“The world makes way for the person who knows where he or she is going
– Ralph Emerson”
A vision statement- something most businesses relate with. Why should a business create one? As many entrepreneurs would explain, a vision statement is a representation of where you want your business to be headed in the coming future. It gives you a reference of what you would like your business to achieve in a particular timeframe. This is similar to when you start a journey, your journey is defined by one key question, “Where are we going?” Based on your destination, you make decisions of what path you want to take.You look at milestones that come up and gauge if you are headed in the right direction, and how your journey is progressing.
Your vision serves the business in a similar manner. It defines the goals that you set, and the decisions you make. Your vision also inspires your business, as you focus on your outcomes. However, in spite of having a vision statement, 8 out of 10 businesses struggle to take off in their first year of operation. Various studies reveal that most businesses lack clarity on their vision, which is attributed to be one of the key reasons for a business not doing well. So where do we go wrong with our vision? Based on my observation of other entrepreneurs, as well as some of my clients, I have listed 3 common mistakes that businesses tend to make when defining their vision. By avoiding these, your business can have a 20/20 vision that enables you to create immense success.
1. Lack of alignment with your purpose
Your purpose is a key driving factor for your business. It is the reason why you started your business. If your vision is the destination where you are headed, your purpose is what fires you up and gets you started. If your journey is shaped by your destination, your destination is influenced by why you started your journey. A common mistake businesses often make is to define their vision without looking at their purpose. When the vision and purpose of a business are not aligned, there is a lack of synergy in its goals, decisions and actions to realise its vision. People find themselves stuck in their ventures, as that conflict often comes up.
What can you do to avoid this conflict? Before you define your vision, connect with your purpose. A good question to ask is, “What’s the purpose of doing this?”. Once you have a clear answer, whatever vision you define, validate it against your purpose. The question you can ask at this point is, “Does this vision take me away or towards my purpose?” That ensures that your vision is closely aligned with your purpose.
2. Unrealistic timeframes
The timeframe is an indication of by when you would like to achieve your vision. Often, businesses define the timeframe of their vision as either too short or too far away. How does the timeframe matter? When the timeframe is quite short (say in 1 year), it does not allow enough time to achieve the vision, as the business may find itself still working towards that. Especially for a business in startup phase, it is still growing, and such an expectation can be quite overwhelming for the people in the business. A vision with a short timeframe is more like a medium-term goal; if you get there, chances are you could have aimed higher.
If your timeframe is too far away (say 10-15 years), the sense of urgency towards the vision may be missing, as you tend to believe there is plenty of time to achieve your vision. Any action without some level of urgency tends to go nowhere, and this may hurt your business.
An ideal timeframe for your vision is recommended at 3-5 years. This length of time allows you optimal time to plan your business to achieve this vision, with the right level of urgency. The timeframe you choose needs to consider what is an optimal period for your business to realise its vision.
3. Not keeping an eye on the prize
Another key mistake businesses make is not referring to their vision statement consistently. In an ideal scenario, and for successful businesses, every key decision and action is taken with its vision in mind. By not doing so, those decisions and actions become inconsistent with each other. This disrupts the progress made by a business towards its vision.
The key to overcome this challenge is to ensure that all members in the business, including your staff, have a clear understanding of the vision so that they use this as a reference for their operations. That way, your business operations continue to be outcome focused and everyone in the business is aligned with the vision.
If you already have a vision, and find that the above situations are impacting your business growth, the insights can be helpful for you to address those gaps, and set yourself up for success. Or, if you are defining your vision for the first time, the above insights can help you bring more clarity in your business by achieving a clear vision.
Arpan Roy is a Leadership Consultant and Trainer. His key belief is that leadership is vital for growth of any business. Through Arman Consultancy, his business venture, he collaborates with leaders in businesses to define productivity and profit to achieve accelerated business growth. He specialises in various methodologies such as Values Pendulum®, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Deep State Repatterning®. Using these, he identifies the cause of unrealised individual performance and business growth and creates effective and sustainable models for change that empower his clients to achieve the desired results. Arpan is based in Melbourne, Australia with his wife Manasee, who is also his business partner. If you are curious about how you can enhance your leadership to make a difference to your business or organisation, you can contact Arpan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.blueprintforleadership.com