By Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker
Your vision will become the driving force of your business. If you have a clear vision, it will be easier to get other people to understand it and follow you on your quest to fulfill it. You will be able to share your vision successfully with customers, partners, employees, or investors.
Is Your Vision Compelling?
When developing your vision, work to avoid clichés that convey no meaning. Do you think you could get anyone to understand and share the following vision statement that I found online?
“We continually pursue mission-critical catalysts for change while continuing to completely operationalize emerging content.”
Compare that statement to these excellent examples of compelling, enduring visions:
- “To organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” — Google
- “To be the pulse of the planet.” — Twitter
- “To be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” —Amazon
Will Your Vision Pass the Test of Time?
A vision statement must be timeless – something that transcends changing technologies, trends or social media. That’s why Google doesn’t mention search, Amazon doesn’t mention books, and Twitter says nothing about apps or tweets. A vision lets you set goals that define your path and progress. It allows you to chart out a strategy by choosing different tactics to achieve it, and lets everyone know what direction they are going. Think of a pyramid with the bottom layer forming the foundation – the vision. Then this is topped by longer term goals like strategy, then tactics, and then activities.
Here is a real life example of the need for that foundation: Naman Sarawagi, Founder of FindYogi.com said his one failure depended on having a company-wide business vision: “In the initial days I failed in building a team that believed in the vision. Working for a technology startup is the in-thing in India. I ended up with a team that was joining for fancy titles and not prepared to take the pain. Now I spend more time in hiring and engaging with potential hires.”
Does Your Vision Reflect Your Ultimate Goal?
Your company’s vision statement can also be thought of as a target or picture of what you want to become — your ultimate goal. It can unify everyone in the organization around the reason to exist and guide the longer-term strategic director. “Stay focused and do not give in to short term temptations,” Sarawagi added. Vision for the long term goal will keep you going. Building something valuable is hard, and it can only be done with persistence.
In order to define your vision, ask yourself some questions:
- What is your business idea?
- What is your ultimate, overarching goal?
- What industry are you in?
- Who is your customer?
- What needs do you seek to fill in the long-run ?
- How will you distinguish your business from competitors?
- Where do you see yourself and your business in five years? Ten?
According to Jason Halstead, founder of Gist Brands, “When developing your vision statement, keep in mind that however you tackle it and choose to word it, at the most basic level you are trying to dig out and articulate your: (a) compelling reason for being and (b) clear vision for success. If you can get that out, in any form, you’re well on your way.”
We have just released The Startup Roadmap: 21 Steps to Profitability. The Startup Roadmap is a step-by-step guide designed to help you understand the mechanics of starting and running a profitable new business. The print edition is available on Amazon. For a limited time, you can get a complementary eCopy at our website (click here).
Once you have downloaded your complimentary eCopy of The Startup Roadmap, we hope you’ll do one of four things: Use it to help you launch your own business, email us to let us know what you think (firstname.lastname@example.org), write a review on Amazon, and/or tell your friends about the book.
Ed McLaughlin is currently co-writing the book, The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business, with Wyn Lydecker and Paul McLaughlin.
Copyright © 2015 by Ed McLaughlin All rights reserved.