It would be hard to find a small business owner who doesn’t have plans, even big plans, for their business. However, those that truly have a vision for their business are harder to come by.
While the intention of your marketing and business development plans are to propel you into brighter future, they don’t constitute a vision. In fact, they should be rooted in the vision.
So, what does it mean to have a vision for your business?
In the true sense of the word, a vision is a mental construct, something only seen by the mind’s eye. In the world of business, the owner’s vision can, and should be described in a vision statement, but this is just a representation of your vision, which exists most vividly and vitally in your imagination, and in the imaginations of your staff.
But that doesn’t mean that a vision for your business should have the hazy quality of a dream or the improbability of a hallucination. Visions are most effective when they are clear, detailed and feel attainable.
The process of defining your vision for your business should include articulating the answers to key questions, such as:
- What will your company be like when it has matured?
- What will it consist of?
- What will you be doing in the business?
- What will your team members be like?
- What will the culture of your workplace be like?
- What forces would have shaped it?
- What will your greatest successes have been?
- What will give you and your team the greatest satisfaction?
- What will others be saying about your business?
It’s essential for a business to have a compelling and clear vision, which guides what you want it to be and how it will become that. Your vision is your roadmap to growth, development and transformation, all vital in today’s highly competitive, agile and fast-moving environment.
Developing a vision enables you to lift your focus from the here and now; to work out what you really want up ahead and to light up the path to getting there.
There are three critical factors that enable business owners to conceptualise a meaningful future of their businesses:
Doing the work
Visions are the product of a commitment of time and energy. They demand research and information-gathering, conversations and visualisations, and plenty of both creative and critical thinking.
Investing in knowledge
Knowledge empowers a visionary business owner to conceptualise the future. You will need to know and understand your industry and market, leadership and business principles; human behaviour and motivations amongst a host of other things.
Thinking for a change
Imagination and intellect are the powerful tools that we use to develop mental constructs such as visions. The process will involve blending our limitless imaginations with the consideration and analysis of knowledge to sort out what is possible and impossible, what is wanted and unwanted.
Sharing your vision
The process doesn’t end with formulating your vision. You can’t make the future you want for your business happen just by thinking about it. Your business’s strategic plans must be aligned to the vision and resources have to be allocated to moving the business forward.
The greatest resource available to you in this endeavour is your team. To be effective a vision needs to be shared and communicated. It should be compelling to your team members and entrenched in your workplace culture and practices