So, you have an idea for an Internet business or product and are wondering how to make those first moves into turning it into a real, successful venture.
A crucial part of starting up your own Internet business is to identify where you want to go with it, and what you want to achieve. Knowing this helps you answer a lot of the other questions around how your business will operate, and what it might be able to do further along the road. A helpful exercise in understanding this is visioning.
You must create a vision for your business, and a simple way to do this is to write a post or a document as if it is five years into the future, describing your business.
Answer the following questions in your vision statement. How much money are you making? What do you do? Who are your clients and how do you work with them? How do people feel about your brand? How any people working within your organization feel about working there too? How many hours a week do you work?
It is important not to focus only on the more obvious measures of success, like the bottom line, but also things like perception of your business, because knowing what you want them to be at this future point helps you to drive your business practices and behaviors while you are starting out.
If you know where you want to be in 2017 then you have a clear direction on where you want to go. Your vision will guide all of the big decisions you make in your business. For example, if you know that you want to go in a specific direction with your idea, but someone comes along and asks you to get involved in an unrelated project, it will be easy for you to say, “No”, because you understand this new project doesn’t get you closer to your vision (and in fact would take you further away from your vision).
There can be exceptions, of course, but using your vision in your decision making process is helpful because there will be a lot of cool new things that come up as you go along and build your business, and you really have to focus on what’s important to you.
When writing your vision you must be authentic, honest, and transparent. Be brave and write down what you really, really want to accomplish. Be specific about where you want to be. Don’t hold back. This is your life. These are your dreams.
Once you’ve written your vision, you may choose to share some of it with your partners, friends, or team or you may choose to keep it all to yourself, but don’t be intimidated or embarrassed to spell out your true vision.
It is also important to think big. If you’ve read Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” book then you are familiar with the big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) recommendation. The BHAG is a goal that is set just outside your comfort zone. It should make you think, “There’s no way I could do that, or is there?” There needs to be that slight belief that you could. This is fun and motivational, but you still need to be as specific as possible.
Donald Trump, who has done pretty well in business, once said “It is easy to think big.” And it really is. It’s just as easy to think big as it is to think small. Use this vision exercise to think big. Put your big goal out there to the world. Be clear and concise, and recognize this is much different than just a simple daydream. This is your roadmap for success, and requires you to take action.
Use numbers and specifics, and clear, unambiguous statements. As you write from the future about where you want to be, think in exact terms. Don’t think, “I want to be making enough from my Internet business that I don’t need to do any other kind of work”, or “I want my Internet business to have made me rich”, think of the exact amount of money that you would like to be bringing in, and the specific lifestyle that will afford you. It is really important to know what you want to do and where you want to go.
You can do this for any aspect of your life, too, as you perform the exercise. You can do this for your family, for example, writing, “In 2017 I want my family to be in this position, living here in this part of the country, and the kids going to school here. I want to be giving them these specific opportunities.”
You can cover any details you want, if they are important to you. What car do you drive in 2017? Where do you go on vacation? What do you want your cholesterol levels to be? The vision exercise is an incredible tool because it gives you what a roadmap for your life. It also forces you to think not only of what is possible, which can be a very motivating idea, but also what is truly important to you. Knowing this will help you drive your business in the right direction for your own specific needs in life.
The vision that you come up with can then be distilled into a mission. Mission statements are common in business, and a lot of people don’t take them seriously because so often they sound like insincere corporate speak. Use your vision for your business, for how it is perceived by its customers, for how people feel about working for it, for how you feel about owning it, and try and come up with a mission and a mission statement that really means something.
Refer back to your vision and mission as you progress, and use them to help shape your business and enable you to stay on the right track to make your original vision a reality.