On Vision

In our recent blog post, we argued that good marketing brings clarity to your business. However, it’s impossible to gain clarity if your business’ vision is murky—or only exists within your mind. Before you can gain momentum, you have to put your business’ vision into concrete language. And for this to happen, all the leaders of your business have to be brought on board. Vision is something built; this means both the owner and leadership need to contribute and be heard.

When cementing your business’ vision, people are going to argue—in fact, people should argue. It’s better for your leaders to disagree up front, not six months down the road. Again, your business can’t achieve clarity if your leaders continue to repress their ideas. Your leaders should be honest with each other, and everyone should be honest about your business, too.

Once everyone’s agreed to be honest and candid, you can start building. The following are the six essential steps to vision-construction.

  1. Analyze all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

    This process sounds overdone, but when used as a starting point, it’s indispensable. These various analyses simply get everyone moving in the right direction. Additionally, interrogating your strengths helps better, and more realistically, define your possibilities.
  2. Define where your business is at right now.

    Take your temperature—and again, be honest. What’s the current state of your business?
  3. Assess your immediate challenges.

    This step is a logical continuation of the second one. What’s holding your company back right now? You could be suffering from a process problem, a people problem or even a location problem. Identifying the issue allows you to address it both now and in the long-term.
  4. Establish the direction of the company.

    You might want to increase your sales, add locations or sell your business somewhere down the line. No matter what your design is, you need to lay out a process to make these goals achievable. Doing so ensures that everyone on your team will excel and be able to afford that fancy vacation each year.  
  5. Set quantitative business objectives.

    Value top-line growth over bottom-line growth. Determine who’s responsible for your new revenue and break your revenue goals down into monthly or quarterly objectives. This allows you to regularly assess your business’ performance. Sales should always have higher targets than marketing. Otherwise, they’ll get lazy and rely on your marketing team.  
  6. Get specific about your target demographic.

    Establish a target demographic that is specific to your revenue goals. Know who they are, where they are and why they buy your product or service. Try to be as detailed as possible.

Along the way, it’s important to always ask why? Interrogating both your business’ current reality and its future prospects helps create the most objective, honest and achievable vision. Remember, you’re building a business, not a castle in the sky.