What is a Vision and How Can It Transform My Business?

Author : , Date : May 4, 2015



Vision… it’s talked about in colleges, board rooms, training centers, business expos, conferences, workshops, seminars, websites… there is no lack of educational opportunities on the subject of developing a vision for your business.

Yet, the overwhelming majority of businesses have no vision.

Well, they think they do but it’s not really a vision when the majority simply find a cute way to express what they do and disguise it as a vision.

For too many businesses their vision is nothing more than a glorified “here is what we do” statement.

Too many businesses are struggling unnecessarily and for the wrong reasons. If you’re struggling it shouldn’t be because of a lack of vision, bad messaging or marketing or because you can’t sell.

But wait, that is the reason most businesses are struggling.

Many are saying nothing and helping no one while lying to themselves about the real state of their business.

How many are out there saying right now one of these statements:


  • It’s going to be okay, it just takes time.
  • I have to weather the storm.
  • We just have to connect with the right people who can refer business to us and help us reach our audience.
  • We just need (insert dollar amount) and it will work out.


For some business owners one or all of these statements are true.

But, it’s not true for the business that has no vision.

Vision is the essence of communication and inspiration. Without it, you don’t have a real reason for what you’re doing. Then, there is the other side of it; if you’re vision is about the wrong things you risk becoming corrupt or in business for all the wrong reasons which can have it’s very serious consequences later on.


What is Vision and How Do I Find It?


what-do-you-doUnknowingly to my clients, the very first question I always ask them is “What problems are you “Passionate about?”.

As I said before, vision is not a reworded, fancy way of saying what you do.

How many times have you gone to a networking meeting, chamber of commerce lunch or sat next to someone on an airplane and asked the question; “what do you do?”


  • How many times are you bored out of your mind?
  • How any times do you wish you hadn’t asked?
  • How many times do you wonder what in the world that person is talking about?


You didn’t really want an answer. You just didn’t know what else to ask and it seemed like a logical question in the moment. It’s all small talk and we all know it.


What if someone actually said something that made you take note and piqued your curiosity.

Hum… the same thing holds true for many business websites, social media posts, blog comments… boring, uninspiring and a waste of time.

Every single thing you say and do should be tied to your real vision… and the reason your message is so uninspiring is because you don’t really have one.

Vision is always tied to passion. Passion is not tied to making money for yourself.

Instead, passion is tied to somehow making a difference in the world.


Don’s Vision and Passion


Since I decided to write this article on a whim, I don’t yet have permission from a few clients whose story I would love to share. So, I will save those for a later article and instead share my own experience of how I came to my own vision.

For ten years I have watched businesses come and go. I have seen and been a part of making some beautiful websites that are atrocious and say nothing.

I’ve watched the statistics happen and businesses close.

I’ve partnered with people who have no idea of who they are, why they exist and whose only vision was to make money for themselves at the expense of their teams and clients.

They aimlessly went from one business to another in the hunt for the elusive dollar only to find unhappiness and no reward.

I partnered with some wrong people because at times I was not even sure of why I was in business other than knowing I didn’t want to be employed and I don’t want to be locked down all day long being miserable helping someone else fulfill their vision and dreams. I didn’t want to be in a business that though profitable wasn’t true to who I was and it only served a purpose for a moment and I knew it.

While in Bible College, two seminaries, as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army and a Director of Development responsible for raising millions of dollars in two non-profits I studied leadership both theoretically and practically in everyday life.

All of my experiences led me the conclusion that leadership is found in the moments when you discover your passions and what makes you tick.

Your passion is found not in your own personal desires but in the difference you want to make in the world. It enables you to make the hard decisions and stay true to yourself no matter the storms going on around you.

I discovered after having met hundreds or maybe thousands of business over the last ten years that my struggle was their struggle.

I found a way to success a few times by accident and once on purpose and failure was far more my friend than success, or so it seemed. Yet, in the end no failure was without its purpose in the big picture of what would become my passion.

My vision is not to teach people, consult or coach or show people how to be successful themselves in their marketing and messaging. That’s what I do.

My passion is:


  • To help communities be vibrant and great places to live because small businesses are healthy and growing and fulfilling their vision in their communities.
  • To educate, empower and enable small businesses owners and entrepreneurs make a difference in their communities through their business.
  • To help small businesses learn that they can compete with anyone at anytime and be wildly successful because of whom they are not because of what they sell. If what they sell is needed in the marketplace then it becomes a function of messaging the relevance of why the public should buy from them. That takes vision and purpose through clarity and strategies and goals through focus and then the right tasks through execution (clarity + focus = execution).


When small businesses succeed, we all succeed together. America was the first country in the history of the world to embrace entrepreneurism and build wealth through business ownership and entrepreneurism. No country before it was ever able to do what we have done.

However, today the failure rate for new businesses seems to be around 70% to 80% in the first year and only about half of those who survive the first year will remain in business the next five years.


Because they lack the vision necessary to be relevant, compelling and interesting or they don’t have a vision for the right product or service that can be successful in the marketplace. In either case, it still comes down to vision.


What Business Am I “Really” In


I’ve been giving some thought to the title of my core product titled “Foundations of Internet Marketing.” The truth is that is the foundation of all business.

What I teach ultimately is how to find your vision through a challenging set of assignments that ought to forever change the way you see your business and the impact your business is having on people’s lives.

In the first assignment I cover a few questions that are so foundational that you will begin to experience your own vision within a few weeks.

The hard part is that many clients will try to out think themselves and get ahead of the question to an outcome or result. I strongly advice against that and I ask each client to only focus on the question without jumping ahead.

Vision is a process not a result. That means each person has to take it as it is revealed.

Yes, it’s revealed! It’s there. It always has been you just need to pull it out.


Question #1 – What Problems are You Passionate About?


The first question as I said earlier asks “what problems are you passionate about?”  I’m not interested in the actual problems. This is the one question I will ask that is about you. However, every question you answer moving forward will be filtered through this one as you will see at the end of this article.

In my book “The Shift…” I said:


“Passion is the seed of personalization. It’s what separates a commodity from someone or something that is unique, relevant, different and inspiring even if we are all selling the same products or services. Those who “get” you are those who will gravitate towards you and want to buy from you.”


I shared how my client, Chuck Ware, when through the process of discovering his passion. Here is a list of just a few problems Chuck discovered he is passionate about:

After talking it through for a few hours it dawned on Chuck. He said, “Don, I feel really passionate about:


  • The lack of caring in the moving industry. Employees are disposable in many companies and they can be replaced. There is no reason for them to care if they don’t feel cared for.
  • The lack of professionalism. People who start moving companies aren’t business owners and rarely stop to think about moving as a business and therefore they hire anyone who is able and willing to pick something up and drop it off without any professional training or expectations.
  • It’s just  a J O B and it’s all about me instead of the customer.”




Question #2 – What Tangible Values Do Your Clients Receive and How Do They Feel after They’ve Done Business with You?


A tangible value for a service is how does the experience leave your customer/client feeling about you because you solved a problem or met a need?

Each tangible value offers a solution and is attached to an emotion.

Another client I am working with is creating a business that works with youth sport leagues. Here are the tangible values that they came up with:


  • Healthy kids make healthy adults that are empowered to live active, productive lives.
  • Developing young people to become responsible citizens as adults and contribute positively in society.
  • Provide opportunities so that every kid can play the sport of their choice and become more physically active and emotionally healthy.
  • Training responsible volunteers that make a difference in kids lives.
  • Create funding opportunities for your sports leagues so that no kid is ever denied an opportunity to play a sport.


This kind of clarity is powerful! It enables the business owner to move from talking about themselves to identifying with and talking about the prospect and customer.

Clarity through understanding the tangible values we offer our customers also helps us to gain clarity around our mission and purpose. In a real sense, marketing allows us to share how we make a difference in the world and it helps us discover our purpose and mission in life and business.


Question #3 – What Problems Do You Specifically Solve?


I ask my clients to write out as many specific problems as they can and in first person as if they are the person experiencing the problem, issue or struggle.

The key here is to attach the problem to each individual tangible value.

This one is more logical than emotional, just write out the problem in one bullet sentence.


Look at the Whole Picture


It’s time to zoom out now and organize your thoughts. Does each tangible value fall in line with your passion? If not, it’s gotta go no matter how great and wonderful it is. It will just become a distraction to your message and business. Everything you do moving forward is filtered through your tangible values.

Does each problem really fit with each tangible value?

Now, we can look at each tangible value and assign a word to it that best exemplifies or explains it and when you do, your vision will suddenly start to appear.

It’s been there the whole time.

Now, when someone asks you “what do you do?” you can answer them by sharing what “business you are “really” in.”


You Shouldn’t Try This By Yourself


You just shouldn’t, no matter how tempting it is.


Because you are stuck in your own box and you can only see things the way you’ve crafted them to be seen.

I can guarantee you that you will NEVER be able to truly pull it out of yourself because you don’t know what questions to ask yourself and you will always find a way to justify the answer you want instead of what it should really be in the event there is a conflict.

Every great creation or invention had collaboration.


  • Thomas Edison had Nikola Tesla and JP Morgan
  • Henry Ford with C. Harold Wills
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak


I could go on but I’ll spare you, lol… the point is that you can’t see outside yourself.

If you feel that I might be a good fit to help you discover your vision, purpose, mission and audience and how to converse with them in a way that is meaningful, relevant and compelling then I would love the opportunity to get to know you and your company.

I am offering a free 30 minute consultation. If you’re interested all you have to do is visit the Foundations of Internet Marketing page and learn how I can help you change your business forever and fill out the form to schedule your time with me. There is no commitment or obligation if you chose to talk with me.





If you have a thought, question or comment please leave it below in the comments section. I would love to extend a conversation with you and each of my readers and followers. 


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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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22 thoughts on “What is a Vision and How Can It Transform My Business?

  1. Hey Don!!

    What an epic post on Vision! … this is the information to get a newbie online, get started on the right path to success!

    You must have a VISION and make sure you keep that vision alive no matter what. That vision is what will keep you going through the hard times.

    This is something I have learned from one of my mentors online – “Burning out comes from a lack of vision!”.

    Passion also is very very important. If you want to create great things, you must be passionate about these things. As simple as that!

    Passion will drive you to places nothing else can! 😉

    Great tips on this post man!

    Thank you for sharing this awesome information, Don!

    Have a great rest of the week!


    1. Hi Freddy,

      You are absolutely right… vision will help you through the challenges and adversity. That’s an excellent point!

      Burnout can come from a lack of vision, but it’s also a function of losing passion due to fatigue, lack of results and frustration, etc… I do agree though that if you have the vision and plan in place and stick to it because you believe in it the adversity can be overcome.

      I appreciate your comment Freddie! I’m looking forward to a few days off for the holiday weekend and plan to rest, read and prepare for the push into the second half of the year.

      Exciting things are ahead!

      Have a great start to your weekend!

      ~ Don

  2. People tend to skip this.

    I remember back then that I keep reading about the importance of a Mission and a Vision for a company.

    I crapped all over that and did it the way I wanted to.

    Long story short, I plateaued and eventually failed with my first business.

    Just shows how important it is.

    Love the questions/validations and points about Passion (which I tend to lose when I get bored and eventually rekindle = bad habit of mine that I’m correcting now)

    Love this article Don!

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Thank you so much for your transparency and openness! I really appreciate your comment.

      Mission always flows out of vision and we’ve already established that the majority of businesses don’t have a vision. Hence, the road to failure…

      I’m sorry your business failed but I’m sure the learning lessons were extremely valuable to you? I know my failures have been huge for me!

      Thanks so much for commenting Dennis and I hope you have a great week!

      ~ Don

  3. Hi Don,
    This is very true

    “Instead, passion is tied to somehow making a difference in the world.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    The difference we make in the world relates to how we use our passion to create a vision.

    Understanding what this passion is and how it can be channeled to solve problems for people is very important!

    Every tangible thought and action we display should readily help in determining the bigger picture!

    This post has made my to reconsider what I really think of ‘vision’. I guess its time to put in the passion to make a difference in the world 😉
    This comment was shared in kingged.com as well.

    1. Hi Sunday,

      It’s really exciting to me that you were challenged to think more deeply about vision and how passion is tied to it to make a difference in the world.

      As business owners, we have incredible opportunities to make a difference in our communities both online and especially offline; and that in turns gives people a reason to identify with us and be passionate about buying from us.

      Thanks so much for sharing!!!

      ~ Don

  4. If you are starting a business, doing what you love and are passionate about is important because it’s the only thing that will keep you coming back when things get hard. And they will get hard, especially in this economy.

    I’d also like to add that a business consultant is helpful. Especially in the beginning. When I started an industrial tool distributorship, my attitude was “just because we didn’t sell it yesterday doesn’t mean we can’t sell it today.”
    When someone asked me what I do, all I could say was, “I can tell you what we don’t sell . . . we don’t sell hamburgers.” But that gave the person no idea what I did. With the help of a business consultant, I realized what I should be saying is “I sell OEM and MRO merchandise to companies that make their own products.” Every company I sold to made a product completely different than every other company. This statement was broad enough to mean something to each company because each company purchased OEM and MRO items. And it gave me better focus on what I did, not what I didn’t do. So it also gave me an idea what I shouldn’t be selling too.

    1. Hi Marty,

      Thanks for such a fantastic and enlightening comment. I appreciate your perspective!!!!

      You’re absolutely right, telling people what you don’t do gives them no idea of what you really do to help their business.

      Even still, I think your what say can be improved upon significantly and can get people thinking more deeply about their business and in turn get them thinking about you because of the impression that you left on them.

      Again, thanks so much for a great comment Marty!!!!

      I hope you have an awesome week ahead.

      ~ Don

  5. Hi Don,

    I never thought Passion and the Vision goes together. Oftentimes, I separate the two. But you’re right. You have to be passionate about something if you’re going to do it. A lot of businesses lack the vision, including myself. I admit.

    Just after talking to you on the phone, that one question you asked me, “What problems are you passionate about?” I just couldn’t answer that question. I am praying diligently now for God to REVEAL me this VISION.

    I thought I have always been a visionary person. A person who has a DREAM…

    But Dream and Vision are two different things. A Dream is something you “desire” and longing. However, a Vision is something that you have to acknowledge where the “real problem” is and what your business “really is”. Wow…you made me think so hard. And now, I feel like I have a lot of work to do with my website and my VISION.

    I am still reading your book “The Shift” and I intend to dedicate myself this week just to finish your book. I know that being a Graphic Designer yourself…you can understand me a lot. Where my frustrations are coming from. The LACK OF VISION in my part is what made me almost throw in the towel…I was just ready to give up on this blogging business. I know two years is not a lot but to me, who never blog her business before that is a long time. And not seeing the RESULTS I wanted to see, I started to think…BROKEN DREAMS.

    WOW…thank you for giving me HOPE. I am praying to God about my business and that VISION to be revealed before my very eyes. If only I can get a CLEAR “tangible value” across my mind, then the VISION will come through.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Angela,

      Vision and passion are inseparable… for a vision to be real you have to feel it and experience is as well as be able to logically communicate it.

      As I said in the article, to many are defining their vision by what they do. That’s simply not a vision.

      A dream and a vision can be the same thing… but they don’t have to be either. It’s up to us to give people a reason to buy from us. If we are saying the same thing as our competition then we are simply setting ourselves up to be a commodity that makes price the only reason for the consumer to buy us.

      But, if we can communicate our vision, passion, solve a specific problem for a specific person… then we are immediately connecting and resonating with our audience who is actually looking for us because we speak the same language as they do. We talk directly to them about their need and identify with them at a much deeper and more personal level.

      I’m so glad and excited that you got a copy of my eBook off of Amazon. No more BROKEN DREAMS… now it’s just a matter of gaining clarity so that you can focus on the real strategies and tactics that will actually help you execute wisely for your business.

      Your hope was always there, you just needed an opportunity to see it; and believe it or not your vision is there as well you just need to have it pulled out of you in a way that will allow you to express it more clearly.

      I’m excited for you Angela. I hope you have an incredible second half of your week!

      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don,

    You bet it’s important to have a vision.

    Unfortunately we know that many people working a job don’t have a vision, but as business owners, we, at least need to have one.

    I definitely have a vision, especially for my coaching business, I have created a handful of “marketing avatars” and I’ve created them based on what I can see myself helping people with.

    As I was talking to my coach the other day, she said there you have a niche right there. That was something I had not thought about, but all of those little details help me clarify my vision.

    I love yours by the way. Indeed, you’re very clear about YOUR vision and you’re doing great!


    1. Hi Sylviane,

      I think you’re right… and unfortunately to add to your thought most business owners have done nothing more than given themselves jobs inside their own companies.

      Their vision is to make money, support their families and have a certain lifestyle. In the end though, that is not a vision that is just a basic human need and desire that we all share. No one is inspired by that.

      Ones vision ought to be bold, challenging and exciting; and most importantly filled with passion because want to feel and experience the vision.

      I appreciate your kind words Sylviane and I’m looking forward to watching your vision unfold in front of you!

      Have a great second half of the week.

      ~ Don

  7. LOVE this post Don and one thing I learned over the years, is really, even with a crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve you gotta work with others to make the dream come true. We have promoted each other, we’ve helped one another, and folks like Adrienne and Donna and Carol, all great friends, we have supported one another big time. Then take it up another level: hire folks, or engage in business partnerships. You need help, to reach your goals. Nobody can do it solo.

    I am in the process of releasing a book with Matthew Capala. We’re looking to target solopreneurs. Irony alert; much of what solopreneurs do depends on working with others, to make their dreams come true. Both parties, that is. If you have a vision it’ll involve working with a greater number of folks along the way, to free more folks and to help more and more people. Wonderful how it all works. Thanks Don!!


    1. Hi Ryan,

      I agree with you but I also think it’s more… I think a vision is not attached to what I want but how I want to make a difference. When the world around me is better off because I’m here what I want has a way of taking care of itself.

      Helping one another; collaboration… that’s the real key to marketing success isn’t it. It’s like Zig Ziglar used to say; if you help enough people get what they want they will eventually help you get what you want.

      I’m looking forward to your book with Matthew. Please let me know when you release it so that I can be sure to promote it for you; and of course read it myself!

      Have a great week Ryan!

      ~ Don

  8. Hey Don,

    Look at you, sharing the formula but you are SO right. We shouldn’t try doing this alone. LOL!!! I can say that because I failed miserably.

    You are right about most businesses and entrepreneurs. We “think” we know what business we’re in but if you’re not having much success or not doing well at all then there is definitely a reason for that and it’s usually not because there is a lack of traffic to your site. Our messages are all over the place and we don’t have a clear enough vision. We might be passionate about something but when you aren’t combining the two as you should then it can be a disaster waiting to happen.

    You are right about getting ahead of ourselves because when you ask the question about what problems we’re passionate about we want to jump into solving them. I think that’s just how our brains are wired.

    I know a lot of people are set in their ways and they believe they’re on the right track. Sometimes it just takes them enough time until they realize that they don’t really have a clear enough vision and that’s when they need to give you a call. You really do know how to bring all of this out of us and I’m so thrilled to be working with you.

    Great share Don, thanks for this and you have a wonderful week.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I obviously couldn’t agree with you more, but the major metric to look at in my opinion that most businesses miss is this; revenue.

      Revenue can tell me a lot about a business or a company. It can tell me if the vision is clear, viable and received. It can tell me if the business is on message and reaching the intended audience.

      I’ve seen businesses who have great SEO and social media and the nicest looking website there is and yet they cannot make money. Why? They have the website traffic and followers but the money isn’t following month-after-month and year-after-year.

      I know the primary reason and it’s that the business has been focusing on the wrong things. It’s focusing on how great they are instead of really communicating with the “right” audience who is able, willing and ready to buy from them. Part of the problem is they have no idea who that audience should be or how to communicate with them.

      You are so right, a lot of people think they are on the right track; even after they have admitted that something is wrong. I will never understand that. The great business owners and entrepreneurs know there is a problem and will do what it takes to discover and solve it regardless of how it makes their egos feel because success is more important than the status quo.

      Great comment as always Adrienne. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have an incredible week!!!

      ~ Don

  9. Hi Don,

    Sometimes we think we know our vision. This is why I do believe that we need to bounce it off with a coach or mentor. I know my vision very well, and if something new is born, then I go with it. It is all about keeping centered on one specific part of our passion.

    I remember when my husband went to a one to one with Daegan Smith. We drove down to D.C. and he spent 4 days studying with him….all logical. But what he lacked was vision and Daegan kept him after class and said he would sit there all night with him if he couldn’t get it out.

    Meanwhile, back at the hotel I was staying at, I was using that time to create some ideas. It was almost midnight and I started getting worried about him, but cell phones were off. He came back to the room looking like he hadn’t slept for days. But…it was the best thing for him because he had walls he couldn’t break down and did so finding his purpose and vision. He’s a very logical kinda guy, but when put through the test, he was free!

    This is exactly why I don’t believe we could do this alone.


    1. Hi Donna,

      You are so right, sometimes we do think we know and yet we’ve lost our way somehow. Sometimes it’s through the monotony of business ownership and the heavy responsibilities of the day to day operations and other times it’s just a matter of losing focus.

      However, I think the overwhelming majority of business owners have simply never thought of their business in this way. Why would they? They’ve never been challenged or taught to think about how vision plays such a critical role in business development.

      Thanks for sharing your story, that’s really awesome and a great encouragement to anyone that you can find your passion and vision and live it out in a powerful way through a business.

      You guys are AWESOME Donna!

      I hope you have an awesome week.

      ~ Don

  10. Hey Don,

    Wow, this was a good one. The one thing I got out of this is that passion and vision goes hand in hand. i never really thought about these two like that.

    As I was reading through the article, I thought about my “About Me” page. I told myself, yes, I need to make some adjustments and be a bit more detail and transparent, although at the time I thought I was when I revamped it again.

    The fact that you shared with us your vision really gave me the inspiration to make those changes on my About Me page. Your vision is definitely a process, especially for the fact that I myself keep revamping this page LOL

    But as I keep doing this, I feel like I’m getting to know myself much better than before which helps me to stay even more true to myself. Your passion should definitely correlate with your vision, and once your clients see this consistency, then they will definitely be your advocates.

    Thanks for sharing Don! I hope you’re having a great week!

    1. Hi Sherman,

      Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate your comment!!!

      Many don’t correlate the two because the traditional way of being trained to think of vision is laying out a dream then adding a to do list to accomplish it. However, that’s not vision… that’s really nothing more than strategies and goals in my opinion.

      I’m glad you’re focusing on changing some of your message. Thanks for sharing that in some way I’m a part of that process for you. What a blessing!

      I appreciate you taking the time to read my article and comment on it. I hope you have an incredible week!

      ~ Don

  11. Hello Don, I think we all have a vision, it is just that some don’t realize it or perhaps don’t even care. Oh yeh we are all passionate about something Right?

    I am not saying that each and everyone of us want to make a difference in the world, but for those of us that do this article of yours is a must read.

    I just love how you shared your passions with us, Wow to be so clear on your vision is so Awesome..

    I am so happy I came upon this article here this morning on Kingged, such a great way to start my week .. This statement really got me thinking – My vision is a process not a result.. Wow What a valuable off you put out there…

    Thanks for sharing an Do Make it A great new week ahead…

    Chery :))

    1. Hi Chery,

      Absolutely, as I said in the article many times it’s there but it has to be discovered. That discovery process comes out when you know what passions you’re passionate about solving. It’s so exciting to watch when the lights turn on and someone starts to see their vision for the first time and realize how different it was from what they thought.

      Thank you so much for the encouragement and kind words. It’s also been a process for me but one I’m so happy with.

      I hope your weeks starts off strong Chery and thank you so much for sharing with me how you feel about the article.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Don

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