When you think of a business plan, you probably think of pages of text and graphs and boring stats and numbers. You know, the kind of thing you’d nervously push across the desk to a bank officer in hopes of securing a loan.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything I like less than to have to piece together that kind of stiff, formal business plan. Luckily, I have better tools—and so do you!
The Business Plan That Isn’t
What if you could plan your business with fun, colorful photos, and inspirational quotes and phrases instead? What would that do for your daily motivation?
Well, that’s exactly what a vision board will do for you. By collecting images that represent your dreams and aspirations, you’ll have a constant reminder of where it is you’re going, and even why you started your business in the first place. Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids as they’re growing up, or have enough money to finally take that vacation to Europe. What about that house in the country you’ve always dreamed of owning, or the sporty little car that’s been calling your name.
None of these things will find a place in a traditional business plan, but they’re perfect for your vision board. More importantly, they’re critical to your long-term success. Without your dreams, it’s nearly impossible to remain focused and on track when it comes to business growth, but with these reminders, it’s easy!
Why Vision Boards Work
Does all this feel pretty woo to you? You’re not alone. Lots of us were raised to believe that business had to be all about numbers and stats and that there was no room for fun when it comes to making money.
I completely disagree!
In fact, some of the most successful people in the world routinely use vision boards to help clarify their dreams and keep their goals top of mind. And that’s precisely why vision boards work so well. They allow you to easily see exactly what it is you’re working toward, whether it’s a next level promotion, shiny new car, a big, beautiful home, or an exotic vacation.
By keeping visual reminders within sight, you’re constantly aware of your “why,” and that’s a powerful motivator, no matter what you’re working on.
Of course, no banker is going to accept your vision board as proof of viability and give you a loan based on it. But when it comes to clarifying your dreams, pinpointing your real goals, and getting excited about your business again, you just can’t beat a personal, colorful vision board. Give it a try. You might just surprise yourself!
5 WAYS TO USE A VISION BOARD
You can use a vision board in a variety of ways, depending on your needs. In fact, you might even want to have more than one vision board, to keep your dreams for the various areas of your life and business clear.
This vision board is where you’ll keep track of why and how you do what you do. You started your business for a reason—your “why.” But somewhere along the way, many of us lose sight of this goal.
A business planning vision board can help keep you on track.
On it, you’ll keep images that represent your ideal business, such as working from the beach, retiring your spouse, speaking in front of a large crowd, or even a big fancy office if that’s your thing.
Where do you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years? That’s not just a question from a bad job interview, it’s a critical consideration for anyone who wants to live a life of purpose and meaning, and a vision board is a perfect tool for staying on track.
This vision board—like all of them—is in a constant state of change. As your life goals change and grow, so will your vision board. Maybe you no longer want to live in Paris. That’s ok. Replace the city of lights with a relaxing mountaintop retreat if that’s your thing.
But do keep your life goals vision board updated and refer to it each time you have to make a major decision. It will help clarify the direction you need to take to achieve your life’s dreams.
Heading off on an epic vacation with the family? Don’t leave your journey to chance. Capture all your “must see” destinations on a vision board so you don’t miss anything.
Even better, invite your kids and spouse to join you, and create a fun planning tool the entire family can use. The kids will be excited about your trip, and you’ll be sure everyone gets to see and do everything they hoped for. By planning ahead, you’ll ensure everyone has the epic vacation of their dreams.
Pinterest has built an entire business around what amounts to a digital vision board—much of it devoted to home décor. If you’re in the market for a new home, or simply remodeling the one you have, then a vision board is a great way to organize your plans.
Snip photos of the style of home you love, color combos to try, landscaping ideas, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Keeping your home-buying vision board close at hand will save you time in your search by reminding you exactly what you’re looking for.
Every business has an ideal client, but this seemingly simple thing can be incredibly difficult to define. A vision board will help.
Is your client male or female? Young or old? Successful or not? Does he or she have kids or a home or a business? Is she confident or timid? Athletic or overweight?
Create a collection of images that represent your ideal client and refer to it each time you are tempted (as we all are) to sign a client who is less than ideal.
HOW TO MAKE A VISION BOARD
Creating a vision board is easy—and fun! You can create yours with paper and other art materials, or digitally using one of many online apps, Canva, Pinterest, or even Evernote. While digital boards are definitely more portable, physical boards are often more inspiring. There’s just something about engaging all your senses that make a tangible vision board more effective.
To create your board, start by collecting images that represent your biggest goals and dreams. Photos from a favorite family vacation, ads for an expensive dress you want to buy, a playbill for a Broadway show you want to see, or even a dollar figure representing your desired bank account balance are all good ways to visualize your goals. Add them to your new vision board.
Next, be sure to include phrases and quotes that inspire you and keep you going even when things get tough. Sometimes a few words of wisdom from someone you admire is all it takes to get you back on track after a rough spot.
Finally, remember this: Your vision board is a living document. Your dreams and goals will change. Some you will achieve and remove from your board to make room for bigger and better dreams. Some you will decide don’t matter so much anymore, and you’ll trade them for some others. It’s your vision, and it’s completely up to you what dreams you choose to follow—just be sure that you do follow them.
Ready to get started on building your vision board? Click on the image below and download the free Canva vision board template.