Most people misunderstand and underestimate what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It’s not about money. It’s about having a vision and a courageous spirit. I remember when I started Paradiem in 2007. It was very clear that I was being called to something bigger than what I had been doing. Although the vision was clear to me, it was hard to articulate to others.
Like David facing Goliath, I left Charles Schwab with a clear vision in my mind and a fearless spirit that it would work. All I had was six months’ worth of cash, and in my mind, that was enough.
A good visionary is needed in every business. Their fearless spirit is not always easily understood, but should not be stifled. Businesses thrive and grow from a great vision.
There are three vital parts of a vision that every gifted leader should bring to their company.
The first is the vision itself. The visionary is capable of seeing the possible in the seemingly impossible. They look at the future and see things that no one else can see, and through that, can bring an excitement and a clarity that many can rally behind.
My vision of helping families use generosity to build a legacy that will ripple through eternity has attracted incredible people to our team at Paradiem. I’ve seen the same in other companies. The ones that are the most successful have a very clear vision for where they are going.
In business, oftentimes, we are asked what our 5‑ to 10‑year plan is. A plan is not the same as a vision. A 5‑ to 10‑year plan is usually something tied to a financial direction, while a vision will drive something so much bigger.
Some of the greatest visionaries have the hardest time pinning down a 5‑ to 10‑year plan. They don’t necessarily need a map to follow. The greatest visionaries I know are ready to take a detour off the expected path, in order to fulfill the vision. Sometimes the greatest adventures occur in the unexpected.
Second is the visionary’s willingness to take risks. Launching something no one else completely understands might sound insane to some. But to those of us who are living it every single day, the risks seem small.
As visionaries, we must acknowledge our tolerance for risk can have a negative impact on our employees and our families. We need to be careful how we communicate and live inside of the environment we create.
It’s not uncommon to find an entrepreneur with a great vision holding on to excess debt or making payroll with the credit card. Although they clearly see the vision, the cashflow may be slow to come in. I’ve been guilty of this myself at times. You must be willing to recognize when the risks are irrational. A good team can help to hold you accountable. Take the feedback from those who don’t have your same risk tolerance. This enables you to stay within the lanes you’re being called to.
Third, and probably the most important, we must make sure our vision is communicated clearly. Oftentimes, the vision is not completely clear, or it’s so grand it’s hard to put into words.
For me, I make sure my team understands where we’re going over the next 3 to 6 months, at a minimum. This is important because you can’t carry the vision by yourself. Typically, the person who is the visionary is not the one who can execute it. A great team takes the direction and helps to mold it into a 5- to 10-year plan.
Having excellent people around you, who can carry it out, is just as important as creating the vision itself. You must be willing to invest in helping your people see this vision and become invested in it themselves.
You must accept their questions, their criticisms, and their feedback. Their responses will help to clarify what it is you are seeing and what needs to be done to get there.
Every great business starts with a vision. Great businesses are typically led by a fearless leader. The most important element to ensure your business benefits to the fullest, is to make sure no one stifles your vision. The worst thing that could happen would be for a visionary to start their business and let the criticism or questions kill their dream before given the chance to cross the goal line of success.
Vision is a powerful force and has done so much good around the world. Hold on to your vision, hold on to your dream, and with the right team, who knows what might be possible.
At Paradiem, we believe money doesn’t cause problems, but it certainly has the power to reveal and magnify issues you may have been ignoring. Most professionals do a great job helping business owners create great tax plans that are ultimately horrible family plans. Our experience is that beginning with a different perspective, creates outcomes beyond anything your current professionals have helped you develop. I encourage you to get a copy of our whitepaper, “Are there unintended consequences hidden inside your current estate or business plans?” If you would like a copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Unintended Consequences” or give us a call at (985) 727-0770.