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Be the Architect of Your Own Vision: The Key Behaviors of Entrepreneurs, Part 2

Note: this post is part two of a six-part series on essential behaviors of entrepreneurs, as identified by Ernst & Young in the survey “Nature or Nurture? Decoding the DNA of the entrepreneur.” Read a summary of the report here. Read part one here.

Would Americans eat healthy food if it were as quick, convenient, and affordable as junk food? Mike Roberts, a former president and COO of McDonalds, is betting the answer is yes, and he’s got an ambitious plan to make good-for-you food compete with the many deep-fried offerings by combining sustainability with fast-food efficiency. Right now Roberts’ brainchild, LYFE Kitchen, only has one location—in Palo Alto, California—but his team plans to scale it to hundreds of locations across the country over the next few years.

“We’re in the middle of the first stage of the food revolution,” he told Wired. “I’m dreaming of a place where science, medicine, producers, farmers, and restaurateurs meet to say we are on a journey together.”

Mike Roberts is a man with a vision.

Ernst & Young say one of the six key behaviors of successful entrepreneurs is to “be the architect of your own vision: passionate and focused.” They note that when entrepreneurs succeed, “it is because they have been able to help people come together around a common purpose to achieve a goal. This kind of achievement does not come from good tactics, management or strategy. It comes from a vision owned not only by the people in the business, but also by investors, customers, suppliers and all of the people that the organization touches.”

LYFE Kitchen uses no butter, cream, white flour, white sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, and nothing is fried. All of its meals are under 600 calories. The produce is locally sourced and organic whenever possible, and the meat is free of hormones and antibiotics. Going beyond the food, the restaurant itself is green, using LED lighting, recycled building materials, and energy-efficient equipment.

This would all be de rigueur in a locavore hub like Brooklyn or Portland or San Francisco. But to make it fast and affordable, and available to the non-foodie set, is a true innovation. Using a modernized version of the prepackaging and assembly line preparation methods perfected by McDonalds, LYFE Kitchen makes healthy meals available in minutes.

Roberts has assembled a formidable team of people who believe in his vision, from other fast-food veterans to former Oprah chefs to physicians to professional athletes to movie studio execs to venture capitalists. Together they plan to do nothing less than change the way Americans eat when they’re on the go.

When Ernst & Young asked 685 successful entrepreneurs what the most important qualities of entrepreneurial leaders are, 76% of respondents chose vision—more than any other quality on the list. If you want to grow your business, you need to have a well-defined goal in mind, and you need to be able to communicate your goal in a way that will convince other people to join you.

Start by crafting a strong mission statement that sets long- and short-term goals. This will help you refine your idea and make it crystal clear. This will also help you stay on track when life gets hectic.

Learn to talk about your vision in a convincing way. You want to be able to present it in an elevator pitch or a PowerPoint presentation. If public speaking is not your forte, practice in front of your family or your pets. You may even want to take a public speaking class or a storytelling workshop to hone your skills.

The more convincingly you can speak about your vision, the more likely you are to find people who believe in it—and in you.

And if you’re sitting down for lunch at a LYFE Kitchen a few years from now, remember that Mike Roberts’ daring vision is the reason you get to enjoy your quick, healthy, affordable meal.

Related Posts

Drive, Tenacity, Persistence: The Key Behaviors of Entrepreneurs, Part 1
Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
5 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Started In College
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