You may not think of your business this way, but as a business coach, I think of your business as a work of art, and I think of you as the artist. Hold your scoffing and eye rolling for a minute and go with me on this one.
Instead of painting, drawing, working with clay or sculpting marble, you're creating your business work of art from things like your employees, your company image, your company culture, the services you provide and how you deliver them. And just like other artists who tend to create artworks in their own unique styles, your business work of art is a creative reflection of your values, personality, and your vision for what you want your business artwork to be.
Are you still with me? Ok, great!
Now I want you to think about the business art work that you’ve created so far. Step back and appraise it like you were looking at it in an art museum. Got the picture? (Pun intended). Do you like what you see? Is it everything that you hoped it would be? Are there some rough places that still need some refinement, or is it way off target from the work of art that you hoped to create?
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 equals random scribbles on a piece of paper and 10 equals a masterpiece, how would you rate your business artwork today compared to the work of art you hoped you’d create? Go ahead, write down a number, I’ll wait.
Got a number? If you're like most contractors that I know, you probably rated your business artwork somewhere in the 4 to 7 range, which, to me, means “not bad, but not necessarily a masterpiece either.” But you're not finished yet. Are you? Artists routinely tweak, and sometimes completely redo, their artwork until they create exactly finished piece of art that they want. And you should do this too.
The 4 Tips!
I want to give you few tips on how you sculpt your business into the masterpiece that you want it to be and achieve great personal satisfaction as a result.
1. Envision your business the way you’d really like it to be
In my opinion failing to envision the business that you’d really like to create is the single biggest factor holding owners back from creating the masterpiece that they really want. Every self-help book and guru are clear on this one important fact that Walt Disney summed up well: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” So first envision your masterpiece. So be bold and dream a little. Make your masterpiece vision something that you’re excited about.
Ok, I can hear the little voice in your head saying “There’s no way you can create a masterpiece of this business!” Don’t listen! Don’t let the problems and issues in your business today blind you to what’s possible!
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Think about your business and life as it is today.
- What are the things that you really enjoy about your business that you want to make sure that you carry forward into your vision?
- What are you unhappy about with your business as it is today? Where are you settling for less than you really want? What do you want to eliminate from your current business as you create your business masterpiece? What do you want instead?
- Imagine that its 10 years from now and you’re amazingly happy about your business and life.
- What is your business like? What did you create? What did you accomplish? How big do you want it to be? What services will you offer? How much profit will you make? Describe the culture that you want to have in your business. What is your ideal job description in your business? What is it about the business that you are so happy about?
- What kind of life will you have when all the things you just described are reality? What about your life makes you so happy?
- Take the answers to these questions and write a short vision statement or draw a picture that describes the masterpiece you're creating. Do you love it? If not, keep reframing and redefining it until you do.
2. Hang your masterpiece vision sketch up where you can see it every day
Keep it top of mind. Use it to make decisions about your business. Keep your eyes open for the unexpected things (ideas, people, resources, etc.) that will come to you seemingly “out of the blue” that will be just what you need for your masterpiece.
3. Compare your current business to your masterpiece vision and create a punch list of the gaps
Using your vision as a template, identify the gaps between the business you want and the one you currently have?
- Make a punch list of everything that you will need to change to sculpt your business into the masterpiece that you want it to be.
- You may have a fairly long punch list so prioritize the items. Focus on no more than three to five items first that will make the greatest impact in the shortest time. If you take any more than three to five items from your punch list, you're likely to get overwhelmed and stop trying.
- Take the remaining items on your punch list and schedule them for a future date. A good way to do this is to create a long range (2 to 5-year) calendar. Break each year into quarters and assign the items on your punch list to a quarter based on when you think they will need to be done.
Now you have a rough “paint by numbers” plan for creating your business masterpiece!
4. Revisit your masterpiece vision sketch quarterly and commit to the next steps
Once a quarter, spend some time looking over your masterpiece vision.
- Ask yourself: Does it need any additional tweaking? Am I still taking full responsibility for creating it the way I want it to be? What progress have I made? What do I need to do next?
- Take the next steps.
You can sculpt your business
There’s a quote I like that I want you to keep in mind as you work to create your business masterpiece:
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
I know that you can sculpt your business into masterpiece of your dreams. I've seen it happen many times. The key is that you have to take full responsibility for your creation, use your masterpiece vision as the template, regularly asses your progress and question if vision is still right for you and be persistent in pursuing what you want. If you do these things, creating the business masterpiece you really want will become inevitable.