The New PB&J: See the Future

Haneel Tri-Vision
Image by John Kratz via Flickr

If you didn’t catch¬†the intro post to this series, I advise you go and read it.¬†Right now, we’ll wait.

Now that you’re back, here’s a thought you may not have known: Arthur Guinness (of Guinness beer fame) signed a 9000 year lease on December 31st, in 1759. The lease for St. James Gate Brewery won’t run out until the year 10759. Now ask yourself:

Do you think 9000 years in advance?

When it comes to social media and vision, 9000 years is probably way too far out. In fact, we’re willing to bet that social media will be incredibly different 5 years from now than it is right now. Remember: Twitter didn’t exist 6 years ago, and 10 years ago, AOL was the #1 site visited. But the question of vision is still there: in a given amount of time, where do you see your use of social media taking you?

As an example, here is the SmarterBiz vision for our use of social media:

In the time frame of a year, we envision upwards of 3000 followers interacting with SmarterBiz via various social interaction avenues, including our Facebook page, Twitter stream, and blog community. Through social media, we will have a prominent voice in the way that small businesses think and act on a regular basis regarding their marketing and use of technology. Our community will be simultaneously professional and open, with the ability to both think and laugh at, critique and encourage, create and consume ideas.

You’ll see that our vision is, as many strategic visions are, composed of three components: time frame, benchmark, & culture.

Time Frame

Give your vision a time frame. Arthur Guinness’ timeframe was expanded because he knew that the brewery, once established, wouldn’t be going anywhere. Hence the 9000 year lease. In the rapidly changing world of social media, though, a year is a good length of time. You can always adjust as you go.

Benchmark

In the given time frame, set yourself a realistic goal: where do you want to be? Is it a number of followers, visitors, or comments? Do you see yourself having a particular number of Facebook fans, or re-tweets, or blog posts in the given time frame? Set a goal, a benchmark, to be reached within the given time frame. For us, we examined where we are now (500 followers in 3 months) and expanded it out, allowing for growth and challenging ourselves at the same time.

Culture

A vision does not only include what you’re doing, and who you’re reaching, but it also includes who you are. What kind of culture will your business/organization have in the given timeframe? Here at SB, we don’t want to be stuffy…but we also want to be able to produce quality content and ideas that help you in the real world. But every once in a while, we’ll produce something tongue in cheek that also provokes thought.

Questions for Seeing the Future

  • Where do you want to be in 6 months? a year? 2 years?
  • What does your influence look like in that given timeframe?
  • Who is following you?
  • What do you do then?
  • What kind of culture is in your business/organization?

Guidelines for Seeing the Future

  • Your vision should be people first.
  • Start where you are, and then envision where you’ll be.
  • Keep your goals realistic, otherwise, you’ll be depressed when you constantly fail at reaching them.
  • Describe not just where you’ll be, but who you are.
  • Challenge yourself. Push yourself hard.

SB Wants to Know:

Where do you see yourself in 9000 years? Er…a year?

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