Topic 1: The Value of a Vision
While every business can benefit from having a vision, many small to medium enterprises (SMEs) underestimate the value that a vision can bring to their operations.
Having a vision means thinking beyond, ‘What’s in it for me?’ as the business owner/manager, instead considering the question, ‘What can this business deliver to others?’ as it grows and becomes successful.
The mega corporations of Disney, Google, Amazon and many others use a vision or a combined vision/mission statement to declare to the world where they see themselves positioned in the future. They use their vision to ‘sell’ the unique benefits that their customers and shareholders will receive as a result of the company growing and succeeding. Visions frequently include benefits that will also be delivered to the country or even to the planet by the company fulfilling its strategic objectives.
Vision statements are valuable as a tool to ‘funnel’ the decision-making of business partners, shareholders, employees and customers towards this inspiring and emotionally impactful destination. A united vision that everyone can ‘see’ and buy into, builds commitment to a single cause. The more the vision inspires others, the greater the likelihood that the business will work to achieve it. And if it does achieve it – wow! The business has achieved a phenomenal success that will radically position them ahead of all others for the future.
If you are an SME, there are three key benefits to having a vision for your business.
- A vision shapes the direction of your business and provides the overarching structure for everything that you do in it. Without a clear vision you can spend a lot of time and money undertaking many different goals and strategies without being sure if any of them will get you ultimately to where you want to go.
- A vision is a useful means of communicating the ideals of those at the top of the business down to all employees and customers. If you are in business with family members or business partners, a united vision will ensure that you are all moving in the same direction and communicating the same ‘story’ about what the purpose of this business is.
- If you are in the entrepreneurial space as a start-up or a social enterprise, starting with a viable opportunity and building a business model around it requires significant strategic thinking. A vision of where this opportunity could lead is often the motivator behind establishing this new venture.
Tim Mazzarol, author of ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A Manager’s Perspective' (2006) writes that, “A study by Ernst & Young (2004) of 135 winners of the Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Award, found that the majority (72 percent) considered that their greatest contribution to their business venture was the ability to provide vision and focus. The most common motivator for these entrepreneurs in launching their venture was to create a business that would fufil their vision of the future. According to Ernst & Young (2004): A strong vision is an essential part of entrepreneurship but successful entrepreneurs also have the ability to plan the journey towards achieving their vision.”