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Do you know where you’re going?

There is a real temptation for small businesses to skip the whole ‘vision’ setting thing and just get on with the cash flow management, the stock control, HR issues and day-to-day operations.

It’s like starting the car and driving without any clue where you’re going. The car might be serviced and running well, but if you haven’t thought about your destination, you could end up anywhere.

Setting a vision doesn’t have to be complicated. What do you envisage your business to become, or achieve, in the future? It can be a lofty aspiration or an attainable goal, but a vision should inspire you, focus you, and motivate you.

Stephen Covey author of “7 habits of highly effective people” says we should “begin with the end in mind”.

It’s based on the principle you first have to have a mental image of what you want to be before you can have the physical creation of it. There is an idea before there is an action.

Some years ago keynote speaker Tom O’Toole, the “Baker of Beechworth”, spoke in Dalby.

By his own admission, Tom O’Toole wasn’t a business mastermind. He was a baker. He bought a run-down milk-bar in country Victoria and turned it in to a business success story.

In his own words “I‘m just a baker. Someone who happens to know the taste of deprivation, failure and despair. A man who knows what poverty and being illiterate feels like. And who also happens to know how to turn a failing little bakery in an isolated and dying country town with a population of 3,000 into a company with an annual turnover in excess of $12 million, serving over one million customers per year.”

Tom’s vision was to turn the Beechworth Bakery into a tourist destination. It became one of the highest earning single bakery retailers in Australian history. And there are now five other bakeries just like it. Of course there was some good planning and hard work that made it happen. But he began with the end in mind.

When you turn the key and start the engine of your business each day, do you know where you’re going?

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Megan James

About the author

After growing up on a cotton and grain property near Dalby, Megan went on to complete her Bachelor of Business, and spent more than 12 years in Brisbane and Newcastle working in public relations and communications roles in Govt-owned, private and consulting businesses across a range of industries including energy, health, property development and charity before returning ‘home’ to Dalby. READ MORE

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