This article about creating your business vision is a summary only. Some things need to be expanded and will be expanded over time. My hope is that you will learn something which you could start to apply or discuss amongst your board members.
If you are to create and build a (potentially large) self sustaining business that is a great fit for the time we live in I would suggest you need a vision statement.
A strong vision statement is something people can hang on to. In good times and bad, people like to feel well led and to believe in something. There is going to be some work activities which people won’t like doing but will happily role their sleeves up if they can see it relates to helping to build a great business.
All of us will have likely experienced personally creating something which brings us joy. We want the end result and realise there are going to be some things we have to do which we may not like doing to reach the outcome we want.
People. by which I mean; employees, directors, suppliers and other stakeholders will use and believe in your business vision if it’s well thought through.
Difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement
I think there is a difference between an organisations mission and vision although I’m also certain some people will wish to debate that with me. A vision statement answers one of the biggest question of all. And that question is “Where do You Want to Be”
Mission statements tends to define the present state of a business. What does your business do, who does it do it for and how do you do it?
The important thing to remember about your organisation is that it’s not static, it moves forward as the world moves forward, things change, competition changes, technology changes, society changes, governments change and so on.
In a way, your vision statement is about the future state that you want. The reason why your business exists, the reason why your staff will roll their sleave’s up and go the extra mile. Your vision is both aspirational and inspirational.
Does my vision statement have to be based on what my business does now?
This is an interesting question and the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. In a perfect world we would decide on a business, perhaps something we love or think there’s a demand for and then create it.
The thing is though, we don’t live in a perfect world. If anything the world in general and businesses in general are very far from perfect.
From a practical standpoint, it may be easier to build our great business from what we already have. Many companies do just that but there are just as many that move far away from their humble beginnings.
Take Lammot DuPont for example, they started by developing a way to manufacture black gun cheaper and improve it to produce a stronger explosive blast. It’s business is now involved in polymer adhesives, insecticides and fire extinguishers.
Nokia started as a paper mill before moving into cables and then mobile phones.
If you want to see other business which have changed have a peek at these
Before jumping to the conclusion that you can just dream what business you want to create and then say it to the world, it might be best to pause and reflect a bit.
Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Imagine you’re a paper mill and you decide to invent something called a mobile phone, what do you think would happen? Onlookers, including your investors, fellow directors, staff, stakeholders, your spouse/significant other will likely think you’ve lost the plot.
There is though something else you could do and it really applies now but would have been much harder pre 1991. 1991 was when someone called Tim Berners-Lee created a way to link data together using HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The WWW was born and the rest as they say is history.
So, if you the leader wants to change direction in a massive way, you now have a model to test the market. How exactly would you test the market with your new vision?
Buy a new web domain and create a new business and a new offer. It could be under the auspices of your existing business if you wished. You could use your existing team to implement and play around. It’s very low cost and the risk is therefore very low.
I use more than one domain for the same reason. If I tried to use just one domain, people would be completely baffled.
If you do have ideas for changing direction and have a new vision, the one thing you must recognise is to consider your current circumstances. What resources do you have; people, money, offices etc.
Once you’ve worked out the future and where you are currently you can start to plan the steps necessary to get you there.