If you’ve ever poked fun at someone—especially an entrepreneur--for creating a vision board as a way to picture success, you may not be laughing in a few minutes. A new study by TD Bank shows that small business owners use visualization—pictures and idea boards—to meet their entrepreneurial goals.
TD Bank surveyed more than 1100 people and 500 small business owners nationwide in December and January to learn about their “visualization practices.” Images can be powerful, and this survey found that people who imagine their financial and business goals are more confident they will achieve them than people who don’t. Those who create a vision board (or a less formally organized collection of images and photos) that relate to their goals are almost twice as confident they’ll achieve them than those who don’t visualize their goals in some way. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed believe that pictures of their goals will improve the odds they will achieve them.
Successful small business owners say they started their businesses because they had a vision and followed it. And as they pushed forward with their plans it was important for them to keep their eyes on the big picture.
- Almost two-thirds of small business owners believe that visualizing goals helps them map and develop their business plans.
- One in five small business owners used a vision board or other visual representation when starting their business; 76% of those business owners said that today their business is where they envisioned it would be when they started it.
- Eighty-two percent of small business owners that used a vision board from the get-go reported that they have accomplished more than half the goals they included on that board.
This appears to be especially important for Millennial entrepreneurs, who embrace visualization in goal setting. Millennials have grown up using images to tell the story of their lives, with digital technology and social platforms like YouTube and nearly 60% of them said they used a vision board when establishing their business; 89% used one when developing their business plan.
Jay DesMarteau, head of small business banking at TD Bank, said an entrepreneur’s vision, whether that’s in words, photos, graphs or other images—helps drive the business’ development and the owner’s decisions. “Will you have two or 20 employees? Be located in a home office or a storefront in a high-traffic area? What would the ideal growth plan look like—brig on partners, growing profits, finding equity?” asks DesMarteau. “Visualizing how your business will be in the future is the first step in any business plan.”
TD Bank partnered with the psychologist Barbara Nussbaum, who specializes in the emotional and psychological implications of money, to analyze its survey’s results. Nussbaum says by visualizing our personal and related financial goals we can “focus on them more, they feel more real and they feel more possible. We also become better at actually moving toward them,” she says. Why? With a vision board, which usually has images, photos, sometimes objects (a piece of fabric, a dried flower, etc.) and words, Nussbaum says we are immersing ourselves in our goals, in a multi-sensory, experiential way--through words, ideas, vision and feeling.
“This holistic experience allows us to connect emotionally to our goals and our process in reach them. When we invest the time to visualize, in detail, we become more emotionally connected to our wished-for goals,” she says. “And emotions are the glue that connects us to what’s most important in our lives.”
Author credit: Eilene Zimmerman
Eilene Zimmerman I cover innovative startups and their technology, apps and gadgets.
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