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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Creating Vision

So, I'm still trying to recover from all of the travel and the resulting cold, but I think I'm back!  And, of course, the business is always on my mind, and I came across this book "Creating A Vision" by Corey Criswell and Talula Cartwright.  I've talked before about how important it is to really think and know about what it is you are trying to accomplish with your business, but this book really organizes the thought process you should be going through in order to be able to carefully craft a mission/vision statement for your work.

It's worth getting the book, but here's a little bit about what the authors are recommending.  Basically, it's a five-step process to capturing your vision for your business.  You need to think about 1) the big idea, 2) your values, 3) the story, 4) future growth, and 5) change.

Rather than use "rhinestone widgets" as the generic example, I'm actually going to use what I've been putting together for Many Creative Gifts.  First, I really need to articulate the big idea -- the fundamental enduring ideal on which MCG is built.  Thanks to my husband, who articulated it best, MCG is all about "being thoughtful".  I want to be thoughtful towards my customers and provide them with what they are looking for.  I want to help my customers be thoughtful in figuring out gift items for others and themselves.  But, even more than that, it's about being thoughtful, internally and externally, in all aspects of your life -- "mind, body, spirit, ... and of course crochet!"

Next, you want to think about your values -- what do you stand for?  My business is all about thoughtfulness, sharing, and appreciating  and savoring beauty.  I want people to find peace of mind, health, spiritual satisfaction, and to utilize crochet, either by crocheting themselves or sharing crocheted items, to help them achieve these goals.  Crochet can help someone relax and distract her or his mind, get some physical activity (about 100 calories an hour!), give of herself to others, and have fun!

So, what's your story?  What got you to this point where you're sharing with the world of potential customers out there?  I learned how to crochet in 6th grade from a favorite teacher, who taught one of my closest friends and me to make a scarf.  I intermittently crocheted over the years until 2005 when, while cleaning out a closet, I found my hooks and a ton of yarn and decided that either I had to give all this stuff away or really start making use of it.  Since a number of my friends were having babies, I decided I'd start making some (or what I hoped would be) keepsake crocheted items for their shower presents.  It was such a great feeling for me when they would ooooh and aaaaah over the gifts, and I hoped that they felt my love and caring for them and their babies.  My friends encouraged me to try to sell my creations, and this was about the same time that crafting was really making a comeback and Etsy was gaining in popularity.  So, I formed MCG as a limited liability company and I was in business!

Ok, so you've identified your story, where are you planning on going from here?  How do you plan on growing and expanding your business?  Of course, being a "scanner" (that'll be a topic for another post), I couldn't just stick with crochet, oh nooooo, I started to experiment with tie-dye, jewelry, and meditation beads. Now, I've expanded into healthy recipes and gluten-free cooking (more on that later too!).  And, you know, it all fits with my values of helping others with their "mind, body, spirit, and crochet" growth, so it makes sense, at least to me, to expand into these areas.

And, finally, the change factor -- how is your business going to reflect the changing times, and what will you need to do to get yourself moving into the future?  For me, it's going to be about utilizing all these new technologies becoming available to get my message out.  As I've talked about before, I hope to be getting a podcast going soon and making ebooks available.

Now what?  Well, you've got to put all of these thoughts and concepts into one encompassing statement that embodies your vision for your business.  Ok, I'm going to go work on mine and post it later today or tomorrow -- feel free to post yours!

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