A business vision is meant to draw you forward, make you reach upward and beyond current reality. A vision is about what you can picture, what you want. You are allowed to dream a little. A vision is not about how and when. It’s useful to suspend any focus on the how and when. Just get to the what, the big picture, the end-result that is desired.
A visionary in business is not someone who has some special, almost magical insight, into what the future holds. It is not insight that has been gained after spending time on some mist-covered mountain. Great leaders, it seems to be believed, has great vision. Great leaders are also practical, with their feet firmly planted on the ground. They seldom distance themselves from their followers, and those who do eventually come to a fall. A vision is no more than a picture, in your mind, of what you want in the future. It is not fixed, but changes with time, as you change and as your priorities change.
Develop your business vision in the same way as your personal vision. Develop a picture of the future, starting with the end in mind. This should simply be a clear goal and a direction for the business, towards which the people involved with and working in the business can be oriented. The vision should convey a simple message about where the business intends going in the near to distant future. Where do you see your business going, what would you like it to achieve? What do you have in mind for your business? What is your primary aim? These questions should provide a useful starting point.
In order to clarify your vision the following questions are useful to consider:
- Why am I in business?
- What is my vision and mission for this business?
- What are the values of this company and how are they expressed or honoured?
- What have I done in the last 6 months to demonstrate my belief about my business and its values? – To my customers, colleagues and employees.
- Where do I see this business five years, ten years, twenty years from now?
- What do I see the business doing? Is it the best in your city, the region, the country? Is it small and known for its excellent quality and service? Is it large and known for being able to deliver quickly and almost anything the customers wants?
- What reputation does the business have?
- What kind of turnover/ sales are being made, what is the profit?
- How strong is the competition? How many copy-cats are there?
The difference between a vision and setting goals does not lie in what we are considering. When developing a vision the picture you paint in your mind shows what is possible. You describe what you want, what you dream about, but still within the realm of possibility. Goals on the other hand should be set clearly, be measurable, with a definite time-frame and a clear delivery or end date.