Creating business mission and vision statements takes up a lot of senior management time in many big companies. The cynics would ask “why bother?”. Smaller companies often skip the process altogether. I’d argue that setting a business vision is essential to getting to the next level. I’d also recommend that the vision takes the form of a big hairy audacious goal.
Why do you need a business vision?
The vision needs to answer some fundamental questions, without which producing a meaningful business plan that will drive the business forward becomes very difficult.
Setting a business vision will clarify purpose:
- What exactly is the organisation here to do?
- What are the one or two things you want to be brilliant at?
- Who are the target customers?
- What do our target customers value most?
- Are the things we do best the same things that customers value most?
Where are you going to be in 5 years time? 10 years? Unless you can answer that question the business will drift along aimlessly, and will get nowhere near fulfilling its potential can a Shared view throughout the organisation.
We are all guilty of “shiny object syndrome” where we go running off after the latest great idea without thinking it through, and we pursue it until the next shiny object comes along. It makes for an interesting journey, but never provides the focus needed to take the business forward.
What do I do with my vision now I have one?
Communicate, make sure the vision is shared and understood, and the business team is behind it.
Think about your business values. While the vision looks well into the future your values should encompass the way you do business, and you need to be true to these on the journey.
The vision is the starting point for the business plan. The vision sets out a place you want to get to, the business plan outlines how you are going to do it.The business plan will set out the initiatives and projects that will be needed, usually across a 3-5 year period. It gives us a sequence of milestones on a journey. This in turn allows us to build up annual plans, targets, budgets, and forecasts.
Resources, whether people or money are going to be limited, so we want to make sure that the business only commits to doing things that are in the business plan.
Becoming brilliant at one or two things means really identifying what matters and focusing in on it. Becoming brilliant is as much about saying no to things as identifying what you need to do. Now go set that big, hairy, audacious goal.