How to Be a Visionary Thinker
When we entrepreneurs talk about "the dream," we are not talking about a fantasy, like winning the lottery. We are talking about the things that really matter to us and what we are willing to do to make our dream a reality. It's one thing to be a visionary and have a creative idea that you're really passionate about, and another to have an idea that's also practical and strategic. A true and viable entrepreneurial dream is something that we are excited and passionate about—and will also be very profitable.
"The ideal professional dream is to be paid well for doing what you love," says Marcia Wieder, CEO of Dream University. Wieder is a 14-time published author, personal transformation expert, former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and has been the catalyst for thousands of individuals turning their dreams into realities over the past 20 years.
"I think that sometimes people forget that we need to marry the two ideals, passion and strategy, to achieve success," Wieder says.
And for entrepreneurs who aren't bringing home the paycheck of their dreams, it's difficult to decide if they should abort the mission altogether or continue to shape and mold their dream to keep the hope and business alive.
"It's a tricky decision," Wieder says. "In my experience most of us either give up on our dreams or compromise them down to what we think is realistically possible. The alternative is to gain clarity on what we really want and explore other ways to make the dream a reality."
To do this, Wieder suggests what she calls a Passion Quest.
"Take a weekend, or a whole week if necessary, to explore who you are now and who you want to be," she suggests. "Ask yourself questions like, 'What is it that I love? How do I want my life to be? And, what am I willing to do about it?'"
Wieder's current dream is to give people tools and support to achieve their vision as she strives to see one million dreams be realized in 2013 through her Million Dreams Campaign.
"The whole process of actually living your dream starts with one very specific action step," Wieder says. "Sharing your dream gets it out of your head and puts it out to the world—and that changes everything."
What is your business dream? How do you put it out to the world? Are you able to articulate what you do succinctly and with clarity? Wieder believes that in order to make your business dream come true you must master the skill of enrollment.
"In business, enrolling is about sharing your vision in a way that inspires others to join you, hire you, or even invest in you," she says.
Wieder knows that even if someone believes that they cannot afford your product or services, that belief will often disappear when you are able to speak about your dream like a true visionary.
"A visionary has a big dream, articulates it with clarity so people get it, and expresses it with passion so others can feel it and get excited with them," Wieder says. "Most importantly a true visionary has mastered the skill to inspire, invite and enroll others."
When you do this, people will magically find the money to invest in your product or service—or to invest in you.
Here is Marcia Wieder's four-step process. Do this and you will be well on your way to achieving your business dream like a true visionary.
1. Establish Rapport
People have to like and trust you before they will do business with you. Once you gain their trust, make sure to ask your prospect questions like, "What else do you need?" And, "what would make your life easier?" Find out what they are dreaming about and even suffering about. How can you make their life better in some way? Remember, in the enrollment process you are inspiring people, not selling to them.
2. Build Value
People need to believe that you are delivering more value than they are paying for. To build value you must understand what your customers want. Be willing to ask good questions, take the pulse of your customers across the board, and don't assume that you know what your people need. Create surveys in social media, talk to people, and ask your customers about their needs.
3. Overcome Obstacles
You are in the business of making your customer's dreams come true. By building more value and rapport you will quickly eliminate the obstacles that stand between you and your future customer. Make it easy for people to say yes to you by encouraging them to share their ideas with you. Explore all of the possibilities, which includes having the guts to ask why if someone says no to your offer. This can create a more meaningful, rapport-building conversation that may open the door to other opportunities. Be clear about what you are asking for and make sure you are not asking for too much too soon.
4. Secure an Agreement
Don't leave a discussion without determining the next step. Is it a complimentary consultation, an introduction to a decision-maker, or is it time for a contract? Always be very clear about the deliverables and stand by the value of your offerings.
"Extraordinary things happen when we take action on what matters to us the most," says Wieder. "Do what you love, value your gifts, charge what you are worth, have powerful enrollment conversations—and repeat often!"
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.