I recently read Ignite your Business by Andrew Selley and he starts off by insisting (if that’s not too strong a word) that every business needs a vision statement. That’s every business, even those with only one person.   The message is that a vision statement is not just for the big corporates.

I have talked about “purpose” before – why you do what you do – this just takes that a little bit further.  I think this is an exercise we can all do in our businesses as it brings a lot of insight to the table, especially if we do it with others in our team, or a trusted adviser or coach.

The point Selley makes is that having a vision statement will

✅ Separate you from the rest / from your competition

Create a culture (don’t worry if that’s only you)

and I would also add:

✅  Gives you clarity

Why wouldn’t you want the first?

And – why wouldn’t you want the second – even if you don’t have a team – you have associates, freelancers, CUSTOMERS!  All of those people can buy into a strong vision, and you will see the benefits.  It gives YOU a clear vision of where you want to go. It’s really not desirable to drift along with no sense of direction

If you do have a team then think of the vision statement as being something that will help get everyone pulling in the same direction, particularly if you can involve them in devising the statement. 

In order to get started here are a few questions you can ask (yourself!)

  • Why do we do what we do (purpose)?
  • Why do we care (about that)
  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What is our aim for the world – it’s about more than just us in our own wee world
  • How do we want people (what people) to FEEL – this is important, emotions drive buying decisions
  • How do we want to be remembered?  How do we want people to talk about us?

One key point is that there is a difference between a vision statement and a mission statement.

A vision statement is “aspirational” (we are going to fly to the moon)

man on the moon

A mission statement is more “how we are going to do that” = what will you do, how will you do it, who will you do it for?

My vision statement (I am still working on it) is: “Empowering small business owners to have the life they want”

Note that it doesn’t say HOW I do that, or what I actually do! 

So what about yours?  It should be unique to you – and it must not just be a “poster on a wall” – you have to live and breathe it every day in everything you do.  You can add it to your website, or your email signature, but be careful that it doesn’t just disappear through familiarity.

How big companies do it

You don’t even need to be very specific!  Disney want to “make people happy” – that’s it!

It can be unending (like the Disney one) or finite (land a man on the moon) – but of course if you reach that goal then then you may need a new one!

Here are some more – some may surprise you:

Statement Company
Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company, to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they want to buy online Amazon
To make people happy Disney
To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected Facebook
To organise the world’s informations and make it universally accessible and useful Google
To create a better every day for many people IKEA
To capture and share the world’s moments Instagram
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world, if you have a body, you’re an athlete Nike
To be a company that inspires and fulfils your curiosity Sony
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy Tesla

Which ones made you think?

How to get going

  1. Think of the outcome you want for your customers or clients – remember a cafe is not just there to provide coffee in a cup, there is the whole social environment that people want and need
  2. Be unique (yes – this will probably be hard, but that’s why getting more people involved is great – let everyone’s creativity take flight)
  3. Who’s your ideal customer – when it comes down to it you need to know who that person is and what they want from life.
  4. What will it look like when it’s done – happy customers!

So why don’t have a go – there are no right or wrong answers!  I’d be happy to chat through it with you – please do Get in touch.

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