Thursday, 13 November 2014

Billy’s Thirty-Fifth Law: Vision is important not only to the enterprise…but to the entrepreneur.

...your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions. 
Joel 2:28

The second pillar of corporate philosophy is vision.  Vision is dream with action.  It is more philosophical than goal setting and yet more specific than wishful thinking.  Vision often exceeds our grasp, until we find a way to achieve the vision.  Even when we do not achieve those lofty heights, we achieve greater things than those whose time horizon is the next day, week or quarter. 

Vision in business is nothing new, but that does not make it any less important.  As a business owner...especially as a founder... ask yourself if the vision you set when you began is the same as it is now. In planning sessions, I love to ask the planning team where they see the business in one, three or five years. How big is the enterprise in revenue, profit and staff levels?  Would it be similar or completely different? 
I am a big fan of succession planning.  This is especially true when there are key people reaching retirement age.  What would your enterprise look like if that key person retires?    What if they retired earlier than you expected?  This kind of visioning leads to the development of succession plans and even contingency plans.  We don't like this type of planning.  It is a little like estate planning, we know it is important, but do not think that it is imminent.

Most entrepreneurial coaches, educators and consultants encourage this kind of visioning as part of the planning process.  We often fail in the second phase of visioning.  We think about the enterprise, but not the entrepreneur.  I did some work in the area of 'succession planning'.  The woman I was working with, and expert in this field, pointed out that for many entrepreneurs, death was the succession plan.  My own father got sick and passed away without any kind of succession plan.  This increased the angst during a difficult time for our family.  

Have you envisioned your own life?  Here are some questions every entrepreneur over the age of 55 should ask him, or herself: 

  • Will you work forever? 
  • Do you have a succession plan? 
  • Is your business salable, or can it become salable?
  • If you plan is to 'cut back' do you know who will perform the tasks you are no longer performing? 
  • Have you built your wealth in your business, or have you used the business to build wealth in other ways?
Many entrepreneurs have a vision for the enterprise.  Fewer entrepreneurs have a vision for themselves.  In the world of business and especially business planning, five years is not a long time.  I was with a client just the other day, talking to him about the future of his enterprise.  I told him, "I can picture being at Mr. X's retirement dinner honoring the contribution he made taking this business from a $1,000,000 / year business to a $5,000,000 business. I would love to think that this event, which will happen in five years, means that the business Ms. Y  now is ready to step in and continue the work in a seamless fashion."
I remind you again of Elizabeth Lake's definition of a sustainable enterprise. It is a business which may need the founder's current role, but it does not need the founder.  Visioning can help you achieve that goal of becoming a sustainable enterprise.  

For those of you who are regulars...I am on vacation and return in December. 

No comments:

Post a Comment