When you work as an entrepreneur it is often easy to get all caught up in the day-to-day business of keeping your venture afloat, to the extent where you forget to set the goal posts that will let you know when you’ve realised the ideals that inspired you to set out on your own in the first place.

While this may seem like a time-wasting exercise in the face of endless meetings, phone calls and important investor responsibilities, it could eventually mean the difference between working yourself to the bone without any sense of personal satisfaction and a purpose-filled existence with a good work/life balance.

The core difference between working for a company and working as an entrepreneur is that you get to decide what is most important. As an employee of a business your goal will always be their bottom line; when you work for yourself there is a little more at play. You not only get to determine your personal wealth trajectory, you are also at the helm of the metaphorical ship, deciding whether to throw down anchor to enjoy the sights or keep going for the sake of momentum.

This is why it is so very important to list your vision and mission when you first set out. After all, if you don’t know where you’re headed, how will you know once you’ve arrived? It’s only once you’ve answered this question that you can go ahead and draw up a marketing strategy that will allow you to achieve your personal business goals.

So how do you prepare a vision statement?

Here’s an example of a great vision statement by Ebay: To provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything. It is a good one because it tells you exactly what they want to achieve.

To get started on yours, you first need to sit down and tease out the various bits of information regarding your wants and needs from your own brain. Start with a blank piece of paper and take some time to answer the following questions thoroughly.

Project yourself five years into the future. Things have gone exactly the way you planned, business is booming and you wake up every morning happy as a clam.

  1. What does your day look like? Are you happily grafting from dusk till dawn or do you power through your responsibilities in an hour or two to allow yourself some time to smell the roses?
  2. Are you part of a bustling team or do you work alone, content with your own company?
  3. What services do you perform/products do you sell and to whom? Who are your clients? List any specific clients you’d really like to have.
  4. Where is your business situated? Do you have lovely, spacious offices or do you simply need a laptop and Wifi to get the job done while you’re on the move? Go into detail.
  5. What is your role in your company? Do you run things from up high or are you involved in the manufacture/supplying of the goods/services?
  6. Do you employ any additional people? How many and how do they fit into the business structure? What are their backgrounds and how to they add value to your business? Be specific.
  7. What is your company’s turnover and how much do you earn? (This number will not be the same.)
  8. At what point do you believe you’d be ready to sell/turn over the business?
  9. What is your business’ unique selling point? What is the thing that sets you apart from your competitors?
  10. What inspires you about your company? Why are you so happy in this space?
  11. How would you describe your business to a casual acquaintance? What are the words you hope your clients will use to describe both you and your company?

Right, take a red marker and encircle the words in these descriptions that get you excited, happy and full of hope. Those are the words that you need to include in your vision statement.

Once you’ve boiled down your needs and wants to a simple phrase or paragraph it will be easy to keep track of how you are doing on your journey to success and adjust the course if you seem to be veering in the wrong direction.

Go forth and dream big, kid!