Photo by Ran Berkovich on Unsplash

The one thing you have to do to grow your business

I sat there listening intently to what he was saying with admiration.

The more I listened, the more captivated I was by the direction the company was taking. I had heard of it before, but after that interview I mentally made a note to watch closely the advancement of this company. (And well, if ever do have the opportunity, to participate in its growth.)

Elon Musk, the founder, CEO and the lead designer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), had just spent the 30 minutes with a well-known reporter explaining his vision and what he wanted to achieve with his company.

That vision is to enable humans to become a space-faring civilization and a multi-planet species by building a self-sustaining city on Mars.

Throughout the entire interview, among other things, one thing was particularly very clear and it struck a chord inside me.

He had a very clear and long term vision of what he wanted to achieve even long after his death .

That vision can be credited with a number of milestones that the company has achieved. And as a global leader in commercial launch services, SpaceX is dramatically reducing the cost of access to space, the very first step in making life on Mars a reality in our lifetime.

And whether you agree with his vision or not, his example also raises a few important questions that every entrepreneur should ask.

Do you have a vision for where you would like your company to be?

How far does your vision go? Is it 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Or even 100 years?

Your vision is powerful tool that can be used to guide the business for results that are far from mediocre.

How big your vision is will determine the effort you put in your business and it will set you up for results that will reflect your vision.

If you don’t have a vision for at least even the year, you will end up missing a lot of opportunities that you could have prepared for and at the end of the year, and you will be left with results that are only mediocre.

No successful person or business, in whatever area of life, can operate without Vision.

And yet so many businesses do, year in and year out. No goals, and with no plan to get to where they want to be. They have forgotten their ‘why’. Why they began the business in the first place. This has made them slowly drift away from their purpose and ended up giving them average results.

If you want to take your business to the next level of success…

You have to become a visionary leader. You have to commit to the long-term mission.

This does not mean bringing your imaginative mind only at the start of your business or only after a certain amount of time.

It is something that you have to do EVERYDAY.

You need to be able to solve the short term problems while still looking at the bigger picture in order to inspire change in your industry and possibly leave your legacy. Doing this calls for discipline and creativity.

Having a long-term vision has great benefits to your company. Three of them that I can identify are.

Your vision will dictate how you act and behave today. If you can see and hold yourself to the big picture your actions will depict and reflect what you want to achieve. As long as you know what you want to achieve you can fuel yourself with the drive needed to run your business. In the long run improving your results.
To grow your business you must have a team and include others. And when you have a team you will have to delegate. Communication is the key to delegation and vision helps you communicate the “why” of any tasks, assignments, or projects that you delegate to others. Just like you are driven by passion, others are driven by passion too. By understanding the “big picture” people get motivated by understanding how their work contributes to the vision.
A growing business needs to be innovative. Innovation is brought about by new ideas. As an entrepreneur you get a lot of ideas, having your long-term vision in mind will tell you which ideas will be effective to grow your business.

How then, do you become a visionary leader?

Well I have noticed some traits of visionary leaders. Four of them include.

They think of what everyone dares not to think of

When Elon Musk founded SpaceX for the purpose of colonizing mars, at that time, many people would have pointed out that was unthinkable.

That mindset, one that lets you dare to think of what no one else can, has its benefits for your business.

This type of thinking fosters a leader to adopt a pattern of thinking that explores both the worst-case scenarios and best case scenarios and envision how they can be addressed.

Being able to see the possible hurdles, in detail, that their business can meet, is a quality that visionary leaders have.

When you dare to think of what no one else can, gives you the ability to intentionally anticipate all possibilities — good and bad.

They look at the big picture

Visionary leaders understand the fact that it is not about meeting their needs immediately. It is much much more than that.

They see the big picture and create a purpose that benefits a whole lot of people or possibly, even the entire world. Leaders understand that the impact they can have supersedes their personal agenda and lifestyle.

Bob Taylor, CEO of Taylor guitars, upon realizing that guitar making has placed an enormous shortage on certain types of woods needed in the industry, has taken measures to establish plantations and promote wood sustainability that will ensure the longevity of the company well after his life time.

It takes someone with extraordinary vision and sense of responsibility to expend the time and financial resources in order to achieve a goal that is well beyond his lifetime.

They are not afraid of failing

As mentioned earlier, visionary leaders see the big picture. They see possible obstacles. They know there would be challenges along the way. They know they might have temporary setbacks. But they also know the great value of fulfilling the vision.

So they don’t give up. They choose to learn from failures and refine their process in order to succeed. Such leaders are willing to discover new paths and become searchlights for others. This is the secret of their success.

They have developed the right mindset

Another sign of true visionaries is their positive attitude. This is the most fundamental attribute of visionaries.

They move forward regardless of the criticism that they receive. They approach their projects with courage and commitment because they understand that they have an opportunity to make a difference. As such, they act as positive energizers; that is, they recharge people with positive energy.

Conclusion

Becoming a visionary leader is not easy. It takes both patience and relentless forward movement. But it will be worth it once you adopt their mentality.

When you start living in your vision it becomes easy to turn struggle around by looking at ‘what you can do with what you have’.

Like Elon Musk, you can take your business into a whole different Mesosphere, if you turn yourself into a visionary leader.

What is your take on this? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 277,994+ people.

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