Starting and growing a profitable retail business requires wearing many hats on a daily basis, and sometimes you might lose sight of the big picture or your company’s long-term goals. That’s where a vision board for business comes in handy.
Visualizing what you’re hoping to achieve is a great way to help you stay on track. And with a vision board, you can get creative and map out a way to achieve your goals in an inspiring and motivating way. You can also share your business vision board with your store staff to make sure everyone is working toward the same objective.
In this article, you’ll learn what a vision board for business is, why they work, and how to create one.
What is a vision board for business?
Simply put, a vision board for business is when you gather images, symbols, and quotes that inspire you to reach your goals. You could create a physical vision board and hang it on the wall of your office, or do it digitally on your computer or phone using a vision board app.
A vision board for business can help you visualize what you’re trying to accomplish and how you and your team will get it done. It gives you a big picture view of your retail business.
Why a vision board for business works
A disclaimer to the cynics who dismiss vision boarding as nothing more than a DIY craft project: There’s a scientific goal-setting theory behind this practice. In fact, 72% of people achieve their goals when they write them down and make a plan. Vision boarding for business is one way to do this.
Setting aside time to think deeply about your business goals for the year (and creating a vision board in the process) helps you meet basic goal-setting criteria and set your business up for success. These principles include:
- Clarity. Creating clear and measurable goals.
- Challenging. This means no low-hanging fruit or goals that are easy to meet. Goals need to stretch you outside your comfort zone.
- Commitment. Entrepreneurs and employees need to be involved to actually follow through on a goal.
- Feedback. Incorporate a way to gather feedback, track progress, and offer recognition to employees successfully working toward a specific goal.
- Complexity. While a goal should be a challenge, it can’t be too overwhelming. Ensure you allot enough time and resources to actually achieve your goal.
Creating a vision board for business can help you work through this list and brainstorm a set of goals that will have the highest impact on your business.
Visualizing your goals also helps you achieve them. According to Entrepreneur, 82% of small business owners who used a vision board from the start reported having accomplished over half of their goals so far.
“Visualization sparks flow—a psychological state associated with peak performance,” says Melody Wilding, a licensed master social worker and professor of human behavior at Hunter College in New York. “When you imagine the future and the goals you want to achieve, you activate a brain area that scans for new opportunities, called the reticular activating system. That’s why once you put something on your vision board, new opportunities start coming into your life: Because your brain is more actively looking for them.”
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Think of vision boarding as a visual way of macro-level planning. As brand strategy consultant Kim Mackenzie puts it: “It’s like a captain before they jump on a ship: they need to plot their course.”
Vision boarding for business also helps you prioritize and gives you a clearer picture of your goals and what steps you need to take in order to achieve them.
“Planning means you can take better control over where your energy and efforts go,” Mackenzie says.
If you’re ready to level up your retail business goals, dream big and pin those dreams to a vision board—the ultimate manifestation tool.
8 steps to creating a vision board for your retail business
1. Block off time, block out distractions
When you’ve got revenue-generating tasks to complete, it’s easy to bump something like a vision board for business down your list of priorities. Build time into your calendar and treat your vision board time the way you’d treat an important meeting. Find a friend to create a vision board with and work in tandem to hold each other accountable.
If finding a few uninterrupted hours to commit to this task still seems impossible, make your vision board a weekend or after-hours activity.
2. Ask yourself some questions
Mackenzie advises her clients to think about what their next year could look like before diving into their vision board. She suggests asking questions like, What feels right? What feels big? What does success look like?
“Success is personal and always shifting,” Mackenzie says. “One year it might be taking better care of yourself, another year it could be gaining 20% more clients. You should take some time to figure this out. When you know what you’re aiming for, it’s much easier to know what to say yes or no to.”
Some of the potential questions you can ask yourself to set goals and a vision for your retail business include:
- What goals do you have for your business for the year? Think sales, marketing, growth, and beyond.
- How would you like to upgrade your own skills, both as a retailer and an employer? And how would you like to develop these skills?
- How would you like to invest in your business this year? That could include equipment, a new product collection, more staff, or any other investment of time or finances.
- How would you like to work with others in the industry this year? Do you want to do more networking to meet other retailers, build a partnership with a brand you admire, or find a mentor to offer guidance?
- What other brands in your niche do you admire? What have they done well that you’d like to try in your business?
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3. Divvy up your goals
Decide how you want to divide your business vision board into categories. There’s no magic number, but a few to consider are:
- Finance and money. Include literal images of money or words that represent your goals.
- Growth and goals. This could be actual sales numbers you want to hit or pictures of how you’ll upgrade your retail store once you have more money to invest in it. Or both.
- Celebrating wins. Visualizing this could look different for everyone. Whether it’s popping a bottle of champagne with your team or rewarding your staff with an extra day off if they reach sales goals, find a way to incorporate it on your vision board.
- Inspirational brands, businesses, or people. Add photos of aspirational brands and businesses, or leaders to personally look up to.
When you’re deciding on your business vision board categories, think about the different areas of your retail business and what you’d like to change or improve first.
4. Source the right materials
Make sure you have the magazines, Pinterest images, and other materials best suited to finding the words, phrases, and pictures you’ll need for your vision board.
For a physical vision board, you’ll need materials like:
- Magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, or other printed materials
- Poster board
- Colored pencils or crayons
- Scissors or X-Acto knife
- Glue or other adhesive
5. Keep your eyes open to inspiration
“Vision is the foundation to building anything worth value,” says Jasmine Takanikos, creator of the BrandHuman methodology and founder of branding and design studio Candor. “Start looking at the world differently—stay open and learn to document what moves you. Learn that design and user experience go hand in hand.”
Take the time to look up from your digital devices more often, especially while out of your home or office, and try to be more present.
6. Start creating
Here’s where you start getting crafty. Whether you create a physical vision board for business with poster board, glue sticks, and magazine tear outs or prefer a digital version, spend time creating and thinking through your goals.
Once your board is complete, consider framing it or at least placing it in a prominent spot in your office or workspace. If it’s digital, you could set reminders to look at it once a week or more.
7. Go with the flow
Don’t get hung up in the aesthetics of your vision board: Let go of rational thinking so your goals can flow.
Remember that “done” is better than “perfect.” When it comes to vision boarding, you’re not being judged on your skills, so don’t overthink or obsess over technical details.
8. Consider your feelings along with your goal
Don’t limit your images to physical objects—also think of the feelings they represent. “Don’t only focus on things you want to have or own,” Wilding says. “Focus on finding images that represent how you want to feel—the ideal emotions you want to experience.”
Get started with your vision board for business
Now that you know what a vision board for business is and how to create one, it’s time to get started. Be creative, set big (but achievable) goals, and share your vision with your team to make sure everyone is working toward the same target.
Additional research and content from Alexis Damen.
Vision board for business FAQ
What should be included in a business vision board?
- Company mission statement
- Inspirational quotes
- Visual representations of goals
- Photos of successful people in the industry
- A timeline of short-term and long-term goals
- Lists of keywords that represent the company’s values and goals
- Colorful images and designs
- Charts, tables, and diagrams that represent progress
- Ideas and notes about potential strategies and tactics
- Affirmations and mantras to boost morale
How do I make a vision board for my business?
- Start by gathering images, photos, quotes, and other items that represent what you want out of your business. You can use magazine clippings, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other source to collect these items.
- Once you have gathered items, begin to organize them into themes that you would like to focus on. For example, if you want to increase sales, you might create a theme about increasing sales.
- Choose a material to create the vision board. You can use a poster board, canvas, or cork board.
- Begin to assemble the board by adding the images, quotes, and other items you gathered.
- As you assemble the board, think about how each item relates to the overall goal you have for your business.
- When you’re finished, hang your vision board in a place where you can see it daily. This will help to keep you motivated and inspired.
What are the three types of vision boards for business?
- Physical vision board. A physical vision board is a tangible, physical representation of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. It usually consists of a poster board, some type of mounting material, and a variety of images, words, quotes, and other visual representations of what you want to manifest.
- Digital vision board. A digital vision board is a virtual representation of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. It can be created using a variety of web-based tools, such as PowerPoint, Photoshop, or Canva.
- Mental vision board. A mental vision board is a visual representation of your goals, dreams, and aspirations that you create and store in your mind. It is a powerful tool for helping you to focus on your desired outcomes and to stay motivated to achieve them.