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You’ve got to dream BIG

Having a vision can take your business forward far faster than expected but it is still achieved by taking an incremental approach, says Brett Davidson of FP Advance

I’m definitely a believer in trying to dream big. Life is just more exciting if you are going after something that forces you to stretch a bit.

On the other hand, sometimes dreaming big feels unrealistic or even impossible from where you are right now. The challenge (as with all these things) is to strike the right balance and also to focus on what ‘big’ is for you.

Step by step approach

I did some business planning work with a client just over a year ago and they were really in the thick of it. There was just so much to work on to improve the business, that along with all the usual demands of client work, a big vision didn’t feel even remotely achievable. So for the year one business plan we just went for incremental growth and set a five-year growth target that felt within reach (in this case about £1m of turnover).

However, one year on, with a lot more things working effectively the new plan has a five-year growth target of £5m. That’s a mighty big leap in just 12 months. Why the change?

I’m not sure if it was Bill Gates who said this (so forgive me Bill if it wasn’t you); “We overestimate what we can achieve in the short term but underestimate what we can achieve in the long term.”

As you and your business take the next steps toward the horizon (so to speak), you can see just that little bit further and this is how the vision thing works. On a day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month basis the challenge is to keep your ambition and your impatience in check. Just do the next thing that needs doing and don’t focus too much on the results (there will be a time to do that later). Business is 10% strategy and 90% execution as they say. So focus on the execution of your business plan and hold monthly progress to plan meetings to keep that focus.

By taking a step-by-step approach you will be amazed what you can achieve year on year. If you’ve ever tried this approach you will know that others will see you as some sort of champion, able to magically transform your business. However, at no point in the process does it ever feel like that for you – so don’t keep waiting for that feeling to arrive, just plough on and keep doing the right things.

That elusive feeling of success

Progress is messy. Success never feels like success is supposed to, but don’t be fooled. Often all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are there, they just need to be arranged properly to complete the picture you have in your mind’s eye.

So dream as big as you can for now, that’ll be good enough. By having a goal that will stretch you, you allow yourself to ask better questions about what will be required and what you and your team will have to do to make it happen. In and of itself that is a giant step in the right direction.

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