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Whether or not you have your business up and running yet it’s critical you begin to visualise an existing business and see yourself running a successful enterprise. When I’m faced with challenges in my business, it’s my vision that keeps me going. When I look at the inspiring vision I set when I started my company, all complications fade and I’m motivated to push through and carry on.

Every major company in the world has a vision or mission statement – a broad, futuristic idea of what their company will achieve and look like in the future. Our five-step process helps you get there, but you need to know where “there” is first.

So, let’s take a look at what a vision statement is, and why it’s important for you to create one for your business.

A vision statement is a broad, inspiring image of the future state a business aspires to reach. It describes without specifying how aspirations will be achieved, or when. It’s ambitious and forward-thinking. It’s not about where the organization is now… it’s about what the organization will be, or aspires to be.

A vision statement needs to:

  • describe aspirations and intent
  • be inspirational for your future staff and customers
  • project a compelling story • paint a clear picture
  • use engaging and descriptive language
  • be realistic
  • align with your company’s values

The vision statement will also provide a clear criteria or measuring stick for decision-making. When making tough choices, ask “Does this support the vision statement?” If major initiatives don’t support the overall business vision, chances are they aren’t worth the investment of time and money.

If your business doesn’t have a vision statement, it needs one. If you already have one, then take this opportunity to strengthen it or make sure it’s aligned with the current dream you have for yourself and your company.

Your vision statement – once created, agreed to and perfected – should remain consistent and unchanged for several years.

Your staff need a strong, clear vision statement just as much as you do. When creating a vision statement, keep this in mind. The vision will need to be something that your staff can embrace, get excited about and that will motivate, inspire and build morale.

How will you communicate your vision to your employees once you’ve created it? How can you inspire them to nurture and support your vision on a daily basis, and in everything they do? How can you empower and motivate them to take ownership of the company’s future and their stake in it?

Let’s start creating your unique vision statement.

1. Start by looking at your strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of everyone who does business with you.

Think about strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of customers, staff, management, vendors or suppliers and owners.

For example, what would your customers say about your customer service standards? Would this area be considered a strength or a weakness? What would your staff say, or what would you want them to say about training and professional development opportunities? What do you think about your income and overall financial growth? Use this chart as a guide:

Strengths Weaknesses Customers Customer service Product or service availability and quality Business location Business image Staff Training Salary Professional development Benefits Quality of work environment Management Training Benefits Staff skills Vendors / Suppliers Product or service quality Owner (You) Income Business image Salary

2. Analyze your observations, and remember that your weaknesses represent great opportunities for change and improvement, while your strengths need to be nurtured and developed.

Take a look at what you’ve written and answer the following questions on your pad of paper:

  • What does the overall picture look like?
  • How does the overall picture align with the dream you have for your business?
  • What great achievements and qualities exist in the strengths section? (List 10)
  • What opportunities exist in the weaknesses section? (List 10)

3. Now that you’ve assessed where your business stands today, where do you want it to be? What opportunities exist?

Here you will take the strengths and opportunities you identified in step one, the analysis you completed in step two and start describing them in words. Use the chart below as your guide. Write three sentences that describe the future state of your business.

3. What opportunities and aspirations are the highest priorities for you and your business?

Take the sentences you created above and list them in order of importance to you. You may have to do this several times before you feel the order is accurate. Then combine duplicate sentences or ones that describe similar things. Once you’ve finished your list, take the top three to five sentences and combine them into a cohesive paragraph.

4. Refine your statements so that they’re broad, future-oriented and use words that reflect your values, priorities and dreams.

You need to refine your statement so it’s smooth, clear and easy to understand. Here’s a checklist to use when reviewing the words you’ve written:

  • is it inspirational for your staff and customers?
  • does it project a compelling image? • does it paint a clear picture?
  • have you used engaging and descriptive language?
  • is it realistic? • does it align with your company’s values?

TIP: You can use phrases like:

A leader in… Support the development of… Offer opportunities to… Continually create… Build on… Inspire… Develop… Facilitate… Achieve… Deliver… Bring together…

5. Include your staff in the vision creation process and ask them for feedback.

Do they understand the vision? Do they support it? Does it inspire them? Can they find meaning in their work based on it? Incorporate their feedback where possible and relevant.

6. Put your vision statement where everyone can see it – your staff, management, customers and vendors.

Once you’ve created your vision statement, share it with the world. Your vision is something you’ve committed to, and it lets everyone know where your company is heading. It allows them to see where you want to go, and gives them the opportunity to help you get there.

Now, do you have everything you need to start working towards your vision?

In the Momentum Business Academy e-learning program, we will show you how to work through a comprehensive goal-setting process that will act as the roadmap for achieving your vision. You’ll also review, in depth, the five-step process which is the strategy that you’ll use to achieve your goals, and in turn, the vision you’ve created. Find out more here: www.momentumbusinessacademy.com