growing over 250 online stores for online influencers within the United States through its proprietary eCommerce software. eCommetize continues to function as a low-overhead, remote company where all employees are online and specialized within their given skill set. eCommetize is on track to generate over $20,000,000 in revenue through its online stores.
Notice the bolded words in this vision statement. They are specific and clearly define the vision that I have for the future of eCommetize. Being definitive and decisive in your vision statement is necessary so that you have specific milestones to work towards.
Step 5: Believe
The final step in creating your vision is believing in who you want to become. No one is going to make your vision come true except you. You have the ability to become exactly who you envision and it all takes the right attitude.
If you create a vision that you don’t necessarily believe in, you are never going to achieve it. If you can develop a full belief in your vision over the course of building your business, you are going to exude self confidence. Your mind and intentions will be honed in on who you want to become and it will happen without you even knowing it.
Finding Motivation in the Toughest Times
The scary truth of being an entrepreneur is that its not easy and many people will fail. You can read hundreds of sources that share statistics on how many businesses are started each year in the United States and how many actually make it to year 2 still alive.
The statistics are definitely stacked against us as entrepreneurs and that can cause worry in the toughest of times in the first year of building your startup. Worry is the absolute last thing that any entrepreneur needs to focus on as they already have a laundry list of tasks to complete in order to just launch their product or validate their customer market.
Through my experience as an entrepreneur, I have found the vision statement to be an amazing motivator when the roller coaster heads down the steepest of tracks. There are many times within an entrepreneur’s life when they think to themselves:
Why am I doing this?
Why am I losing sleep over this idea?
Would I be better off doing something else?
What is all of this work leading towards?
The vision statement is the answer to your questions.
Dig Deep and Remember your Vision
When you are down in the dumps and are unsure of how to get that motivation and fire back, dig deep into your bag and pull out the vision statement that we just created together. Compare the struggles that you are going through today to the vision of who you want to become.
Are your struggles today working towards the specific vision that you created for your vision?
If the answer is “Yes” — and most of the time it should be — you are merely on the track to fulfilling your vision. Becoming the perfect version of who you want to become has to come with hardships and internal struggle. You can make it through and you will if you rely on your vision.