#15: Paint Your Picture

From The 30 Best Business Practices of All Time, published by PROFITguide.com: Canada's trusted resource for entrepreneurs and innovative executives

Written by PROFIT staff

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Where do you want your company to be in three to five years? Do you know how much revenue you expect to be making by then? How many employees you’ll have? What kinds of clients you’ll be dealing with? If you don’t have the foggiest idea, chances are you may end up exactly where you are right now—or somewhere worse.

Creating a vision for your company is practically a prerequisite for sustainable growth. The Painted Picture is a great tool for capturing on paper the future state of your business, because it unleashes the reality that you want to create—rather than what reality will allow you to create.

Brian Scudamore created his first Painted Picture in 1998 as he sat on the dock of his parent’s cottage. The founder and CEO of Vancouver-based 1-800-GOT-JUNK? picked a date five years away, then wrote down exactly how he envisioned his company would look, feel and act on that day in every aspect, from the revenue he expected to be making right down to the way the company trucks would look.

“It’s a purely visionary process without restrictions,” says Scudamore. “You can’t get caught up in the €˜how’ of what you want to achieve; the Painted Picture just focuses on articulating a vision of what things would be like if you achieved everything you can imagine.”

As such, a Painted Picture is highly motivational for an entrepreneur. It’s also a valuable planning and decision-making tool for anyone involved in building a business. Scudamore shared his vision with staff at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, and together they reverse-engineered how they’d get there through strategic planning.

“Once people start to believe in the picture, you can begin to see it coming together,” says Scudamore. His first Painted Picture became reality three months before the target date, and the company is on track to realize its next Painted Picture by its December 31, 2016, deadline.

However, working toward such ambitious goals will test the mettle of your team. “Not everyone will buy in necessarily, and sometimes people will leave because of it,” says Scudamore. But remember this: if you don’t have a dream, you can’t make it come true.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com