My father was my first business partner and business coach. He instilled entrepreneurship in me from a very young age. I spent a great deal of time with him, helping him with administrative tasks for the business. One of the most valuable lessons he taught me was to start every project with a vision and a plan.
Successful business owners must have a vision for others to follow. As the owner, you must articulate a strategic plan that others can support and help bring to fruition. Your ability to convey the vision is very important to your success. The vision should ignite energy, provide big-picture perspective and inspire productivity. Give others a reason to join your team and commit their heart and soul to helping the company achieve the dream.
When I had my first image consulting firm and beauty salon at 20-years-old, my dad gave me a building to create my dream business. I re-designed a store-front, which included a beauty salon, clothing store and a classroom setting in the back.
The design project was so fun! I created a vision board of London salons and boutiques that I used to model my salon style. I wanted to bring that image and style to my shop -- and I did! I put all this money into the décor and design of the salon. When we finished the project, it was a beautiful place. I just stood in the center of my new salon filled with excitement and awe at how I brought my vision to pass. Then my father asked what was my plan to make money.
I had absolutely no plan for running a business. He pointed out to me my own shortsightedness. He said, "Stacia, you only had a vision to get started but you need a vision to finish."
I went to work after that, creating a plan to hire stylists and attract clients for my business. I did my research by asking all the top stylists in the city what was their ideal work environment. Then strategized a vision that included their input. After I had a written plan, I created a vision board for the kind of people I wanted to work in my salon and my ideal salon environment.
Then I called a meeting and shared my vision with the same group of stylists. At the end of the meeting, I asked them all to come work for me in my new salon. Many of them agreed because I included them in my vision for success. I learned that you need a vision that inspires the people that work for you so that you can grow and go together.
Vision planning must be done in phases. We rarely know the end from the beginning. We usually have an idea of what we would like to accomplish and set out to manifest that vision. As you carry out your initial plan, there will be new elements, adventures and excitement along the way that will cause to you adjust your vision and make knew plans. For this reason, it is important to revisit your vision and plan often and make adjustments along the way.
One of the ways that I keep my vision relevant is by creating vision boards. For years, I've practiced visualization to achieve my dreams and goals. I use vision boards to clarify my desires, pinpoint patterns of interest and create visual plans. I practice vision boarding often to incorporate new ideas and opportunities. I've learned that the more you focus on a picture of your goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them.
To stay focused on my vision on the go, I use the online vision board tool, Pinterest to digitally collect pictures and categorize them by themes. I create private theme boards for myself, and group boards to share with my team when working on projects. Sharing vision boards make it easy for others to understand the plan and jump on board to carry it out quickly.
Having a vision is the single most important piece of career advice that has made a huge difference in my success. By incorporating my father's advice into my career plans, I've been able to build several successful businesses and establish longevity in my industry.
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