There’s a saying that goes, “There are entrepreneurs that have been in business 10 years… and others that have repeated the same year 10 times.”
That’s exactly where CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Brian Scuadamore, and President of Barter Business Exchange, Cameron Herold, found themselves years ago.
It was 1998, and Brian’s revenue had stalled at $1M for eight years. Cameron’s company was flat as well.
They didn’t know what to do.
Until they learned about a technique that Olympic athletes use where they visualize themselves winning the gold medal ahead of time.
They thought, “If Olympic athletes do this, why don’t we?”
Brian sat down and created what we now call a Vivid Vision® (which he called a Painted Picture): a document that paints a vivid picture of what your company looks like and feels like 3 years into the future, as if it’s already happened.
Cameron joined him as COO, and just a few years later, 1-800-GOT-JUNK turned into a $100M multinational company that appeared on Oprah, was featured in The Harvard Business Review, and was listed as the second best workplace culture in Canada.
It transformed their lives so much that Cameron went on to write a book about it called, Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool For Aligning Your Business Around a Shared Vision of the Future.
In it, he discusses how mission statements don’t do much to motivate employees, inspire customers, or attract investors/partners, and lays out how a clear and compelling Vivid Vision can:
- Attract people to your business who are as excited about the mission as you are.
- Align your current team with your goals.
- Stay focused and motivated even in the most challenging circumstances.
At Conscious Copy & Co., we’ve helped 400+ businesses create their Vivid Vision, and in this article we’ll share with you how to write yours, with examples, so you can see exactly how it’s done (and how to get support if you’d like some help with it)!
What Is A Vivid Vision?
A Vivid Vision is a document that paints a picture of what your company looks and feels like three years into the future, as if it’s already happened, so you can reverse engineer your goals from that big picture—because a business that knows where it’s going is much more likely to get there.
Vivid Vision Real Estate Business Example
For example, let’s say you wanted to create a Vivid Vision for your real estate business.
A regular vision statement might simply say:
“We strive to be the most well-known real estate company in Lafayette County.”
But your Vivid Vision would read as if it already happened:
“When you drive through any neighborhood in Lafayette County, the streets are lined with homes that have ‘LCR & Associates’ signs out front.”
Much more powerful, right?
This gives potential (and current) team members, partners, investors, and anyone else a clear vision they can see and feel and become excited about.
And once you have your vision written out for each part of your business, you’ll have a living document that can help you:
- Set yourself apart from your competitors when hiring new team members, by inspiring them to want to come work with you.
- Gain clarity when scaling up, and feel confident that the entire company is aligned with where you’re headed before pivots and/or rapid growth.
- Give your internal team a clear picture of where you’re headed, so they can see themselves as part of the results and stay motivated.
- Show up as a confident leader for the company, knowing everyone is enrolled in the same vision you have in your mind.
- Bring customers, vendors, and key partners on board, so you can inspire them to grow along with your shared vision for the future.
The finished product should look like this:
How To Write A Vivid Vision
- Imagine what your business looks like 3 years into the future.
- Focus on what it feels like, not how you’ll get there.
- Write down what you come up with for each part of the business as if it’s already happened.
The Vivid Vision Process At Work
Cameron Herold outlines this simple 3-step process in his book, and we’ll walk through it together so you can use it to write your Vivid Vision.
- Imagine what your business looks like 3 years into the future.
Think about what you want your business to look like in three years. Paint as vivid a picture as possible. What do you see, hear, and feel? In his book, Vivid Vision, Cameron shares:
One helpful exercise is to imagine that you’re filming every aspect of your business: your employees, customers, supplier relationships, and so on. Play the film in your mind: What do the big-picture details look like three years out?
- Think “where” not “how”: Focus on what it feels like, not how you’ll get there.
This is where many entrepreneurs get stuck with their Vivid Vision. Don’t get caught up in thinking about how you’ll get to your destination, just focus on where you want to be.
For example, we recently created a Vivid Vision for a law firm. When they went through the process with our Vivid Visioneers, one of the partners said they wanted to increase their caseload to 75 a month (which was a lot for them).
“Yeah, but that’s a little crazy considering we’re nowhere near that now,” one of the other partners said.
He was focused on the how.
When the rest of the partners discussed it and got really clear of the where instead of worrying about the how, they decided to increase their vision to 150 cases a month.
Challenge yourself to think big!
- Write down what you come up with for each part of the business, as if it’s already happened.
Once you’re clear of the vision, write it down! Do this for every part of your business: culture, staff, marketing, sales, finance, values, etc. In Vivid Vision, Cameron shares that:
Once I had put on paper all the ideas in my head, I was then able to write a three-page description of all the thoughts I had generated through mind-mapping. I organized them by such areas as marketing, finance, IT, operations, customer service, employee engagement, and so forth.
VIVID VISION PROCESS EXAMPLE
Let’s walk through each step using the real estate example from above. Say we wanted to focus on the sales and marketing section of the business:
- Imagine the business 3 years into the future
Our lead generation is automated, dialed in, and coming from our various marketing channels in such a way that our agents just have to show up on-site and the prospect is ready to get started.
- Think “where” not “how”
We have an average of 200 leads per month coming in, with our agents closing 50% of the on-site calls they take.
- Write it down as if it’s already happened
The phones in our office ring all day long thanks to our various marketing efforts, and the people on the other end of the line are hot leads who are eager to get started buying or selling their homes. Up to 200+ people call us each month, and thanks to our automated education-based marketing systems, the average close rate of our agents has jumped to 50%! When our agents show up on-site, they’re greeted with a smile and a welcoming handshake by someone who’s eager to work with them.
Then, repeat for every part of your business. 🙂
WHAT SHOULD A VIVID VISION INCLUDE?
If you want to align your current team, future job candidates, clients/customers, partners, or investors with the direction of your company, your Vivid Vision should include:
- Core values
- Products & Services
- Sales & Marketing
- Media & Awards
FOLLOW THIS VIVID VISION TEMPLATE
Sitting down to write a Vivid Vision can be tough, especially if you’re not a natural writer. Even if you are, the vision in your head might not come out how you imagined.
That’s why it’s helpful to have a structure.
Part of Conscious Copy’s signature Vivid Vision Process is to start with The Vivid Vision Mindmap™: it’s a templated guide that takes you through each section your Vivid Vision should include, with question prompts to help you along the way.
Want The Conscious Copy Vivid Vision Mindmap™ So You Can Design Your Company’s Future To Be A Place You Want To Visit?
Vivid Vision Examples
Below, you’ll find lots of examples to see what the finished product should look like.
Vivid Vision Example #1: Billy Gene Is Marketing
The example below from Billy Gene Is Marketing’s agency business shows just how specific you can get when writing your Vivid Vision:
1. Look at how specific they are about the growth they’ve experienced, including roles, projects completed, and revenue.
2. The language is focused on where, not how. There’s no talk about all the interviews they had to do, they just state the vision they have for the team!
3. It’s written as if it already happened, with their goals already hit, and it’s all done in Billy’s brand voice, too, which makes this vision come alive even more. If you’re on the team, you can clearly see where the company’s headed, and how you fit into the bigger picture.
Vivid Vision Example #2: Just Thrive
Just Thrive is an award-winning probiotic brand that helps people take charge of their own health. Check out the snapshot of their Vivid Vision below:
1. Their three-year vision is aligned with WHO they want to be known as, and the commitment they have to helping people optimize their health.
2. This quick snapshot of where they want to be gives anyone who wants to get involved an understanding of exactly what they’re all about, in clear, concise language that’s focused on the future.
3. “Our team is constantly inspired by the stories from our customers of how our products have changed their lives,” paints a vivid picture of what the company hopes to achieve in three years, in clear, easy to understand language that the people they want to attract can feel.
Vivid Vision Example #3: Sweet Financial
Sweet Financial is a financial services company that helps people build their dream retirement, and you can see in the Vivid Vision example below how they captured what they wanted their future offices to look like:
1. Current employees, or potential new hires, can see the big picture in this section. When they see the future with clarity like this, they’re more likely to envision themselves as key characters in the story.
2. Notice how clear they are about what you see, from the types of desks, to what’s hanging on the walls. Instead of saying, “we’ve built a large office where everyone can be productive,” they painted a vivid picture of being a warm, welcoming, and friendly place to work.
3. “When you walk into our offices, there’s a positive buzz,” is the line that opens this section, which really makes the vision come alive. You can hear and feel the energy right away. They even go on to make you feel excited to be at the office, showing how visitors are welcomed, and even how the office is well-stocked with snacks!
Vivid Vision Example #4: Leverage Information Technologies (LIT)
LIT is an IT company focused on a “People First” model, and they included that message in their Media & Awards section:
1. They clearly state what they want to be known for in the next three years, and draw focus to their message of “People First.”
2. The media features they’d like to see are specific, and they know exactly how they want to be recognized.
3. They tie the brief section together by stating the recognition they received was achieved without a physical location, tying it to the clear vision they have for the business, and where it’s headed.
Vivid Vision Example #5: Creative Works
Creative Works is a company that builds immersive entertainment spaces, but you can feel the passion they have for what they really do (create unforgettable memories) in the Vivid Vision example below:
1. Three years into the future, Creative Works wants to have created entertainment spaces for millions of people across the globe, all while drawing from their values of excellence, passion, integrity, and commitment, which are displayed on the very first page of their Vivid Vision.
2. Every word is focused on where they would like to be, not how they’ll get there: the “entertainment spaces are enjoyed by millions of people,” rather than “we’ve built thousands of entertainment spaces that cost us $X and a lot of headaches.”
3. The descriptions of how their spaces will be used are so vivid, it’s like you’re almost there with the woman playing mini golf, the boy fighting zombies, or the couple falling in love.
Vivid Vision Example #6: Unpain Clinics
Unpain Clinics helps athletes heal from performance-related pain, and in this Vivid Vision example you can see how clear they are about what their culture will feel like in the future:
1. Unpain wants to cultivate a culture where everyone works in their unique ability to help people heal, and this is reflected in all of their values.
2. Their Culture section shows what they’ve accomplished, where everyone’s focus is, and how their people should feel at the end of the day (again, focused on where, not how).
3. “At the end of the day, you walk out of the office feeling just as good as when you walked in, excited and energized to go home and enjoy time with your family,” ties the Culture section off with a straightforward example of the emotion they hope to capture, as if they already have.
Vivid Vision Example #7: Hapbee
Hapbee is a technology that helps people choose their mental state, with a wearable device, and their vision is closely aligned with how they’d like to give back:
1. The three-year vision is tied to their mission to improve mental health and keep people in balance, and their Community Involvement section shows anyone who wants to be involved exactly how they plan to achieve that vision.
2. In the Founder Feelings section, there’s a clear “why” for the company that serves as a guiding light, and is focused on where they want to go (people always want to know the story behind the brand).
3. Both sections provide a solid understanding of where the founders hope to be in the future, with specific examples of experts they want to work with, and the effects their business will have on the people it touches.
Vivid Vision Example #8: Sweet Grass Dairy
Sweet Grass Dairy is a family-owned creamery that manufactures handcrafted cheeses, and the section they dedicated to their Cheese Shop reads as if you’re right there with them.
1. From the team, to the space, to how they view their customers, in three years Sweet Grass Dairy plans to be creating an experience that’s so real it’s as if they’d already accomplished it.
2. All of the vivid imagery in this section represents the culture they wish to cultivate, and what that looks like in real terms, focusing on the details of where they’d like to go, rather than how they got there.
3. This section speaks for itself. You can basically smell the cheese, and hear the joy in the shop.
Vivid Vision Example #9: COO Alliance
Cameron Herold is the author of Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool For Aligning Your Business, and the founder of COO Alliance, which helps COOs be more effective. And of course, he created a Vivid Vision to help guide him.
1. Cameron’s Vivid Vision is short and sweet, with the largest portion dedicated to showing COOs the benefits of joining the alliance. This shows potential clients what they can expect and helps current and future team members see the impact of their work.
2. The Culture section focuses on growth: a trusting environment where you can be vulnerable and get support to reach your goals. Any right-fit candidates can see themselves on the team.
3. Ends on the Team section, which anchors in the idea of, “Hey, if this sounds like something you want to be involved in, then join us.”
Vivid Vision Example #10:James R. Whelan Agency
The first line from the Culture section of this advertising agency, led by charismatic founder James R. Whelan reads, “This is not a stuffy suit-and-tie operation”—and that bold spirit jumps out at you from the very first page.
1. James’s personality directs the flow of this powerful Vivid Vision in a way that’s inspiring.
2. His can-do attitude makes his belief in endless potential and growth apparent, which is important to attract right-fit team members and partners. It’s clear to anyone reading that “If you’re ready to put in the work, the possibilities are endless.”
3. The Team and Culture sections are concise yet detailed. James is very clear about the culture he’s looking to build.
What To Do When You’re Creating A Vivid Vision And You Get Stuck
At Conscious Copy & Co., we’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs paint a clear picture of their future with their Vivid Vision, and we’ve seen a few key areas where they tend to get stuck:
1. They Don’t Know Where To Start
If you don’t know where to start, we’d suggest you click here to download the Vivid Vision Mindmap™ (if you haven’t already). Another tip to help you get started is to focus on the area of your business that gets you most excited! Maybe that’s how sleek the offices are going to be, how your marketing will flow, or what your team culture will feel like.
2. They’ve Tried It Themselves, But It’s Not As Clear Or Compelling
A lot of business owners have trouble getting what’s in their head onto the page; the vision is clear to them, but when they sit down to write either nothing comes out or it just doesn’t “pop.” A useful way to get over this is to have someone else help pull the vision out of you. Part of our process is what we call a Vivid Vision Expander Session™, where one of our visioneers guides you through the process and helps you clearly express what you want to say in a way that’s compelling.
3. They’ve Hired A Random Copywriter To Write Their Vivid Vision (Or Are Planning To), And It Didn’t Turn Out Well
The document that’s going to represent your business’ message to the world shouldn’t be left to an inexperienced writer. Some business owners think they can find a good deal on Upwork, or get a referral for a content writer from someone they know. However, writers who’ve never written a Vivid Vision before, or don’t know how to inspire people to take action, will probably miss the mark, and yours will end up sounding like just another piece of “content.”
When it comes to designing your business’ vision, it’s incredibly valuable to have an expert walk you through the process. That’s why at Conscious Copy & Co., we’ve developed our proven, signature The Vivid Vision Method™:
Want To See More Vivid Vision Examples?
Download The Vivid Vision Example Guide™
24 Real-Life Examples To Inspire You As You Create Your 3-Year Vision
STEP 1: THE VIVID VISION MIND MAP™
From your company’s core values and culture to marketing and financials, we’ll guide you through the 12 key areas of your company by mapping out what you want it to look like.
STEP 2: EXPAND YOUR VISION
Our Vivid Visioneers will interview you (the Founder or CEO) on your three year vision. We’ll dig deep to help you get crystal clear about what you want each area of your company to look, feel, and sound like—but as if you’ve already achieved it. We’ll help you sort your thoughts so you can simply show up and share.
STEP 3: COPY CREATION
Our team of seasoned Vivid Vision copywriters will help craft your vision and make the words pop off the page. We make the vision clear, powerful, and exciting, so your team, clients, partners, etc., get inspired to help you make it happen.
STEP 4: YOUR VIVID VISION IMAGERY
After the copy is complete, our Vivid Vision Design Team will breathe life into your vision with a beautiful, on-brand design, putting powerful images to the words for your personalized Vivid Vision.
STEP 5: YOUR VIVID VISION ROLLOUT
The final product is a custom, 5-6 page Vivid Vision document. It will get your emotions racing with excitement when you, your team, your customers, and your vendors read it. We’ll also share best practices on rolling out your Vivid Vision in your organization, infusing it into your culture, and where to start on executing it.
The Vivid Vision is the most important document your company might be missing, and just imagine your future if:
- You double, triple, or even 10x your revenue…
- Systems and processes are so tight that when you leave on family vacation you know you don’t have to check your phone because everything is running smoothly…
- Your company is listed as a Top Place To Work and written up in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, etc…
- You have a self-managing team with top talent that takes just as much responsibility in growing your company as you do…
- Investors are so bought into your vision that they’re happy to hand over the funding you need to scale faster…
- You create a powerful legacy that will live on and impact team members, clients, and the community for years to come…
If you’re ready to turn your vision into a reality, and you want to know more about how The Vivid Vision Process™ works…