This is step 3 in a series about how to develop a Strategic Vision Board for your business.
In this step, I’ll explain what it means to Center your business, why you need to identify the main purpose for your company, and how to find balance as an owner.
Read the basics in my Introduction.
Or check out Square 1: Reputation
Some of us have difficulty visualizing abstract concepts. The idea of setting “goals,” creating a “vision,” and defining “strategies” can be confusing at best, and frustrating at worst.
Thankfully, the structured approach of a Vision Board can make it much easier for you to visualize a future for your business. Using the Feng Shui concept of the Magic Square (also known as the Bagua Map), you can see a framework that corresponds to a step-by-step process to define your goals.
In this post, we’ll discuss the 3rd step in the 9-square process, which is Center.
You will hear:
- the main Concept,
- the corresponding Color,
- suggested Essential Oils,
- a Focus Area,
- Main Question,
- Practical Applications to get you started, and
- some Real-Life Examples.
Square 3: Center
First, we look at the square in the middle of the Bagua Map, called “Center.” This can also be called “Unity” and “Fulfillment.”
Feng Shui Number
Keep in mind that this number is designed to be used in conjunction with the other squares in a row or column. When added together, any 3 numbers on a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal will add up to the number fifteen. For example, 4 (Abundance) + 5 (Center) + 6 (Journey) = 15.
Balance of all Seasons
Fountainhead (Balance of Yin and Yang)
Cedarwood, Marjoram, Patchouli, Vetiver
Return to center
Know the main promise or future reality that drives your business
Wellness, Driving Force, Vision & Mission
“Why does my business exist?”
Here are some ways to return to your Center as a business owner:
- Examine what drives your company.
How do your services or products change the world? Which problems are you solving?
- It can be difficult to remember why you started the business in the first place.
Think back to the passion you had at the beginning, and consider writing a brand story that will serve as a compelling narrative to attract Ideal Customers.
- Review your VMVOM (Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives, and Measures).
See whether you are still on track, or whether you need to re-center the choices you are making in your business.
- Do your Vision and Mission align with your philosophy?
Do they tie in to your policies & procedures, training, and the content on your website?
Are your services a reflection of why your business exists and where you are headed in the future?
- What are the 3 or 4 strategic objectives for the company?
Consider the most important goals that must be met to reach your ultimate future point.
Consider the essential steps that can “move the needle” toward your goals. Most of us take a long and winding route, with unnecessary extra tasks that are distracting and time-wasting, rather than narrowing the focus.
- Do your employees know your business objectives?
These could include: more Ideal Customers, faster turnaround time, higher revenue per visit, increase in repeat customers, increased net profit percentage, and more efficient workflow.
Here are two ways that demonstrate a centering process.
Example 1: Back to Basics: A Business Reset
I rarely meet business owners who do not feel exhausted. Many times, they are burning the candles at both ends by trying to do more, spend less, and satisfy difficult customers.
If you’re feeling burnout from years of constant go-go-go to keep your business moving forward, it may be time for a Business Reset.
The possibilities for how to do this really depend on your personality and temperament. I highly recommend taking the StrengthsFinder assessment (which you can find here) as a starting point for understanding how and why you make decisions, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for your temperament traits (find more here).
As an introvert, I prefer to mull over business problems in solitude and while I connect with nature. If this sounds like you, a Silent Weekend Retreat for quiet introspection might be just what the doctor ordered. You could prepare for this by making a list of your goals for the next year, big questions you haven’t been able to answer yet, and a printout of your business data so you can start to analyze it. If looking data is not your thing, you could simply enter a time of inner review and hire someone else to do the analysis.
For extroverts, a Mastermind Retreat could be more up your alley. This type of intensive, conversation-filled experience can reveal both potential opportunities and hidden barriers that were holding you back as an owner. The value you’ll receive will depend on the commitment, focus, and maturity of the other members, as well as the structure and planning of the event itself.
Example 2: Stakeholder Strategy Sessions
Getting good feedback can backfire. You may have already tried to ask employees or associates for their opinions, only to have the discussion turn ugly. Or maybe you heard some great ideas, but you aren’t sure what to do with it.
If you are wondering how direct the growth of your business, consider collecting high-quality input from those who know it the best: your stakeholders. These individuals include customers or patients, investors, managers, employees, volunteers, and members of the community.
A very effective way to do this is by organizing a Strategy Session, which could be
- an informal meet-and-greet,
- a more formal discussion, or
- a facilitated workshop.
The key to any strategy development project is to recognize the incredible value of bringing others into the discussion, and providing them with a chance to be completely upfront about where they see problems and what they would do to fix it. You can use the Strategic Risk SHAPE model as a guide.
Next in this series, we’ll tackle the 4th square in this series: Creativity.
Interested in hearing how you can reverse a toxic workplace? Find out more here.
Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.