Do you have a business vision? Everyone has a reason for starting a business. Whether you have a passion for a particular trade or profession which you can’t satisfy working for someone else, a desire to build your fortune one business at a time, or just want a change of lifestyle and to be your own boss, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have started your company by accident!
But understanding why you’re in business is one thing; knowing where you want to go is something very different. It’s the ability to create, define and share your business vision with those around you which can determine how you and your company grow, and ultimately how successful you both become.
So do you have a vision for your business for the next five or ten years, a view of where your company will be? And if so, is it one that you share with your colleagues, partners and staff?
What is a business vision?
A good starting point is to understand what is – and what isn’t – a business vision. Don’t confuse your vision with your company mission, your strapline or your business strategy. Your business mission is about delivering on your goals on a daily basis, the here and now – the business of doing business, if you like. Your vision will be looking much further ahead than this week, this month or even this year; it may be grounded in what you are doing now, but it’s about how you can take that starting point on to new levels or in new directions.
A strategy focuses on the ‘how’ you do business – the mechanics of how you are going to achieve those goals – rather than the destination you want your business to reach, and what shape you want it to be when it gets there.
So while mission, strategy and vision are all crucial elements to growing a successful business, and are closely linked, they are also separate concepts which should not be confused. And while your business vision statement may well include highly ambitious aims and objectives, it must still be organised, clearly expressed and grounded in reality for it to be successfully shared with a broader audience.
Where do you start with your business vision?
It may not be an exact science, but there are specific issues to consider and specific steps you can take to make sure that your vision can be easily shared, and presents a clear picture of where everyone agrees the organisation is going and how it’s going to get there. The following points should help you with the process.
- Know your business and your marketplace. Business leaders and owners often spend more of their time working in the company rather than on it, and when you’re dealing with the day-to-day detail and decision making, it can be easy to lose sight of the wider view of both your business and the markets in which you operate. So take some time to learn everything you can about your organisation and its position in the sector.
- Set appropriate, achievable goals. These should include not only where you want to get to, but also the steps you will need to take to get there. Although ‘how’ you complete this journey is very much part of your strategy, the milestones along the way, and the final destination, are part of that larger business vision.
- Consider and incorporate your company’s values. Every company has values, and defining these (if you haven’t already done so) is part of setting out your business vision. They may be single words (such as Adobe, who have four fundamental values – genuine, exceptional, innovative, involved), or longer statements of intent (for example, two of Google’s 10 values are ‘You can be serious without a suit’ and ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow’). But by defining them, and setting them alongside your goals, you will have two essential building blocks of your vision in place.
- Build on your mission statement. This is the third major building block for your vision – what you want to do in the long term must be rooted to a certain extent in what you are doing now.
- Make sure your vision is forward thinking. It may seem obvious, but you need to be looking at tomorrow future business developments for tomorrow, next week, next month and the next few years – including potential changes in your market and products – rather than getting bogged down in what’s happening today.
- Keep it clear and straightforward. A confused vision will mean you are less likely to have clearly defined aims and goals and are also less likely to achieve them. But perhaps, more importantly, a vision that is not easy to express or understand will not be easy to share, and it’s essential that everyone in the business can buy into the vision. If you’re in any doubt about that, research by Forbes suggests that employees who find their company’s vision to be meaningful have average engagement scores of 68%, while the average for those who don’t is down around 18%.
Make sure everyone is involved
It’s widely recognised that for a vision to be effective, everyone in the business – from key executives to first-level personnel – needs to understand and buy into it. That can be much easier to achieve if you involve all members of your team, as well as your customers, from the first planning meetings, to determine what will distinguish your business in the marketplace.
The creation of a successfully shared vision relies heavily on multi-level participation in its development and implementation. The contribution and involvement of those at all levels both inside and outside the business can harness the power of synergy to create a powerful vision, and increase motivation and commitment.
A succinct, easily-shared and powerfully expressed business vision can help to take your company to new heights and deliver real long-term success. To find out more about how we can help, contact our Strategic Corporate Finance team.
This post was written by Price Bailey Director, Chand Chudasama. If you need further information on any of the above please feel free to get in touch with Chand using the contact form below.
We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.