How your VISION can help you build a great business!
Many of the world’s most successful businesses have had a clear and concise VISION - i.e. a succinct and inspiring way of explaning what the company is striving to achieve. For example, the Ford Motor Company’s vision is ‘To become the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services’ – a clear statement of what the Company is all about.
When Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded the Microsoft Corporation in 1975, they had a simple but powerful vision for the new company: ‘A PC on every desk and in every home.’ In 1999, as the business had moved on, they redefined Microsoft’s vision as ‘Empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.’
Okay, so it may work for giants like Ford and Microsoft, but is it relevant for smaller businesses? What are the benefits of having a clear vision for your business? Can something so simple really make a difference to your future success?
Well, firstly, articulating your vision for the future demands that that you are 100% clear on what you want the business to achieve and this in itself can be an enlightening and liberating experience. Stephen R. Covey says in his book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ - “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.” The vision provides the guidelines that help you make your daily decisions and set the priorities in your business, so you are always moving towards your goals.
Secondly, clearly articulating your vision also acts to set the internal compass in the brain (called the Reticular Activating System), meaning that you are more likely to become aware of the things which will help you achieve your desired future state. This is sometimes known as the Law of Attraction, which you may well have experienced yourself – once you have identified what it is you need and have focused your mind on it, it often comes along.
Thirdly, a clear vision describes to your team, your customers and your suppliers what your business is all about and where it is going. Being able to share this important information proactively rather than everyone having to second guess will help you build stronger relationships with the right people. For example, your team will be more motivated as they will be able to see how they can contribute to achieving the vision.
How do you create a vision for your business?
The vision for your business should be longer term, inspiring, challenging and believable. You need to start with a vivid picture in your mind of what you want to create or what you want the end result to be. This should be something that excites and motivates you.
Choose a specific time frame, somewhere between 5-20 years out and form a vivid description of your envisioned future, then capture it in words. This should be:
- A clear picture of the desired future that you can actually visualise;
- Inspiring - not expressed solely in numbers;
- Describing your aspirations for the future, not the means used to achieve those desired ends.
For example, the statement ‘To sell 100,000 units per year by 2020’ is not as inspiring as ‘By 2020, to be recognised as the leading distributor of quality units in the South, operating from 5 state-of-the-art showrooms, with the largest range and best customer service in the market.’ Be creative, and give yourself something great to aim for.
The process of creating a vision for your business shouldn’t be rushed and requires some quality time working on the business. It is often coupled with exploring the real purpose or ‘being’ of your organisation and exploring the core values you uphold, so take time out with your team to and make sure you do it right, not just tick the boxes and move on.
Creating the vision is one thing but making it a reality is quite another. Too many vision statements are left hanging in reception and are forgotten about, so to avoid this happening in your business, you need to ensure that:
· Everyone in the business is involved with the creation of the vision statement and therefore buys in to it;
· Your vision is communicated to everyone who interacts internally or externally with the business – especially customers and suppliers;
· You live the vision in your day- to-day operations. You have to take action to make the vision a reality. Behaving as if you are already part of the best business in the market will help you to achieve that vision.
Creating a compelling vision for your business will help you to understand the business you are really in and how you want your future to be – this can be very motivating for you as a business owner and for your team. After all, we all want to be part of something great. Having an impartial ‘outsider’ to facilitate the process for you can help you to ensure you end up with a vision which is truly inspiring and enduring, not solely about beating the competition. Why just be good, when you can be great?
So take action now and create the vision for your perfect future business!