This content is sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks, but all opinions are my own.
When you hear the term vision board, what is the first thing that comes to mind? No matter how you feel about vision boards, I bet you never imagined creating one to help grow your business. Until this year, I hadn’t either. A few months ago I was sitting with a fellow blogger congratulating her on her success over the past year. To my surprise, she told me that she included several milestones on her vision board last year and that led to many accomplishments.
Never heard of a vision board? Let me break it down for you. A vision board is a tool one uses to help clarify and concentrate on specific goals. It relies on the power of visualization to help you manifest your vision into reality. Because studies have shown that visualization can channel your subconscious mind and motivate you to work harder toward your goals, a vision board is the perfect tool to help you achieve what you dream.
Even as an entrepreneur, I never thought about making a vision board for my business until recently. But after chatting with many people in my community, I almost feel late to the game. There’s no time like the present, they say, so this year I am creating a vision board to propel my business forward, and you can too!
How to Set Realistic Goals
At the end of every year, you should set goals for your business to achieve in the coming year(s). Some of these goals may be quantifiable, such as increasing sales by 10%, while others may be personal goals within your business, like implementing a four-day workweek. Goals are essential, but they must also be realistic and obtainable. For example, I wouldn’t recommend forecasting a 100% increase in sales when your business typically grows by 10% each year. Looking at your numbers and knowing your company’s financial position will help you set goals you can achieve.
During each fourth quarter, I use QuickBooks to run a YTD report for the current year and the previous one. This will not only show me my numbers for this year but also allow me to compare my growth or decline to the year before. These reports help me to set quantifiable quarterly and annual goals for the following year.
Unlike a report, however, a vision board balances realistic goals and big dreams. Your board allows you to list your current goals while providing a landscape to the ultimate long-term goals you are working toward.
How to Create a Vision Board
Creating a vision board is not as difficult as it may seem. You don’t have to be an artist or DIY master to make one for yourself. First, I recommend that you review your list of business goals to see which ones you want to include on your board. If you have a small team or work for yourself, it may make sense to add some personal goals that relate to your business to the board as well. For example, you may want to take two vacations this year or hire more help to have more free time. Once you know what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year, find photos or text to represent those goals.
I started by flipping through magazines that relate to my business. Then I cut out header text and titles that made an impact on me and added them to the board as inspiration for the whole year. You can use printed numbers to represent an increase in sales or customers. Once I thumbed through the magazines, I turned to Pinterest, where I searched, took screenshots, and printed out images to add to my vision board. Keep in mind that not every goal needs to be represented on your vision board; focus on the biggest and most significant goals for your business.
Once you’ve zeroed in on which goals to include, get a poster board or display board and add all of your images to it. They can be arranged in a collage or more uniform fashion, whatever you choose. Once your board is complete, display it in your office or where you will see it on a regular basis.
Track Your Progress
Ultimately, your goals are to grow your business, increase sales and profits, and possibly even lower expenses. So now that you have all these incredible visual goals planned out for the year, how do you know if you are achieving them?
I keep a close eye on my finances every month. QuickBooks is an easy-to-use tool and the perfect way to track my financial progress. Every month, I make sure my income is updated and send invoices to any customers whom I have yet to bill. The software links business bank accounts and credit cards to sync the data. It pulls in all of my expenses and income so that they are ready to be categorized. Plus, you can use the QuickBooks app to keep up to date with all things financial, even when you aren’t at your desk. Running reports, invoicing clients, and recording payments are now only a few taps away.
On the back of your vision board, make a list of all of your goals and check in periodically to see how you are doing. Cross off goals as you accomplish them and hone in on targets that need more attention.
Are you a vision board fanatic, or is this your first year to create one? I would love to hear about your success from creating a board—drop me a comment below!