Why a clear vision is so important to running a successful business

John Walters

John Walters

A vision is about creating a short statement that will guide you over the next 3 to 5 years.  It should be specific enough to say something about what you will do and equally what you will not do. It should be capable of driving the organization to achieve a common goal, and be somewhat motivational so that you have a constant reminder of what you are trying to achieve when the going gets tough.

Without a vision, a business is like a ship without a rudder and is in danger of drifting aimlessly. Many small businesses lack a clear vision and so they tend to jump from task to task without a clear understanding of what bonds the individual actions together and/or the value created by the individual actions. Your vision should provide the cornerstone for everything that you do in the business.

Let’s examine the following vision statement and highlight some of the pitfalls it creates.

“I want to be the best company in the world”

This vision is not specific enough, it says nothing about what you will do and equally what you won’t do.  As such, you are unable to identify the key actions that you need to take and or define what success looks like.  Furthermore, what does the best mean? Does it refer to the number of employees in the business, having record sales and or profits?  As you can see this vision is in reality very weak and clearly does not provide the cornerstone for everything else that follows.

Let’s suppose you were looking to open a restaurant. Your vision, as well as the actions required to bring about success, would look very different depending on the type of restaurant.

Consider the following two visions:

“Providing quality fast food to the residents of Howard County at affordable prices”

“Providing Howard County residents with a premier fine dining experience”

If you look at the above visions it is clear that the focus and actions will be very different.  Marketing, Operations and the Skills required will also be very different.  In summary, your goals, actions and measurement criteria is driven by your vision.

Use the following guideline to create/evaluate your vision:

  1. Your vision should be concise and give purpose to your business.
  2. The vision must be capable of motivating you and others in the business.
  3. The vision must provide the cornerstone for your business.  Helping you to link your actions to your strategic goals.  Your actions must be driven from a clear understanding of value they will create.

Should you require further assistance with creating a compelling vision for your business, then please do not hesitate to contact us.