There are so many things for entrepreneurs to consider – growing your business, building a website, sales, marketing, networking. Then there’s the back office stuff – managing employees, bookkeeping, order fulfillment, customer service, etc – but that’s not all. What about those things that can really derail your business like fear, doubt, naysayers, negativity and inaction? It’s a lot to contend with isn’t it?
As I was casting my vision for my business for the next few years, the word “stewardship” kept popping up in my mind. Initially, I didn’t get it, but as I continued to think and meditate on it, I started to understand why. My background is in non-profits so when I hear the word stewardship, my mind instantly goes to money. I think of being a good steward of the donor dollar – not being wasteful, using donated money for its intended purpose – honoring donor intent. I’ve also heard of people stewarding Christians and stewarding children’s learning – but what about vision? Are you a good steward of your vision?
The concept of stewardship is essential for entrepreneurs. Being a good steward of your vision will help you overcome some of those intangible obstacles that can slow your forward progress.
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines stewardship as: the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something. As you share your business and your plans with people, they’re going to share their ideas and opinions with you and it’s your job stay clear and focused. You have to protect your vision. Here is stewardship: tips every entrepreneur needs to know.
Stewarding Your Vision:
- Own it – Accept responsibility for your vision and stand confidently in it. Sometimes your vision is so big it can be scary. And when you’re scared, it’s tempting to play your vision down or minimize it to make yourself and/or others comfortable. Don’t. If you minimize your vision you’ll never realize it.
- Plan & Prioritize – Develop a plan with clear priorities and stick to it. A great quote from Stephen Covey, Author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” sums this up: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things.”
- Be Intentional – Make it clear to yourself and to everyone around you exactly what you want to do. Let every action you take be purposeful and make sure it is in line with your larger vision.
- Be accountable – Bring people into your circle and onto your team that you can trust to hold you accountable. Stay in integrity with yourself and others by keeping your word and following through on the tasks you commit to.
- Cultivate the Vision – Spend dedicated time thinking about your vision and developing ideas to support it. In his book “How Successful People Think”, John C. Maxwell encourages people to set aside time to think. Figure out where you get your best thinking done, and make a point go there for scheduled, uninterrupted thinking sessions. Be sure to write down your ideas and begin to integrate them into your larger plan.
- Be Visionary – What is the full impact of your realized vision? How many lives will you change? How many people will you help? How much good will you do? It can be easy to become laser focused on one aspect of your business (sales, building your website, networking) but as the visionary behind your business, it’s important that you keep the big picture in mind. Make sure you are always aware how the small pieces fit into the whole. And make sure they do fit. Don’t get distracted by things that are going to pull you away from your larger vision.
- Be Bold – Go after your vision with confidence and tenacity. Don’t let setbacks and failures stop you. Instead, find the lessons in your failures and learn from your mistakes. Being bold will come easier if you spend time strengthening your mind and your resolve. Find likeminded people to bounce ideas off of. Consider hiring a coach or joining a mastermind group to help keep you motivated.