Your Vision is your mental picture of the direction in which you want to take your business. It is the goal for your business towards which you are working. A goal is a future desired state. It could be that you want your business to become the leading organization in your field or to offer the best products or services. For others, the Vision is to become the best that they can be in their chosen profession.
The starting point for many entrepreneurs is to clarify whether they are Income Producers or Business Builders. An Income Producer is an entrepreneur who is primarily concerned with replacing the income they would have otherwise earned through employment. Typically, in a business of one, Income Producers are attracted to the freedom of being their own boss. Without them, the business has no value. The Business Builder is primarily concerned with building a business that has value separate from them. To be a successful Business Builder, you have to be a manager and leader.
My wife, Wendy, is a classic example of an Income Producer. Wendy has a private psychotherapy practice, specializing in Marital and Family Therapy. She operates as a business of one. Her practice is structured to enable her to express her unique ability. In a typical week, Wendy will work one-on-one with clients for 23 hours. The balance of her work week is devoted to writing reports, preparing for interviews, professional development and the management of her practice. She utilizes technology to increase efficiencies and effectiveness, but the business is primarily reliant on her efforts. When she retires, she will close the door on her practice. For Wendy, the value is in making a difference in the lives of the people with whom she works. She has built a successful business by realizing and focusing on her unique ability.
In my career, I have been both an Income Producer and Business Builder. When I started The Covenant Group in April of 1995, I wanted to be an Income Producer. The Covenant Group’s first Business Plan described how I would build an income stream to $1,000,000 of revenue and maintain that level through selling my personal capabilities. For the first two years I implemented this plan. My target market was financial institutions in the Greater Toronto Area, close to my home. The ideal client was a senior executive of a large financial institution, preferably someone with whom I had worked in the past. In many instances, I had known and worked with these executives for over a 15 to 20 year time frame. When I called on them, I received a warm greeting. When we began to explore business opportunities, they would ask about the size of our company. At that time, I had one employee, an administrative assistant. I could see them mentally calculating the size of project they were comfortable assigning to me. Usually, it was a project with a $40-50,000 budget. The maximum was about $100,000. It was often the type of project in which I had been involved when I first started in this business.
I realized that my past was my future. Clients were not going to entrust multi-million dollar projects to a one-man band. Throughout my career, I had been involved with some of the largest companies in the world and delivered very successful multi-million dollar projects. The complexity of this type of work and the opportunity to work directly with senior executives was extremely rewarding and leveraged my unique ability to help organizations redefine performance. To do the type of work that was most satisfying for me personally and brought out my unique ability, I was required to build a business. In 1997, I rewrote the Business Plan. The Vision became to build a multi-million dollar business primarily focused on large financial institutions in the US, Canada and internationally. Today, we are a multi-million dollar company and our clients include some of the largest financial institutions, professional service firms and corporations in the world.