Ready to take your business to the next level? Start by getting in touch with your inner kindergartner: Gather scissors, glue, paper, and a stack of magazines, and put together a vision board. This is a collage representing what you aim to achieve as an entrepreneur.
“A vision board can help you create the overall big vision for your business and connect with what it is you want to manifest,” says Jennifer Lee, author of The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success.
Vision boards have grown in popularity in recent years, ever since Oprah began touting them. Some enthusiasts insist that all you need to do is create a board and then sit back and let it work its magic. However, vision board veterans recommend that you go through a specific process to turn your vision into reality.
Here are six steps for building a great vision board:
1. Clarify. Before you dive in, spend some time thinking about what you really want for your business. Do you want to expand? Solve a problem? Focus your efforts? Think beyond financial targets or sales goals. Try to picture exactly what your business will be like at its most successful. What kind of customers will you serve? What kinds of products or services will you sell? How will you spend your day? What will your space look like? (Need help? Download Lee’s free visualization guide in MP3 format.)
2. Go with your gut. As you collect images for your vision board, follow your intuition: If a photo in a magazine stirs something in you, cut it out. If you come across an image online that you love, print it out. If something in the real world catches your eye, take a snapshot with your smartphone or camera and print it out. Don’t worry if these images don’t seem directly related to your business. Just start collecting.
3. Don’t be literal. Don’t spend too much time searching for images that literally represent your goals. Say you’d like to earn more money. Don’t just look for a picture of a wad of cash; instead, look for images that demonstrate what “financial success” would mean for you or how your business would thrive financially. The idea is to open your eyes to possibilities you haven’t already considered.
4. Think “how” as well as “what.” Dr. Neil Farber, a physician and researcher who’s looked at psychology research relating to visualization tools, encourages business owners make “action boards” rather than vision boards. “Don’t just include the pictures of the outcome. Include the where, what, when, and why, and how this will occur,” he advises. “Visualization coupled with an action plan will get you closer to your goals and dreams faster.”
Farber cites research in which athletes were more successful when they imagined themselves training rather than winning. “Visualizing the process and how you will actively participate is helpful,” he explains. “But there are several important studies that suggest that simply relying on visioning an outcome may result in less success.”
5. Sort, group, glue, and display. To assemble your collage, sort your images around themes, words, colors, or specific goals. (Discard any that no longer appeal to you.) Arrange the pictures on a sheet of paper to create an image you love, then glue them in place. Once completed, post your vision board in a place where you will see it regularly.
6. Get busy. Enjoy the vision board process, but don’t get too hung up on making a “perfect” vision board. A vision board will help you focus, but you still have to do the work! As Lee notes, a vision board is really just “a guidepost or a road map to keep on taking the steps forward to make it real.”
Photo courtesy bmevans80.