Last week I shared some insight from Fred DeLuca, founder and owner of Subway Sandwiches, the number one franchise on the AllBusiness AllStar Franchise ranking for 2009, about how few overnight wonders there are in our entrepreneurial world. Business success takes a solid plan, some money (obviously), hard work, a dose of luck, and vision.
Vision can be a hard concept for entrepreneurs. Are you supposed to think big picture and imagine several years and millions of dollars from now? Or do you need to map out your short-term goals and in essence have multiple visions?
The “vision thing” came up when I was talking with DeLuca a few months ago while we were at the annual meeting of the International Franchise Association (IFA). I asked him when he first knew he’d “made it,” and considering Subway is a multi-billion dollar company I was surprised when he told me, “Made it? I still don’t think I can go as far as I want when it comes to the big vision of what’s possible.”
For as long as I’ve known DeLuca (over 20 years) he’s always been a goal-setter. Several times over the years DeLuca’s goal was to open at least 1,000 new Subways a year. But he insists he never had a single “I see the future” vision. In fact, DeLuca doesn’t really believe in “big picture, far into the future” goals. “I believe in limited vision,” he said. “You can’t see that far ahead. It’s like driving down [the highway]; you need to know where you’re going. In order to keep heading in the right direction, you just keep plugging along with your eyes on the road directly in front of you.”