Having a clear vision is critical for business success.

The clearer it is, the better you can see it and the more likely you are to achieve it. This is why it’s worth spending some time on developing one. A clear vision describes what success looks like and reduces the risk that you will lose focus, or even have no focus.

A clear vision will also help you decide what to say NO to and to measure your progress towards achieving your goals. Think of your vision as the destination in your cars GPS system – without it, you can’t develop the strategies and actions that will take you to where you want to be.

Many businesses owners are happy with incremental improvements to their business – e.g. a 10% improvement in sales of profit but this lack strategy. It will, over time, lead to their businesses stagnating and ultimately going backwards in performance. 

The diagram below summarises a vision mapping framework which can help you develop a lazer sharp vision – and your belief that you can achieve so much more than incremental improvement. It contains five key success areas with fifteen elements that provide a great checklist to help you fill in the details

Here are three steps to help you work through it:

  1. Take a moment to consider what timeline you want to use – e.g. do you want to look at the vision for the next one, three or more than five years? 
  2. Use the questions below to trigger your thinking about each of the five elements.   Some questions may not be relevant to you so replace them with issues that are.
  3. After completing the exercise, attempt to draw your vision on a piece of paper.  This will help you “See” it, and the clearer you can see it, the better you will be able to achieve it.

And finally, consider what 3 actions you can take now to start work towards that vision

Here are some questions to help get you started:.

Finance – How will you fund the business?

  • What are our growth targets and where will that growth come from? (Products, geographies, client segments)?
  • What level of profit will we target - in one, three, five years?
  • How will we fund this growth?

Market – what/where is the market you will operate in?

  • What industries are we in? What industries should we be in? What are the emerging trends?
  • Who is our ideal target customer? How will we attract them and win new business?
  • Who are our competitors, what are their strengths and weaknesses and where are the gaps in the market?

Products and Services – what will you be offering?

  • What products & services will we offer and how do they satisfy a future need in our target market?
  • What products & services will we stop providing and what new ones will we start?
  • Why should people buy from us - what will be our sustainable competitive advantage?

People – the people and skills you will need in your business?

  • Who will be leading the business? Who are the key people? What are their responsibilities?
  • What new capabilities in the team will we require to be successful?
  • Where are our team based? What is our structure? How will we keep them?

Passion – What will make you get up and look forward to work every day?

  • What will our purpose (our why) be?
  • Does this vision excite us? If so why, if not , why not & what has to change?
  • What will be our community contribution? How will we give back?

Good luck, and don’t forget to periodically review your vision to ensure it remains aligned to changing markets and technologies.