Although office workers at large and small businesses still banged out letters and memos on electric typewriters during the 1970s, word processors were starting to emerge. Dr. An Wang, co-founder of Wang Laboratories, had the vision to create some of the more popular word processors of the decade. Ten years later, when personal computers emerged, replacing word processors, Dr. Wang failed to see how quickly PCs were emerging and jumped aboard the market shift too late.
Vision Won’t Allow Creative Small Business Owners to Rest on Laurels
Unlike Dr. Wang and other former-giants in the computer industry, Bill Gates, a young Harvard University drop-out, saw that computer software was where the real progress would take place over the coming years. He created Microsoft, started developing and selling computer software packages and licenses to major corporations, schools and consumers and stepped into business history. He was right.
But even the sales of computer software would slow more than a decade later as the Internet emerged. As he had been years before when he launched the MAC, Steve Jobs was ready. People stood in line to get Apple’s iPhone, an electronic device that connected to personal computers and the Internet, allowing owners to download music, movies, get weather updates, directions and more with the click of a button.
Clearly, it takes vision to foresee major market and industry shifts. It takes vision to know how long it will be before hot products start to cool off. Creative small business owners who have vision are always creating, looking for the next thing. They know to rest on their laurels is to invite the long, slow march toward the decline of a small business.
Trust Instincts and Inner Promptings to Thrive as a Small Business Owner
Believe it or not, it’s not necessary to manage teams to exercise vision as a small business owner. It is necessary to trust your instincts and inner promptings. One of the best ways to do this is to take calculated risks. Follow inner guidance and make a new business decision. Measure the results of your decision, watching where it leads.
For example, if you feel guided to open a record store, you might decide to get a one year lease at a location heavily trafficked by college students, add Internet hook-ups so students can work on school papers at one of the five to six computers you rent at the back of your store. Rather than just sell CDs (which are slowly fading) you could also sell prepaid calling cards with ringtones, music magazines, iPods, iPod accessories, headphones and do in-store interviews and CD autograph sessions with local and regional music artists. Create a website for your record store and set up message boards where store visitors can discuss concerts, new music, etc. online as well as download digital music at reduced rates. Start letting artists play two to three songs live at your store, and you might become the “place to be.”
Inner Vision is a Key to Your Future
Your mind really is a huge part of your ticket to a marvelous future. Confidence, measurable risk taking and vision can help you achieve your loftiest dreams. Inner vision can allow you to see where you’re going, what’s ahead. Seneca may have said it best when he said, “To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.”
It also takes vision to lead the people that make up your creative small business. These people are looking to you for guidance and leadership. They want to believe that you know which direction to move in, leading the entire organization toward greater success. As Ralph Lauren said, “A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”
You’re going to need vision throughout the duration of your career as a creative small business owner. Continue to use vision after you step down as chairperson of your company and you can enter a new and rewarding phase of your life.
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