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Envisioning the End

August 17, 2011

Ten years ago when my first company was in a steady growth mode, I remember a business associate suggesting I read The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It written by Michael Gerber. The first chapter highlights the essence of why most businesses fail which is the entrepreneur believes her knowledge of the technical work of the business qualifies her to run and grow a business which is simply not true. Gerber states, “Knowing the technical work of a business becomes an entrepreneur’s greatest single liability.” In essence, just because I was an experienced and successful event planner didn’t mean I could create a million dollar event planning business on my own.

The biggest lesson I learned from the book was the importance of looking 10 years into the future to envision my company and then working backward through time to plan for that vision to become a reality. How many employees would I have? How many clients did I serve? What were our annual sales? What did we excel at? The point being if you envision your company in ten years to have 10 employees located in two locations with 100 clients and annual sales of 2 million dollars, you’ll see the end result and realize to accomplish that outcome you need to work backward in time creating annual plans to accomplish that growth.

Too often entrepreneurs start their businesses without a comprehensive vision and plan. They become successful doing the technical side of the business but they aren’t entrepreneurial enough to sustain and grow the company because they never planned properly. I’m sure Oprah could have only been the best interviewer on television but she wouldn’t have achieved extreme success without envisioning and creating Harpo Productions, a production company which in 2002 had 70 employees earning over $300 million in sales. Her entrepreneurial accomplishments didn’t come only from her natural talent and technical expertise; it came from a large vision and a detailed plan.

Today’s blog is to encourage you to envision the growth of your company today. What do you want it to look like in 10 years? Give it thoughtful consideration. Realize you, and you alone, will not be able to achieve all the success you envision. It will take staff, financing, resources and a plan to get you there. Fulfilling your vision doesn’t have to be overwhelming or impossible, but it does require backing up your end vision with yearly plans and goals.

As these beautiful summer days continue to inspire us, take some peaceful time to envision your entrepreneurial dream in ten years. Dream big. Dream real. Then institute a pragmatic plan to achieve that specific vision.

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