Overview: Inventor George Washington Carver said “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” That definitely applies to business owners. If you have no vision for the future of your business, you’re going nowhere fast! Today we’re talking about the importance of vision and written vision statements!
In last week’s blog post, we talked about how business owners can look ahead and make advance plans to ensure the financial success of their businesses. Today, we’d like to talk about another way business owners can look ahead. Today we’re talking about vision. And we don’t mean the type of vision an ophthalmologist tests for (or the android from The Avengers)!
For a business owner, “vision” refers to an idea or mental picture of where you want your company to be in the future. It’s an aspirational concept of what you hope your business will achieve in the long term — or even in the near future.
That might sound a bit abstract, but it’s important to have a vision for your business to keep you on the path to success. And in order to truly commit to your company’s vision, we recommend writing it all down in a “statement of vision” document.
>> Related Reading: What should be the vision of an entrepreneur?
The Benefits of Creating a Vision Statement for Your Business
Maybe you’ve been managing your own business for a while now and you’ve never thought about what your vision might be. Or maybe you’re a first-time entrepreneur and it hasn’t occurred to you to think about vision. But there are several reasons to consider putting your business vision down in words.
Direction: Articulating your vision provides a direction for your business and helps you to set clear objectives. If you decide that your vision includes increasing your sales by a certain percentage, you can then move on to figuring out how to get there.
Company Inspiration: Share your vision with your employees! A compelling vision can inspire and motivate them. When people have a clear idea of what they’re working toward, they’re often more engaged and committed.
A Starting Point for Strategic Planning: A clear vision provides the foundation for developing a company’s strategic plans. It guides decision-making and helps in evaluating opportunities and threats.
Decision-making: When you have a clearly defined vision for your business, you’ll most likely find it easier to make important decisions. When you’re faced with a choice of two or more possible directions to take, you can ask yourself: Which of these options is best aligned with my vision?
Culture and Values: When you clearly articulate your business vision, it will reflect your own values and philosophy, thus allowing your company to retain your personal touch as it grows and scales.
>> Related Reading: What is the difference between mission, vision and values statements?
Vision Statements for New Business Owners
Are you just starting out as an entrepreneur? If so, you can definitely benefit from creating a vision statement. When you’re new to owning your own business, it can feel like you’re the captain of a tiny boat adrift in a huge ocean. A vision statement can provide the navigation tools you need to reach dry land. But how do you start?
Don’t worry too much about nailing the perfect vision statement when you’re just starting out. You can always update it later when you need to. In fact, you should update it as your business evolves and your goals and aspirations change.
And if you’re intimidated by the thought of trying to decide where you want your business to be 30 years from now, we recommend starting smaller! Jot down some answers to a few questions: What do you hope your business will look like in five years — or even one year?
Are you hoping to increase the number of products or services you offer? Would you like to expand your staff or your physical workspace? And how will your business continue to reflect your own personal philosophy as it grows?
After a simple brainstorming session and taking a few notes, you can start to turn your basic thoughts into a full-fledged vision statement.
Vision Statements for Experienced Business Owners
So you’ve been at it a while. As we alluded to above, it’s likely that your vision for your business will change over time. This could manifest in any number of ways… Maybe you thought you knew who your primary audience was, only to discover new opportunities in an untapped market you hadn’t even thought about when you first created your vision statement.
Or maybe the product you thought would be the cornerstone of your business sees a dip in sales, and you realize a completely different product is more important to the future of your company. And maybe your accumulated experience and knowledge gives you new insights into what you want your company culture to be, or what you want your brand voice to be.
Go back and revisit your vision statement regularly — once a year should be good — to determine whether you need to make any changes to better match the vision statement to the current vision that lives inside your head.
Crafting Your Vision Statement
Could you still use some guidance on putting together your written vision statement? Here are a few tips on some things to think about.
Keep It Concise: If you want to keep a “long version” of your vision statement on hand for your own personal reminder of your company’s purpose, go right ahead. But when it comes to your “official” vision statement, it’s best to keep it short. Just a few lines or sentences will do. You want others to be able to grasp the basic idea quickly when they read it!
Consider Your Values and Purpose: What are the core values that are most important to you? As we mentioned above, your business should reflect your own values and philosophy of life.
Also think about why your company exists outside the day-to-day business of selling products and making money. Are you hoping to make a real difference in your industry, your community, or — if you really want to get ambitious — the world?
Look at the Present and Imagine the Future: Think about your business’s current structure, finances, workplace culture, strengths, and weaknesses. This will provide a picture of your present.
Then start dreaming. What are your long-term goals? And what are your short-term goals? If your aspirational goals include making big profits, that’s fine, although you might want to avoid specific numbers in your written vision statement.
Try to include a few details on how you’ll arrive at your goals. Once again, this will help give you a map you can use to navigate your company’s growth.
Seek Input: As you work on your vision statement, ask for feedback from mentors, partners, trusted employees, and anyone else whose opinion you value. Their insights can help shape your vision, and when they read your early drafts they can alert you to anything that seems unclear.
Remember It’s Never Complete: Your vision statement should be a living document. On those occasions that you revisit it, don’t be afraid to cut portions that no longer reflect your vision and add new items that better reflect your new perspective.
>> Related Reading: 22 Vision Statement Examples
If you want to move your business forward — and maintain that forward momentum — vision is key. And articulating your vision in a written vision statement can help ensure that you stay on track.
When we started MyUnlimitedWP, we had a vision of our own. Our vision includes staying on top of the latest tech trends, giving back to our community — and using our technical expertise and experience to help business owners keep their websites running smoothly!
If you’re interested in taking advantage of our website support services so you can spend more time focusing on making your own business vision a reality, please reach out to us today! We can’t wait to help you achieve your vision!