As a small business owner one of the most important tasks you should undertake is creating a vision for your business. It is this vision that will drive all activity for the months ahead. The vision becomes your guide for spending, marketing, staffing, activity and much more. You may think that the vision you created last year or the year before is good enough – just shake off the dust. Not so. As your business progresses your vision should, and will change. So, if you have not created a new vision for 2015 now is the time to do so.
As you begin a few reminders are in order. First, remember that your business vision translates your mission into specific terms for a specific period of time. It begins by setting a specific future date (12 months – 10 years). With that date in mind, you outline what you would like to “be”, “do”, “have” or “accomplish” by that date.
Ask yourself, “What do I want from my business? What do I intend to create? What do I want to accomplish or achieve? Who do I want to serve? What do I want to get in return for my investments of time and money?” All of these are questions can be used to clarify your vision. Be aware that whatever you intend to create should be in alignment with those things that are most important to you (your life priorities). Without this alignment, it would be difficult for you to keep motivated to give your vision the full measure of your energy and attention. As an example, if you value time with your family and friends you do not want to visualize a long period of activity which would require you to commit to spending a large percent of your time traveling away from home to grow your business. Similarly, if you value giving back to the community then be sure you have set aside time in your schedule and a portion of your budget to fulfill those goals.
Secondly, be realistic. Success takes the time, and successful businesses do not fall from the sky. You can improve the outcome and shorten the timeline by planning; executing, being accountable, taking advantage of resources and more. Make sure you are giving yourself enough time to deliver on your vision. If you are not sure how much time it will take, stop and do your research.
Always be specific. You must know exactly what you want, how much, when you want to have achieved or acquired it and often, how you plan to achieve it and what the outcome is expected to be. Be sure you fully describe each statement in your “visioning” exercise. As an example, “Increase the number of active clients from 250 to 350 by December 1, 2015.”
Make your vision details measureable. Having a vision that you cannot measure makes it very difficult to know if you fully achieved that portion of your vision and thus the overall vision. As an example, “Increase gross revenue in the North Dakota location by 20% percent to $200,000 by the end of the calendar year.” Be sure that you state your vision using details that define the date, quantity, location, number, percent, rank, or any other qualifying measurement that allow you and any other stakeholder to know and understand exactly what you plan to accomplish and when.
Finally, be sure you develop a complete picture. The vision for your business should encompass all aspects of your business including revenue, expense, pricing, products, staffing, systems, performance management, quality control, budgeting, marketing, sales, geography, branding, networking, public relations and more. Be sure you address each area in your vision details.