What is your vision of the future of your business?
Where are you now, and what is your vision for the future of the business? Planning is the art of visualisation. It is the bridge to the future!
It is the ability to take something in your mind’s eye, and transform it into reality. This process is also a safety net, as it allows you to explore possibilities and adopt or describe them dependent on your ultimate goal, before you commit resources to actualise them. The business plan starts with defining the business vision, mission and value statements.
Small-business people often looked puzzled when they hear they should write a vision and mission statement. What are these and what relevance have they to their business?
Vision is big picture activity, broad in scope and short on detail, a statement about where you want your business to be at some point in the future. Often referred to as a desirable state at some future point. The vision is what you are creating and moving towards, it will remain constant, in focus, and so will your values.
Vision statements are usually kept internal to the business and they may have some reference to the business's financial positioning.
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The mission statement should answer the following questions:
1) What business are we in?
2) What will the business do?
3) Who for, and why?
4) What sets this business apart from others?
The mission statement defines your business. It does this in terms of market, product line, geographical areas and distribution channels. It provides the foundation to gather and analyse and formulate strategies. The mission statement is a declaration of how your business purpose, customers, products, services, markets, and philosophy all contribute to the achievement of your vision.
Whereas the vision statement is a succinct statement, the mission statement is necessarily longer to convey the business principles. A business's objectives, strategies, and performance measures should then flow from the vision and mission.
The statement of mission, and the resultant strategies and objectives, look to identify where you want to be, and, in the process help you to determine where you are. The statement gives you important information on how to get there, and tells you when you have arrived. It unifies your efforts and energy, and gives meaning and purpose to all that you do.
It begins with the basic question’ what business are we in?’ It will require some thought. Defining your market too narrowly will preclude you from considering other possibilities. Too broader a definition will mean you lose focus on your core business and objectives, and in the process use precious resources for a small result.
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This is a list of the values that you hold in conducting your business. This could be described as a set of non-negotiable minimum standards to which all of your work and dealings must apply.
The values of the business can be demonstrated by statements that:
1) Include a customer focus.
2) Underline the importance of people.
3) Acknowledge the business's responsibility is to the greater community.
Value statements should be statements that energise employees, customers and suppliers. Some people find the ‘warm and fuzzy’ approach too difficult, because there are no hard and fast rules. Often such values are those of the owner, or they are statements dreamed up to satisfy people’s expectations. However when value statements are incorporated, they can be a strong motivating force.
Values may relate to levels of technical competence or how dealings with clients are conducted, both on a business basis and a personal basis. By always having an awareness of your values can prevent many of the dilemmas that can arise in business situations.
Values are what keep you on track to achieve your vision, you may need to re- visit them from time to time as a pulse check, in order for you to say yes, this is the right thing to do!