When asked to contribute to the Vision section of the Huntsman Alumni Magazine, I seriously pondered the importance and meaning of the word vision. Vision is a vitally important principle for business people and entrepreneurs to understand and embody as they answer the question, “Where are we going and how will we get there?” I define vision as the ability to see what others do not, or to create value in new ways that have not yet been discovered. It’s about anticipating what will come to be. It is the definition of how an entrepreneur thinks about the world. It means seeing rough outlines and shapes and then defining and translating them into actionable items.
ACTION. Ideas can be be worthless unless you create a viable operating entity around that vision. The genius of vision is execution. A successful vision requires an incredible amount of sheer energy, focus and time to see it through. Many are tempted to reach for instant gratification. However, vision is on the opposite end of the spectrum. There are no shortcuts. I believe entrepreneurs should forget about creating exit strategies in their business plans and understand that it’s more important to focus on building sustainable value. Once you create something of value, you can then begin to think about harvesting.
LEADERSHIP. Vision implies leadership. Visionary leaders are masterful at articulating their vision and mobilizing others to action. I did not build BillMatrix or ProCore Labs myself. While I may have started the fire burning, the ultimate success came from the hard work of others who added the coals and stoked the fire. An entrepreneur needs to see the vision, define it and then get others to believe in the vision and join the effort.
BLIND SPOTS. Blind spots are always present during the journey. It requires unmentionable sacrifice, hard work and a relentless focus on excellence to see one’s way through the process. Entrepreneurs need to be experts in everything related to their business and industry. Great entrepreneurs are open to new ideas and activities and possess the courage to try new things without looking back.
SUCCESS. Vision itself is not recognized until the endeavor has been successful. This is why I believe vision is such a coveted attribute of a successful person. However, I believe true visionaries are not motivated by financial gain alone. Visionary leaders focus on creating something of value, solving a problem or delivering a better product or service.
HIGH GOALS. Set your goals high, and don’t accept immediate pay or praise for initial effort. Build a strong team of fellow visionaries who will work hard; and when they help accomplish the vision, be gracious and share in the reward. The day we sold BillMatrix to FiServ, Inc., I wrote over $75 million in checks to our team members. It was one of the most rewarding days of my life.
Scott’s simple formula for implementing a successful vision:
GIVING BACK. Include in your plans the principle of giving back. I recognize the contributions of others in my own journey, and I want to create a legacy of creating value in a way that solves a problem or fills a void. I have a passion for entrepreneurism and education that is reflected in how I invest time and resources. I see great promise in the next generation of principled business leaders, and I challenge the USU Alumni community to help our incredible students become innovative entrepreneurs who will likewise create value for their community, nation and the world.