Essential groundwork: Find your clarity
Welcome to first Now or Never blog post. Thank you for taking the time to join me and I hope this is the start of an interesting, inspiring and valuable series for you. Let’s dive right in to a topic that can benefit us all, no matter the stage or size of your business.
Finding clarity and confidence in the vision of your business.
By having a clear and compelling vision for your future and the courage to act on that vision, you’ve set one of the most valuable pieces of groundwork required for building a successful business, brand and life.
One of the stand-out attributes in successful small business owners is their crystalline vision of their goals and dreams. They can see what it looks like, they can confidently articulate it, and there is a distinct lack of worry about it turning out any other way. Not only do they know what they want, but they believe that they will achieve it. The result is a brand so strong, easily distinguished and readily accepted for who or what it is. Each choice that business owner has made has been educated and measured against their vision and goals.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that setting clear goals seems basic and obvious, but it’s surprisingly overlooked. Starting a business is exciting, fun and often reactive. You dive in head first and come up for air later when the dust settles. You react to each new problem as it arises and sometimes find yourself on a path you didn’t necessarily set out to take.
Having trouble articulating their business dreams and direction has been a common thread in my client consultations over the years. They know they want a successful business, but when pushed to describe it, they’re just not entirely sure what that looks like. And it’s those missing pieces of information that I need to help craft effective brand identities and that you need for creating a business that doesn’t just exist, but thrives. The clearer the picture you can paint, the more efficient you can be at building a business and life you love.
Clarity = direction, structure & mental ease.
The benefits of working on your clarity and confidence in your vision for your life and business are vast. Some advantages are:
- Provides structure and direction, allowing for quicker growth, greater focus and more mental ease.
- Stems the flow of superfluous information gathering and time wasting. You focus your energy and efforts only on the most valuable activities required to get you from A to B.
- Quicker, clearer decision making by always using your goals as a guidepost.
- Helps you develop your own sense of success and a way to track your progress.
- Less comparisonitis. You can see your future so clearly and it excites you so much that you’re more focused on creating it than worrying about others.
- Easier to create a strong brand and like-minded following when your messaging is clear and confident.
- Clarity helps provide excellent briefs and creative direction needed for hiring services like design and marketing.
So how well can you express your vision for your business and life? Are you confident to say it out loud? Do you know what it is you’re building towards? If I asked you to describe your dream business and life in detail, could you tell me without hesitation?
A moving target
Naturally your goals and vision will shift over time as new ideas or opportunities arise so use what you discovered in these activities as a floating guide. Nothing is set in stone, but it does give you direction, purpose, clarity and a deep understanding of yourself and your business desires.
Do the groundwork. Getting clear on your vision.
So how do you gain gain that level of clarity? For some it’s innate. It’s a built in skill that I am unashamedly jealous of. For others, like myself, who take a little time to discover what they truly want, here are some ideas I use myself and with my clients to help you discover the core desires you have for your life and business:
‘If you woke tomorrow’ activity
The purpose of this activity is to exercise your imagination and to explore the possibilities for your future that excite you from the core. It might sound a little removed from business and branding, but it’s a quick and valuable exercise for discovering what it is you really want and for developing a blueprint for the future. And frankly, it’s more fun than writing vision or purpose statements.
Lie in bed before sleep and consider: If you woke tomorrow and your working (and personal life) had improved, what would that look like? What can you see for yourself? What would be different from today to tomorrow? What is there less of or more of? Mentally walk through each stage of your day. What time do you wake up? How does your morning start? Are you working alone or in a team? Are you working at home or in a dedicated space? Are you still hands on in your business or have you take a step back? What does your office look like? Do you now have a bricks and mortar store? Where is it and what does it look like? What projects are you completing in this improved vision of your day? How much money are you making? Who do you talk to during the day? What emails are coming in? What is your relationship like with your clients? What do you do at lunch? You get the point!
Write down the differences you discovered.
If you’re a visual person like me, moodboards and/or Pinterest boards can be a great way to find hints about your desires. When you’re deep diving Pinterest, what are you drawn to again and again? Which images excite, motivate and inspire you the most?
Applying that to business: I have asked clients to create Pinterest boards for their dream business as a way of visually articulating their goals. One particular client was an online store owner. I gave her no limitations, just some guides like asking her to pin her ideal shop products and brands, branding designs that made her eyeballs and heart happy and images of what her shop front might look like if she had a store. After all the pinning I asked her to comb the board to find the common threads. She found that she was really drawn to much simpler branding design than she was currently using and that her products were also minimalist in style and design. Beiges and greens came up multiple times and her imaginary store fitout featured timber, clean lines and greenery. This gave her lots of insight into her direction and dream vision.
Some imagery ideas to help you get started: Your shop front, your dream office, ideal projects, your stationery, brands you would love to collaborate with, the magazine you’d like to be featured in, the outfit you’ll wear when you speak on stage at a business event, the house you can afford due to your business success, the holidays that motivate you to take action.
Work with a life coach
Still having a little trouble trying to focus in on your direction? Reach out.
For the first 6 years of my business I floated through with a fairly simple purpose and vision. Work for myself, work on projects I enjoy and make money doing so. I didn’t have a lot of indecision and it was all pretty clear to me. Then enter motherhood, a change of town, a new house and a completely new season to my life. Everything felt like it had flipped upside down. My style, priorities and desires all changed. Cue mid-life work crisis. I really needed help finding my direction again and that’s when I started working with Carly from Minimalista. She worked with me to help me rediscover what my key values are and helped me find a new vision of my working life. Sometimes we can’t do it on our own, so don’t feel ashamed to reach out.
Did these activities give you some insights into what you value, how you want your business and life to look and run?
Some possible discoveries you may have made: your ideal clients, your dream projects/products/services, your ultimate workspace, the ideal structure of your business, your income streams, your position in the company, possible expansion or price changes. IT might be more about how you would like to feel. For example, more ease, less stress, more confidence. The possibilities here are endless.
How to use your newfound clarity
So now you’re starting to find some clarity in the clutter, what now? Break it down and work backwards.
Take the information you’ve discovered and use it as a starting point for shaping and improving your brand’s core services, message and style and to tweak your day-to-day decisions to help improve your lifestyle.
WRITE IT DOWN
Document and describe the differences and desires you discovered (ideal clients, business structure, dream home/office/shop etc). List them down somewhere central (I have mine in Dropbox Paper) so you can come back to them regularly when you need direction, to make decisions, provide creative briefs or just to read on those off days where you’re not quite sure exactly what the hell it is you’re doing. List them in a way that makes most sense to you. For example, I have my goals and desired improvements broken up under the headings office, work (sub headings are clients, processes, income, feel, processes and offerings), home, health and experiences/relationships.
CREAT ACTION TASKS
For each individual item on the list, create actions and tasks to use as roadmap to get your from today to dream tomorrow. If you’re not sure how to get from A to B, you now know where you need to reach out for help or undertake some research on how to move forward.
Here’s an example of the process for a serviced based business example. From a branding perspective you can start to make tweaks to your messaging, style and delivery.
Service based business example.
Desire: You focused your dream clients down to those within the fashion, lifestyle and beauty industries who desire your particular style and service offering. (I’ve left this fairly general to try and be relatable to most of you, but the more specific you can be, the better).
– You could reach out for mutually beneficial collaborations with people in these industries to help boost your exposure.
– Visually, you could start weaving beauty, lifestyle and fashion into your social media more.
– You could audit your current brand design to assess if your current design will attract those types of clients.
Now, it’s over to you.
Reading this behemoth article is only the beginning. It’s time now to start. Dream the dreams, record them down and use the excitement you felt when creating your vision as motivation to take action. I do love that quote, ‘your dream is on the other side of fear’ but I also think that ‘your dreams are on the other side of you getting off your ass and taking action’ works too!
I hope this guide has helped inspire you to assess what is is you really want in both your business and personal life and how you might actively start turning it from a daydream into your reality. I’d love to hear if this helped you or answer any questions to may have. Join me on instagram or leave a comment below.