If you started your own company it probably began in your mind long before it became a reality. You had a vision to offer a product or service through a company you owned. It’s also likely that your first years as a new business owner were rough. You worked long hours for little money if you were like many small business owners just starting out. Your first attempt at owning your own business might have even failed. Perhaps there were a couple of failures. The only thing that kept you going was that vision you just couldn’t shake. You just knew you were to do this thing, and you persevered until you achieved that dream.
But…what about today? Are you still vision driven? Where do you see your business in five years? After all, that’s what a vision is all about. A vision is a clear mental image of a preferred future. A person with a vision has an inner picture of where they see their organization in the future. It’s important to note that this vision is of a preferred future. Assuming your organization survives, it will have a future, but it may not be one you prefer unless you become very intentional.
The best way to prepare for the future is to create it. Rather than simply reacting to what comes your way, the person with a vision is working to create a preferred future for his or her organization. Perhaps that vision involves reaching a certain sales level in five years. The next step would require that you develop a strategy that would help you reach that sales level in five years. Chances are that strategy will involve many smaller steps, but each of those steps you take will help you achieve that preferred future.
With a vision and a strategy for achieving it the organization can now focus on what’s most important. Planning and budgeting decisions are made by how they will impact the vision. The business is less likely to be sidetracked by secondary issues simply because it is so focused on the vision. The owner can set aside many of the things demanding his or her attention because they have no impact on achieving the vision.
Team members no longer have to wonder how they can add maximum value to the company. Great leaders will ensure that each team member understands how their role is important to the vision, and those leaders will also know which team members have bought into the vision and which have not. Those who cannot buy into the vision need to be replaced as they will be nothing but a hindrance.
Small business owners and other leaders are responsible for communicating the vision to team members. Such communication must be repeated often because we humans have a tendency to forget things. Some suggest that vision must be repeated at least every 28 days for it to have maximum impact on the team. Such communication can be verbal or can be done through signage, company newsletters, or anything that can help remind each team member the vision that drives the organization.
The Bible tells us that without a vision the people perish. The same can be said of a business. If you no longer have a vision for your business now is the time to begin to discern one. Determine where you want your business to go, develop a strategy that will help you get there, and begin to take intentional steps that will lead to the achievement of that vision.