Where do you see your business in 2 years? 5 Years?

Where do you see your business in 10 years and what kind of lifestyle do you want to be living by then?

Are you still sitting at the computer answering client requests? Are you traveling the world? Are you just coming in for meetings and leaving? Or, maybe you’re completely absent from your business and have a company running on its own.

It’s a given, perhaps, that we all have goals. But how well have we really thought them out?

Take, for example, a client who I just got off the phone with.

We were talking about his business and its brand, and about decisions he has to make moving forward.

Specifically, he was apprehensive about hiring full time team members for fear of the leaner times when there are no clients.

He’s scared of committing to people full time and not being able to afford to pay them when there are drops in business.

As we spoke, I came to realize something fundamental at play: he’s running his business in a reactive state. He’s reacting to opportunities, reacting to clients, and to the looming situation of how many will there be and what kind of business will they bring.

This is a trap that a lot of founders get into, especially founders who started out as freelancers.

They don’t have any sort of consistent marketing effort and they haven’t built a vision for their company.

An opportunity comes up, and they go for it, and they either hit or miss. It’s like a game of Whack-A-Mole. They either get the job, or they don’t, and then they move on to another opportunity.

This cycle is like a reactive status quo in a business. It starts to exist only to react to the world.

A repeating pattern of reactivity in your business leads to stagnation. There’s no long game when you’ve got the blinders on and all you see is what’s in front of you, day in and day out.

To move forward and reach your goals you’ll need to take control of your company’s destiny and start to be proactive.

What’s that mean?

The first step is creating a vision.

Decide what you want your business to be about starting now. What are you best at and where does your service or product meet the market? Most importantly, what are your aspirations for what your business will look like 2, 5 or 10 years down the road?

Creating that vision, and understanding where you want to go, is the first step in being proactive in your enterprise.

The second step is looking for the clients that you want to work with, and not just waiting for clients or opportunities to walk through your door.

You have to reach out.

It’s crucial that you know the types of clients that you want to work with; clients who are the right fit, who can afford you, and whose values align with yours. You also have to understand the client’s needs, and where you could potentially fulfill them.

And, it all comes back to your vision.

It starts as sort of a loose-fitting plan that, through experience and careful analysis, becomes an elegant marketing plan that defines your services, who you want to reach out to, and how best to do it.

The point is, you can be reactive in your business or you could be proactive.

If you’re proactive, then you’re creating.

You’re actually getting into a flow and deciding what your future is going to be. The future is uncertain, but at least now you’re steering the business in the right direction.

There are three important takeaways here.

  1. Create the vision.
  2. Identify the ideal clients that will actually get you there.
  3. Create the marketing plan that reaches those clients.

Once you conquer these three things, you can really assess where you are in the market, how you serve clients, and what you can do to improve, because now you’re in control.

You’re creating the deals and you’re creating the relationships, not the other way around.

Keep working and refining each of these and you’ll move closer and closer to that vision and the ultimate dream.