What’s Your Vision?

I hope your business is all you want it to be!  If not, it might be time to refine or create your business vision.  A true vision will help guide you through all its ups and downs.

Understanding what makes you tick, what gets you out of bed in the morning, what is exciting about your work, that is vision. When businesses truly have a meaningful vision, it not only inspires everyone, it actually helps them make decisions and keeps them on the right path.

Here’s a few examples of some well-known business’ visions:

  • Amazon-“To be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
  • Harley Davidson-“To fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling.”
  • Hilton-“To fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.”

Businesses of all sizes benefit from defining a vision.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a one person business or a big company. Let’s start by defining what a vision is and isn’t:

Vision-the ideal state that you are continually striving for

Mission-what you do (how you strive) to reach your vision every day

Goals – the activities you do to help fulfill your mission

I find that a true business vision has these qualities:

1. It is exciting

Imagine fulfilling your vision and how that would feel. Your vision should open up the world to you. Like Harley Davidson, striving to fulfill dreams through motorcycling. They are selling dreams, not motorcycles.  Incorporating their vision into their company culture probably shapes the company in a very different way than if they were just selling motorcycles. Who wouldn’t want to jump out of bed to help someone fulfill their dream?

2. Keeps you on track

Your vision should help you make business decisions.  Asking if something you’re considering bringing into your business matches your vision can help you make the right decision.

For example, Habitat for Humanity’s vision is: “A world where everyone has a decent place to live”.  If they decided to branch out to ensuring safe water supplies, while certainly a worthwhile cause, they might discover it feels ‘off’ and dilutes their focus. It would not be holding true to their vision.  Trying out new ideas in your business is great. Just test them out against your vision first.

3. Stands the test of time

True visions typically do not change over time. It is so true and fundamental to you and your business that it ‘keeps on being right’.  As you try things out, you will find you discard the ideas that aren’t right and keep coming back to that same vision.  Have you ever noticed a company that is selling something that doesn’t ‘fit’ with their company? Maybe it becomes a spin off company or gets discontinued or is never as successful.

It can take some effort to define your vision. Sometimes you have to ‘try it on’ for a while. See if it stacks up against different situations. When boredom, lack of motivation or feeling stuck sets in, ask yourself if you are holding true to your vision.

When there is genuine vision (as opposed to the all-too-familiar ‘vision statement’), people excel and learn, not because they are told to, but because they want to.” -Peter Senge

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