Dream big – in pictures – and bring your small business vision to life


Oprah uses them. And so do many Australian business owners and entrepreneurs.

They’re vision boards – a collage of images projecting where you want to be in the future. Think of them as visual business plans – a way to capture in images what you want to achieve in business and in life.

We speak to three business owners who say vision boards have proved essential to making their goals a reality.

Visualise your success

No-one has ever been inspired by a to-do list. That’s why Sydney business coach and motivational speaker Jen Harwood loves vision boards.

“Pictures stimulate your mind and your feelings – you think ‘wouldn’t it be great if we won that, had that, or do that’,” she says.

Harwood regularly runs vision board workshops for small business owners and says the difference is clear.

“A word disappears once it’s out of your mouth. But a picture up on the wall is there until you take it down,” she says.

For Harwood, vision boards work far better than text-based goals.

One of her small business owner clients really wanted to land a half-million dollar contract with a major multinational. So he put the multinational’s logo on his vision board. 18 months later, his vision – and hard work – paid off. Other business owners put pictures of awards they want to win, community ventures they want to found, the turnover they want, or the team they want to build.

“Vision boards provide hope and a future to live into,” Harwood says. “They’re a more permanent reminder of your commitment.”

And she says making a vision board is simple: pin quotes you like and pictures you cut from magazines to a corkboard.

Jen Harwood’s inpirational vision board

From the Gold Coast to Las Vegas

When Gold Coast entrepreneur Jellaine Dee quit her marketing job to make her mark in the beauty industry, she found she needed a powerful reminder of what she wanted to achieve.

So she created a vision board with pictures cut from magazines.

She included pictures of people and brands she admired, such as Oprah and Chanel. She also included images representing what she wanted to achieve, such as travel destinations like Las where she hoped to find distributors for her brand-new Cherry Blooms brand.

Then she set about making her vision a reality. She took her baby daughter and suitcases of her fibre eyelash extensions to the world’s largest beauty expo in Las Vegas.

“I place my boards in front of my desk in my office to inspire me.”

She returned with empty suitcases, new contracts and hit $1 million in sales within a year.

In 2010, she met Oprah, her hero. Three years later, she won the Telstra Young Women’s Business Award.

“The power of goal setting and visualising this daily propelled me to start Cherry Blooms [and] maintain resilience in everything I faced,” Dee says.

“When I make a vision board, it's the intention of the life I want to create,” she says. “It's an everyday reminder of what I’m striving for and what I’m creating. I place my boards in front of my desk in my office to inspire me to make those small steps every single day that will result in achieving my goals."

A vision for bridal design

For Melbourne bridal designer Leah Sukroo, vision boards are an essential part of her new business strategy.

“When I launched my bridal business, Leah S Designs ten years ago, I created vision boards to inspire each design and collection,” she says.

“Last year, when I decided to expand my business into jewelry design, I returned to the process to help me set my long-term goals and to inspire the look and feel of my first collection.”

bridal designer leah sukroo's jewelry line

Sukroo, who launched her new line Hello Lovers in late 2016, says her vision boards encompass all the elements that inspire her.

“I draw inspiration for the collections from the natural environment, so my boards include plants, flowers, material – even shells. But I also incorporate inspirational messages, quotes, or pictures people who I’d love to wear my designs.”

She says her vision boards are a constant reminder of why she started her businesses and her long-term strategy.

“They’re in my workspace, so every time I need inspiration, or if I’m having a bad day, I can spend a few moments remembering why I started the business in the first place.”