Knowing your intent & motivations makes it easy to set goals, get activated, find the right tools & write killer content.
Vision Is Born From Your Experiences & Values
Having clarity in your vision is vital to developing successful plans. Your vision statement becomes the ultimate goal for your business. But vision is more than where you want to go and what you want to achieve. Your goals for your business should support the goals in your life. It all is reflective of your personal values. It is the heart of your story and what drives your small business' brand voice. When developing your vision, make a point to look at the path that brought you to this point - who influenced or inspired you, your intent and motivations, your passion and skills - even if your final vision statement doesn't make those ideas explicit.
Whether a client comes to me to update their website, develop a strategic plan, or envision and brainstorm to develop the business concept, I always start the process with an interview of targeted questions to learn what brought you to this point, where you see yourself going, and what might be holding you back.
For existing businesses, I learn about your service or product - what need is being met, how it works, what makes it different from others like it. I try to gain an intimate understanding about what it is that you love about what you do and what you dread dealing with at work. What are the tasks you find fulfilling and what is frustrating? What are you happy to spend time working on and what do you avoid? Your vision should create the environment where you get to do what you love and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. And it should provide for a way to manage the necessary things you don't care to do and erase the things getting in the way.
If you are envisioning a new path for your career or developing a new business concept, I use this process as a sort of mind mapping or brainstorm activity. It helps give the idea shape using the container of your full and complete life and what you envision for yourself, now and down the road. The process also shows us if it is feasible or ways it might need to be adjusted to be achievable. We talk about the "absolutes" - the aspects you absolutely want to see happen. We highlight areas yet to be developed and discuss what some of the nitty-gritty details might look like for implementing this project.
Through this process, you become crystal clear in knowing what it is you are trying to achieve. This, in turn, becomes the basis for how you convince others to get on board. Using your own words, I craft a mission statement, vision, values, and a tag line or value proposition. Your story becomes a part of the the ultimate vision. It is what will make your messaging authentic and relatable.
Vision Drives Strategy
This vision is the ultimate goal. It is what you measure your decisions against - like the hiker's ultimate destination acting as the guide post that they regularly look to so they are sure to stay on track. The vision sets the tone for the journey - it gives your business a voice and a distinct perspective that becomes the foundation for the entire marketing plan.
A small business owner becomes focused and re-energized when you connect with your original motivations and inspirations. You quit seeing your work through the lens of being overwhelmed and view it again with hope and optimism. It allows you to remove the biases that have built up. It is from this place that you want to create your specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals - those benchmarks that will show your progress, hold you accountable, and keep you on the path to your ultimate goal. Your immediate goals - and every action you plan out to help achieve them - will be in line with your ultimate goal.
Vision Helps Streamline Systems
Yes, even your operations and administrative tasks benefit from clarity in vision. You're focused and better able to prioritize, because every decision you make for your business will be done in support of achieving your ultimate goal.
Your vision will influence who you hire, how you interact with your team, what internal communications systems you use, and can be the way your team becomes personally invested in the success of your company. Your vision tells you what data you want to track, which CMS system to use, how you build your budgets, and what type of inventory you purchase. It influences how you choose the vendors you contract with and the partnerships you make. Your vision is behind your choice for the legal structure of your business, where you place your ads, how you develop your price points, and how you interact on social media. It becomes the method for making decisions, removing questions, and increasing your confidence in the choices you make.
Vision Expressed Through Marketing
Clarity in your vision, as well as the benchmark goals and your strategic plan to get there, is the center of the story you tell. Your vision has directed your brand, and so the messaging seen by the community is easily understood. The new language leaves no room for questions about what you do, why you do it, and who it is for.
Vision helps you understand your customers - what their motivations are for using your service. It can help you figure out who your prospective customers are, where to find them, and what to say to entice them to check out your business. Vision is what drives your content marketing, advertising campaigns, social media approach, and how you build relationships with customers.
With clarity in your vision, you can speak with confidence - whether it's an elevator pitch or networking with prospective investors or interviewing with the media. Your passion can be heard when you describe where you want to go and the solid plans you have to get there. The reconnection to your original motivations for this work gives your verbal and written messages authenticity. That authenticity is what grabs people's attention, makes you memorable, and compels them to become a client.
So, don't view your vision statement as "that one section in the business plan I sort of worked on once." It is so, so much more than that.