Getting your vision clear (and I don’t mean your eyes!) is such an essential part of the business planning process and yet to many, this seems like the wishy washy-est part of the process. Hopefully, if you are reading this article, you don’t need to be convinced of the value and are looking for tips on how to craft your vision statement.
This process can sometimes seem difficult. You may struggle to get the right words or find it difficult to describe the picture in your mind. This is quite normal, and is no excuse to avoid the task!
Take your time, have a few tries and get help if you really feel “stuck”.
Step 1 – Why and What?
If you are already in business, ask yourself these questions:
- Why did you start the business?
- What did you want to get out of the business?
- What were your original reasons and have they changed? If they have, what is motivating you to continue?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- If you had to picture your business in its ideal state, what would it look like?
- What personal values do you want to integrate into your business?
If you are about to start a business, ask yourself the same questions but modified to suit your start-up situation.
In answering these questions, go beyond the obvious such as “making xx dollars”. Something else is driving the “make xx dollars” and it’s this “something else” that you need to identify. Go beyond the business itself. What is it that you will get from starting, running and being successful at the business. What is it that you want? Because business plans are often for the consumption of others eg. banks, staff etc., you may be reticent about revealing your true motivations. There is a simple fix for this of course – do one version for yourself and provide a “sanitised” version for others.
The version for yourself does not have to be word perfect or beautifully crafted. Dot points will do as long as you really dig deep and get to your core motivation. Do this properly and it will be well worth your while.
Step 2 – How?
After you have clarified the why and what, you can then move on to how. This is where you describe your business and how you are going to create your vision. Keep in mind that this is still at the “big picture” level as all your detailed objectives and strategies should be in the rest of your business plan. Think of this part as the “executive summary” of your business.
If words are not your forté, try pictures, diagrams, flow charts, mind maps. Get a friend or colleague to brainstorm with you.
Once your vision is clarified, you have started the business planning process. Congratulations! You have passed the first hurdle. Stay tuned for more tips on business planning.