If the restaurant menu starts to look blurry or you can’t quite make out the traffic signs you get glasses. Without them you don’t know what to order and you could get lost!
So what happens when your business vision starts to blur? We business owners often start out with a clear vision for our business, but over time the day-to-day grind and the buffeting of market forces start to shift the business in unexpected directions. Your future becomes out of focus and you a no long sure where you are headed.
If this sounds like you then the start of a new fiscal year is the perfect time to bring things back into focus. Unfortunately we can’t simply prescribe glasses, but we can give you some tips on how to sharpen up your vision.
What does a business “vision statement” look like?
The first thing to clarify is what we mean by a business vision. Quite simply it is what you, as a business owner, envisage for the future of the business.
Sharpening your vision requires you to take some time for self-reflection. Ask yourself where you want the business to be in 5 or 10 years time. How big do you want to the business to become? What values do you want the business to reflect? What contributions do you want your business to make to society?
Your “vision statement” then becomes a vivid description of what things will be like once you have attained that future business. Generally the statement is expressed in the present tense – as though you have already arrived at your future.
In owner-operated businesses the “vision statement” is inexorably linked to the personal values and objectives of the owner. So it is critical that you be honest with yourself. What do YOU want the business to look like and how will that affect your life?
Depending on what’s important for you and your business, the vision statement can take a number of different forms.
A quantitative vision focuses on numbers and size. So perhaps your vision is simply to be the biggest plumbing business on the Coffs Coast, or the have a turnover greater than $1million.
Microsoft’s vision is quantitative, although as you’d expect on a very large scale:
Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
A qualitative vision is focused on skills and achievement rather than numbers. So perhaps your vision is to be the provider of the best quality interior design services on the Coffs Coast.
The global cosmetics company Avon’s vision is just as grand as Microsofts, but the focus is qualitative:
To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally.
Competitor Based Vision
Sometimes businesses express their vision in relation to their competitors. So perhaps your vision is to outsmart your competitors and become the sole provider of your product or service on the Coffs Coast.
In the 1960s Nike had the ultimate competitor based vision:
Role Model Vision
Sometimes a role model can be used to express your vision. So perhaps you want your salon to become the Coffs Coast version of The Salon by Maxime on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.
In earlier times, then upstart university Stanford’s vision was:
To become the Harvard of the West.
Your business may be setting out to change the world, or at least a sliver of it. In this case your vision statement should be transformation. So for example, your solar panel business might have a vision to see the entire Coffs Coast powered by solar.
Tesla, unsurprisingly, has a highly transformational vision:
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Anything in between
It is not absolutely necessary to distill a vision down to a single sentence. If your vision is more complex, don’t be afraid to spell it out in detail. Your vision statement is YOUR guiding light. There is no right or wrong. So long as your vision statement brings the future into focus it is right for you and your business.