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The importance of vision: owning it and sharing it
Most businesses start with a vision, a vision imagined by an entrepreneur or businessperson who knows exactly what they want. They devote hours and hours (more like months, sometimes even years) to thinking about what that business will be. They concentrate on who their target market is; what kind of customers they will be working with; what kind of services they will be delivering and what their point of differentiation will be. Usually the vision of their business is strong before they set out to make it happen.
And while the vision is clear to them, that’s often where the problem lies – the vision is in their heads and it’s not shared with the rest of the business and this often leads my many visions not being realised.
The potential for problems arises in the early stages where the business owner fails to even write down their vision – to make it visible from the start so that it helps define a greater purpose . Then, as the business starts to experience growth and new people come on board, the vision is not clear to them simply because they haven’t been told about it.
When nobody knows where they’re heading, what the aims of the business are and how it’s intended that they get there, the potential for frustration is huge.
People working in the business don’t know why certain decisions are made and the owner doesn’t understand why everybody isn’t on the same page. But, worse than the frustration is the reality that, until the vision is shared and worked through, it’s not going to be realised.
The benefit of having everyone on the same bus, going to the same destination and following the same route is obvious, but it’s about more than that. A vision shared by all means everyone in your business can make better decisions linked to strategies focused on delivering real and tangible outputs. This can mean better hiring decision, better buy-in and engagement from teams, as well as the ability for everyone to connect what it is they do every day to the greater ‘reason for being’ of your organisation.
There are a number of ways you can look to develop a vision and get more from your business ; this checklist based on the Entrepreneurial Operating System is a great place to start:
- What are your core values? Have you set values as a guiding principal that brings purpose to why employees come to work?
- What is your core focus? All too often businesses chase opportunities that might sound great but they actually distract from the core business. If you continually look at core focus and ensure every opportunity aligns to that core focus, you are setting up your business to achieve what it actually set out to do.
- Set forward thinking goals. Start with a ten-year goal that is far ahead of and larger than you would potentially look to commit to. Where do you see this business in 10 years time? Where do you want to be? Which customers do you want to be working with? What products and technologies do you want to be working with? Then pare that back to ask and put in place what you need to achieve in , three years and then in one year.
- Build a marketing strategy rather than just a marketing campaign. Gain an understanding of who your ideal customer is. Who do you want to work with? What differentiates you in the market? Is what you have compelling enough to make someone want to buy from you? Remember that you can’t be all things to all people. To crystallise your marketing strategy go back to your focus; if it’s not in your focus it should not be in your strategy.
- Share your vision. Make sure it is written down so that it can be shared amongst your leadership team and distilled to every member of staff. Once that vision is clearly defined and everyone has bought into it, it becomes the purpose that you lead the business with. It is something you can always come back to - why we are doing this?
If you have the vision, you share it and you adhere to it, you are giving your business the best opportunity to succeed.