The Vision is the most important set of words in any business. Most simply, it defines why the business exists. It is a unifying statement that tells the world “if we achieved everything we ever set out to achieve, this is what would be happening in the world”. As a small business, it’s what gets you out of bed in the morning, it’s your big picture, and the reason that you’re excited to do what you do. As business grows and takes on a team, the vision becomes the true north, the unifying tool that powerfully unites the team in a common goal. It excites and motivates them. Quite simply, it is how the business wants to change the world.
How to Create a Killer Vision for your Business
The vision is your WHY. Always start with the why. This is the method that all great leaders of social movements and organisations share – they start with the why. This will not only guide the growth of your business, but also provide a platform for where you speak from as a leader, how you talk with your colleagues, your clients, and in your sales.
On a practical level the vision should be clearly stated in either a few sentences or a short paragraph. This is so that is can be understood, remembered, and used in everyday language by the team. It should be clear to them how their daily activities contribute to achieving the vision, this will give purpose and direction to their work.
Examples of Great Vision Statements:
Oxfam: A world without poverty
Harley Davidson: We fulfill dreams of personal freedom
Ben & Jerry’s: Making the best possible ice cream in the nicest possible way
Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis
Google: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible to all
Facebook: Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected
How to Bring the Vision to Life
Talk about your vision everyday, yes everyday. When times are good talk about it, when times are bad talk about it. Use it in conversations, meetings and presentations. Be clear internally and externally what your organisation stands for.
The vision should be deeply understood by everyone on the team, and it is important for leaders to use it and refer to it often. Get wildly creative with your vision, can it go on the wall, in your email signature, on your stationary? Can it be illustrated in huge prints and placed at the business entry (yes I’ve seen it done).
In summary, a businesses vision should be a powerful statement, a unifying tool, and a guide to everyday behaviour. It is the most important few words your business has, so speak it loudly and speak it often, and live it everyday.