How to create a vivid 3-year vision for your business (that you can actually achieve)

Vision & Strategy

I was recently speaking with a business owner about the future of his business.  When asked, she told me (confidently), that they would be a $30 million dollar business with $6 million in profit within 3 years.

Amazing.  That was a healthy jump for their business.

I followed up by asking what that looked like.  She didn’t have a real answer.

So, I did a mic drop and asked, “Who cares about $6 million in profit?”.   She was stunned.

For so many business owners, when thinking about the future, they only focus on key metrics, and never create a compelling 3-year vision, also known as a vivid vision, that everyone in organization can be inspired by.

What is a vivid vision?

A vivid vision is a deep, thorough vision for the future of your business.  It goes further than just some metrics; it dives into what different areas of your business will look like.

The idea is to create a vision so clear that others have no doubt that it’ll happen. It’s just some work to get you there.

How does a vivid vision fit into your overall vision?

There are several elements to your vision.

If you picture a mountain in front of you that you and your team are getting ready to climb.  It’s a BIG challenge, but you’re ready to undertake it.

Above the mountain is your North Star, never wavering, giving you a clear compass point to navigate by.  This is your company’s purpose. The impact you want to make in the universe.

The peak of the mountain, the mission you’re setting up for, is your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  It’s so big, you don’t really know how you’re going to get there yet, but you’re ready for the challenge and determined to figure it out.

Your vivid vision is your camp 3, around one third of the way up the mountain.  It’s something that’s very attainable and you can picture exactly where it is and what it looks like.  You want to know exactly how you’re going to approach it and set it up.  It has to be completely clear for your team so you can plan out this phase of your journey.

How do you create your vivid vision?

Working with leadership teams, I recommend brainstorming as a group.  Getting lots of different viewpoints is awesome to get the vision started.

  1. Pick a date in the future, normally 3-5 years from now.
  2. Sit back and picture your business in great detail. Try walking through every department! (Why is this an exclamation point?)
  3. Use the checklist below and dive into each question to build detail into the vision.
  4. Find common themes for each answer.

Building the actual vision needs to be owned by the company leader.  It may be the team’s vision, but in the end the company leader is accountable for making it happen.

Creating this clear vision is an exercise in grounded creativity and can’t be squeezed in between meetings.  I recommend taking longer blocks of time, out of the office, to truly dive in and create your vision.

Your vision checklist

Here’s a range of questions to get you started on brainstorming your vivid vision:

  1. What will you be doing? What’s different?
  2. Who are your customers?
  3. Where are you doing business?
  4. What systems do you need in place to make it happen?
  5. How does it FEEL throughout your business. What’s the buzz?
  6. How is your culture being lived?
  7. What will your employees say about your business?
  8. What does the media/press say about your business?
  9. What does your competition say about your business?
  10. What impact have you made?
  11. What big goals will you have accomplished?
  12. How will you measure success? What are the metrics?


Additional items for the company leader

Once the base vision is setup, I like to have the company leader dive a bit deeper for themselves specifically.  Some of the questions they need to answer include:

  1. Where do they want to be when they achieve this vision?
  2. What will they be doing in the business?
  3. Who is on their team?
  4. What makes them the most excited about the vision?
  5. How does this fit in with their life and family plans?

While the answers may not be part of the vision they share, they’re vital for how they build out their company.  If you’re looking to have more free time with your family or have a legacy you want to build, it needs to be incorporated into your plan.

How to communicate your vision

Simple answer:  You communicate it until people roll their eyes.  Then communicate it more.

There are many different ways to communicate your vision.  You can use your company newsletter, townhall meetings, 1:1 meetings or any other venue.  The important part is that you’re communicating it to the team often and passionately.

Help your team understand what their role in the vision is and how they’re helping the company achieve it.

How do make your vision happen

Once you have a clear vision, it’s time to break it down into an executable plan.  That’s where frameworks like EOS, Scaling Up and Metronomics shine.  Their execution elements help you break your vision down into:

  • Annual strategic priorities
  • Quarterly priorities
  • Weekly action plans

They also help you build the elements to keep the right focus, including your meeting rhythms and creating a culture of accountability.

A vision without a plan is just a dream.  Let’s make that dream a reality.

It’s time to take the first step

Like with any journey, knowing where you’re going is the first step.

Creating a clear, compelling vision for your business is key to creating a great business.  That vision should include a long term goal (BHAG), a vivid 3-year vision then a breakdown of how you’re going to get there.

If you’re ready to create your vision and make it happen, we’re here to help.  Book a short intro call with us and take the first step in bringing your vision to life.

Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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