Small Business, BIG Vision: A Video Teaser

Think back to the moment you decided to go into business for yourself.  How did you feel?  Excited?  Nervous?  A little of both?  Did you have a creative outburst and pour your heart and soul into your business from the beginning?  As time goes by, and excitement makes way for routine, a vision plan will help you recapture the passion that got you started in the first place.

Clarify Your Vision

Create a clear image of exactly what you want to achieve.  This isn’t something esoteric.  Simply imagine a tangible target and write it down.  Your vision may be a financial goal, a personal acquisition, business expansion, or anything else your heart desires.  It’s about you and your loved ones.

Set Milestones

Contribute time and effort everyday to achieving your vision.  A large challenge is more easily digested when you chop it up into little bite size morsels.  Now that you’ve got something well defined to aim for, start taking the appropriate steps to reach your goal.  Think of your vision like the rocky peak of a sky-high mountain.  Would you try to climb to the top in one day?  One year?  Your milestones are your checkpoints as you scale your way to the summit.  After you’ve written down your milestones, your vision plan starts to come into focus.  What before had only form, has now taken on structure.

Vision Plan

Your vision plan is about personal inspiration, it’s not a business report.  Look to pictures or evensongs for inspiration.  Let your vision be pragmatic but also strive to feel your vision in the emotional centers of your brain.  A clear vision should tug at your core, driving you forward with resolve.  Harness that determination and fill in the gaps between the milestones you’ve set.  Chop up your plan into monthly mini-goals and then further into daily and weekly action items.  If you feel a part of your daily schedule is interfering with realizing your vision plan, cut it out.  Look for fresh ways to become more efficient in reaching your milestones.  Make a commitment to yourself and begin to effect changes in your daily life to make your vision a reality.

Use Your Vision Plan

Let your vision plan be your map in the territory of accomplishment and consult it everyday.  If you were a pirate hunting buried treasure, would you look at your map one time and then discard it, hoping for the best?  Don’t make the mistake of tossing your vision plan into a cluttered desk in your drawer and then neglecting it.


Roadblocks are inevitable on any road to success.  You’ll experience feelings of fatigue and disheartenment.  Keep in mind that anything worth doing doesn’t come easily.  Your vision plan should be your ally and your muse.  It should also be somewhat demanding.  If you’re not feeling motivated, consult your map and remember the commitment you made to yourself and your plan.  Don’t let your vision plan down.  After all, it’s a reflection of your dreams and ideals.

Making a personal vision plan is not just a fun way to systemize your thoughts.  It’s a powerful inspirational and organizational tool that pushes you face first toward success.  It reminds you of why you became an entrepreneur and keeps your passion burning like a never-ending candle.  Get started on your vision plan today and don’t look back.

‘Small Business, Big Vision’ [A Book Review]

Over the years I have read business books voraciously. And every now and then one comes along that I find particularly useful. That’s certainly the case with Small Business, Big Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs by Adam and Matthew Toren. So what is it that makes this book a powerful?

Advice from the Trenches

Many of you know me as a leadership resource and I’m sure you imagine that I sit in soft chairs all day and tell other people lofty ideas about themselves. Here’s the part you may not know: That leadership role is very recent. I came up the hard way and learned business in the trenches. From there, I expanded into the natural space of coaching which always seemed so familiar to me. So, when I look at a business book I want to know that the entire breadth of business acumen is nested in what I’m reading. I look to see an appreciation of both the ‘nuts and bolts’ of business as well as the personal development that I know is the driver of good outcomes.

More about Camels

I am sure you have all heard the saying “follow your bliss, but don’t forget to tether the camel.” For many years I toiled at the task of tethering camels. I was a merger/acquisition specialist as well as an executive manager of many companies. I learned my leadership style by working like a donkey. I must confess, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise, that I respect the basic hard work of building a company. When I read Small Business, Big Vision, my expectation was that it would be heavy on vision and light on the hard-core execution pieces necessary to get the job done.


Every now and then someone pays attention to the whole symphony of entrepreneurial music. I would be shortchanging my commentary on this book if I didn’t tell you that it delivers something even more. Adam and Matthew have actually figured out a way to not only cover the two major drivers of business, but to place them in today’s environment. Yes, they start with the necessity of a big vision. And they cover the development of a business plan, accumulating investors, hiring good employees, and even the need for social media. Certainly a book worth the read for just those pieces.

Social Responsibility?

But my excitement really rose when I came to the chapter about socially responsible entrepreneurs. For here they had put their finger on the new wave of business today. It has always been my opinion that leadership is being pulled into the space of personal development as a result of the demand of our newest generations. New, young leaders have looked at the old corporate paradigm and come to an astounding conclusion: The corporate wingspan is not wide enough and does not benefit a large enough portion of the community from which they come. These new leaders are courageous enough to stand and say “I will not work where I am not nourished,” and nourishment to this crew means thrusting your ego aside, forgetting who gets credit, and creating the gratitude of seeing a world much bigger than themselves benefited.

Awakening and Tethering

My job is to bring this kind of awareness to larger corporations that now see that they must provide personal leadership development in order to keep the best leaders. But I will never forget my roots and I am gratified to see that someone is taking care of the small business and entrepreneurial market. For the best way to have a great business is to start with great basics. Small Business, Big Vision gives a blueprint to the new generation of entrepreneurs that will allow them to hold a possibility much bigger than the normal book about business plans. My book Awakened Leadership describes the personal journey and its relationship to business building. In every generation the story of how to build a business must be told in both the language and the wingspan of that very group. Adam and Matthew have done a great job of giving us the current version of the entrepreneurial story. In my mind it is a wonderful companion to my leadership story.

If you’re curious to learn more about Adam and Matthew Toren, please visit their site

Small Business, BIG Vision Wins Gold – But Don’t Just Read It

My brother Matthew and I would like to thank all of you who helped make Small Business, BIG Vision the 2012 Gold Award Winning Small Business Book. We’re proud and honored to have won the award, and we appreciate all the support we have received from so many of our readers.

And from what we know, most find there’s more to the book than just reading it. Small Business, BIG Vision may be an interesting and valuable read cover-to-cover, but if that’s the only way you use this book, you’ve only gotten half of the benefit from it. With a combination of big-view insights, stories of success, and real-world everyday ideas to apply to your business, we think SBBV is a good read and also a good resource.

When you read a book from start to finish, much of its information gets lost in the process. There’s a communication concept that’s known as “Primacy/Recency.” This means that we tend to remember the first and last things we read much more than everything in the middle. To avoid losing that valuable insight, chop up your learning. This also works well for a non-reader. Here are some tactics we’ve used with our favorite business books. We hope some of these ideas help you to take full advantage of SBBV.

Copy and cut. As you read, are there concepts that strike you as valuable – possibly too valuable to just read past? Copy that page and cut out just the piece that drew your attention. Enlarge it and place in a file folder. As you continue through the book, copy and clip the concept highlights. Post one of these on a nearby bulletin board or on a wall by your desk. Change them out as they become too familiar. Over time, you will own those concepts.

Story power: SBBV is full of first-hand tales of successful entrepreneurs. Each had his or her own style, but every one of them found a path to success. How about reading one of those stories every Monday morning before you write your plans for the day or the week? As you read it, think about how that entrepreneur’s approach might apply to your business. Did he or she use tactics that might make your company stronger? Does this week’s entrepreneur have qualities that you would like to develop in yourself? Over the course of the week when faced with a decision ask yourself, how would this week’s entrepreneur handle this?

Tidbits: Every page of our book includes hands-on tips and suggestions to help your business run more effectively. Employee issues, contemporary marketing tools such as social media, and developing and writing a business plan are covered in straightforward and practical ways. When a topic is discussed that you know has come up or will come up as you build your business, make sure you can track down the source. Buy some of those page-market post-its, position them as appropriate in the book, and write a few keywords down on the flap. By the time you finish, you will have bookmarked every important area for easy reference.

Sharing: If you read something that you’d like everyone else in your organization to understand, tuck a brief quote in a memo, add it to a staff meeting agenda, or leave a copy of SBBV in the break room with a page marker and a note encouraging everyone to read it over coffee. Every member of an entrepreneurial organization will perform better if their understanding of the goals and challenges are improved.

Inspiration: Sometimes being an entrepreneur can seem overwhelming and discouraging. Grab some of the inspiring quotes and phrases we added to Small Business, BIG Vision and let them motivate you on those tough days.

We wrote this book with the hope that it would be read, paged through, used, and generally kept handy on every entrepreneur’s bookshelf. We hope you agree that reading it is just the start.

 “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France, Poet