According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Vision is “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom”.
I personally think, at least in a business sense, that your Vision is much more than this.
Your Vision is a succinct yet powerful long-term goal that is aspirational and both excites you and scares you at the same time.
It defines why your business exists and is the governing principle behind everything you, and your employees, do in the business.
But most importantly, your Vision needs to be something that resonates deep within you.
Visionary Leaders Have A Powerful Vision
Someone I really admire is Elon Musk who is the face of both Tesla and SpaceX. His core Vision is simple, yet it perfectly sums up what he is passionate about.
“To Enable the Future of Humanity”.
Do you think that this Vision ticks all the boxes in terms of what I think a Vision should be? Let’s have a look.
- It’s most definitely aspirational;
- I’m sure that it both excites him and scares him;
- It defines why his businesses exist;
- It would be the governing principle behind everything he, and his employees do in the business; and
- I would guarantee that it resonates deep within him.
Elon has managed to use 6 simple words to put together a powerful Vision that aligns with everything he is trying to achieve through Tesla and SpaceX and whatever other venture he decides to pursue next.
And there is no reason why you can’t do the same. But I bet your thinking to yourself “I can’t do that” or “I wouldn’t know where to start”.
Well – let me help you get started…
When creating your Vision, the first thing you need to do is visualise ten years into the future and write down four things you would like your business to become.
Depending where you are on your business journey, this might sound a bit tough. And I would bet that many of you would be thinking at this moment “I can’t even think of one thing!”
To help give you an idea, let me use a plumbing business as an example.
A plumbing business may want to become, or be known for it’s quick response time, having the best plumbers, having outstanding service following up clients and customers to make sure they were happy with the quality of work and providing innovative solutions.
If you use the plumbing business as a guide, do you think you could come up with at least four things that you would like your business to become in ten years?
I am sure you could.
2. Who Is Your Target Market?
The second question you should ask yourself when developing your Vision is who is your target market? Who are your ideal customers?
Now, it’s important to note that this target market may expand or contract over time, but if you can clearly define who your target market is, you can have an initial Vision which is very focused.
If we use the plumber business as an example, that particular business may want to put its focus on providing services to the residential housing market.
3. Where is Your Target Market?
In the early days of your business, it’s important to have a think about what your geographical boundary will be. However, with regards to your Vision, remember that we are looking 10 years into the future.
So, if you want to remain a local contractor, your geographical boundary might be restricted to the city you live in.
If you want to become a nationwide company, then your geographical boundary will be Australia (or whichever country your business is in).
If I use the plumbing example again, let’s assume that their preferred long-term target market is Sydney, Australia.
4. Putting It All Together
After you have really thought about and completed the first three steps, put the answers together. This will give you your first draft of your Vision Statement.
Remember to make it aspirational and ensure it scares you and excites you at the same time.
For completeness, I will once again use the responses from our plumbing business as an example.
Our plumbing business Vision for the next 10 years could be:
“To be the best plumbers in Sydney, Australia by continuously providing quick, innovative solutions and outstanding service to every home.”
Now, remember that this is just the starting point. You may be happy with your first draft. Or you may find that over time, you’ll either refine it further, or expand on it to suit your changing circumstance.
But I’d say if you can at least get to this point, you’re off to a pretty good start.
5. Vision Evolution
It is entirely likely that your Vision will evolve over time. Don’t feel that once you have a Vision that you are stuck with it!!
Your business may naturally grow into new markets. The demographic of your customers may change. Or you might end up providing a totally different product or service.
For example, the Vision for my business originally started off in much the same way, where my first draft was quite lengthy. It was:
“To release the full potential of tradie small business owners in Perth, Western Australia by providing them with intelligent cash flow solutions, efficient business processes and unrivalled support.”
I didn’t mind that to start with but there were a few too many words to remember and it wasn’t quite punchy enough or audacious enough.
However, the important thing was that I had a Vision which was compelling to me and aligned with my “Why”.
Over time, that Vision has evolved into:
“To unleash the untapped potential of your business”.
It may not mean that much to you (and it shouldn’t because it’s my Vision) but it is the one statement that gets me out of bed every day, ready to make a difference for my clients.
As Helen Keller once said – “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”.
Setting a Vision for you and your business is critically important. And yet, most businesses will not take the time to set that aspirational goal which should drive them to succeed.
What I’ve found is that when things get tough, the businesses with a strong Vision tend to push through the hard times because they are working and striving towards something important.
Those without a Vision tend not to have the resolve to push through so they eventually roll over and die.
To be successful in anything, you must look forward and know what the end goal is. Getting there needs to be non-negotiable for you. There is no other outcome.
If you don’t have that sense of aspiration and direction in your business right now, then I suggest you drop everything and get to work on it.
It just might be the most important thing you ever do…