Creating a three-year vision

vision imageWhenever business people talk about creating a strategic plan they typically attach a timeframe. In most businesses, three years is long enough to take advantage of opportunities and figure out ways to deal with challenges. It provides enough time for long-range planning and setting strategic goals. It is also short enough that you can start working on them right away.

A vision is different from a plan. A vision is a picture of something you want to do before you start working on it. Develop a list of items that you might want to begin working on within the next three years. Go through the list slowly. Ask yourself what is the value of each item. How will it improve your business? Does it pass the “smell” test or whatever you call that gut reaction to whether something is reasonable? Do you have the resources to accomplish this item? You may find that creating a spreadsheet will be helpful. Some of your items may require the same resources and can be grouped together.

As you go through each item, you will find that some just don’t belong in your vision. You may also think of other things that should be on the list but you forgot about until now. Talk this over with someone. A second set of eyes and ears can make a big difference. When you have produced your list of things you want to address in the next three years, go back and write a one sentence statement for each item that describes the project in very concrete terms that can be measured, such as I’m going to get 100 new customers, or my website will get 100 visits per day.


–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest

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