Vision Sets The Foundation For Strong Business Growth
By: Don Harris
Founder, Appliance Service Secrets
If you are like most small business owners, you went into business because you do something that you are very good at and you have a desire to do more than just work for someone else. You wanted to own your own business.
You didn’t just wake up one day and you were in business. Your business started out as a dream. It grew and developed over a period of time. You thought about it, you dreamed about it, you did some research and planning for it. And some way or another, you developed the idea from the first thought into an actual reality. During that process, you thought about what it could become in a year, in 3 years, in 5 years and possibly 10 years and beyond. You probably thought about the day you could sell the business and retire from it. This business would become your lifeblood, your bread and butter. Within those thoughts, the Vision of your business was being developed and being born.
I once heard someone say, “Vision is the mental picture of the future”. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. As a small business owner. You saw in your mind’s eye what your business might be like in the future. You had a Vision! A vision comes from within. It is something that is unique to you and your business and is something that drives you. It is something that keeps you going when the going gets tough.
My question to you is this, as that dream began to develop and the Vision became a reality, did you write that Vision down and make plans for growing your business based on the that vision or did you do like most other small business owners and just start working in the business, hoping that vision would someday come true?
When that happens, sometimes our Vision gets blurry or even lost. You get so bound up in working in the business, that you forget what your Vision looked like. You work so hard to keep the bills paid and stay ahead of the game that you lose sight of the Vision. You get so worked up in the day to day struggles of business ownership that you get frustrated, overwhelmed, debt-ridden & just burned out. You think to yourself, why did I even start this business. You feel like you have nothing left to give. That’s probably not too far from the truth.
I love what Pastor Andy Stanley says about his vision: “My Vision is to help others who have lost theirs.” What a great statement.
According to the Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years. There are several reasons for business failure but one of those reasons is poor planning. In small business, it’s not enough to just have a Vision, you have to keep it in front of you and plan how you are going to reach that Vision. You don’t just start out working in the business without a plan. I’m sure you have heard the quote credited to Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Did you take that Vision and make a plan as to how you could reach it, at least at the end of the first year of business? And then as that 1st year arrived, did you continue for the 3rd or 5th year? As you are planning on how to reach that Vision you begin to develop the Mission and Strategies that will support that Vision. You have to keep that Vision in front of you and make it well known to not only yourself but others around you. You need to share that Vision, even if you are a 1-man business, with those around you. You share it with your spouse, your friends, your network and as you grow, your employees. Everyone around you needs to support you in your Vision. If you never written your Vision down or even lost your Vision or your Purpose, It’s not too late to start. Rekindle that Vision and that passion for your business. Write it down, share it, plan your success based on that Vision. Reclaim that Vision today and set your business up for success!
Characteristics of an Effective Vision Statement
Let’s look at some characteristics that make a good Vision Statement. Here are a few traits that can help you evaluate your current vision statement and/or help you create a new one.
- Future Focused. Provides the “big picture” and clearly describes what your organization will be like in several years.
- Directional. Serves as a guide to organizational plans and strategies.
- Specific. Clear and focused enough to shape decision-making.
- Relevant and Purpose-Driven. Reflects the company’s response to the challenges of the day.
- Values-Based. Implies the set of values that are required to support the organization.
- Challenging. Inspires members of the organization to do great things and achieve a higher level of standards.
- Unique and Memorable. Highlights what makes the organization different and why it matters.
- Inspiring. Appealing and engages people to commit to a cause.
How does your vision stack up against these characteristics? Go ahead and put your vision to the test. How does it pan out? Does your vision have any or all of these characteristics? Will your vision stand the test of time?
I’d love to hear what your vision is. Please comment or post your vision below.
In my next blog, we’ll look at how Vision and Leadership support each other.
Brannon has continued to grow the business and currently operates approximate 20 service vehicles and has around 40 full-time employees, providing services for heating, air conditioning, residential appliances, restaurant equipment, commercial refrigeration, and water heaters to the metro Atlanta area.
Don acquired the nickname “DependableDon” early on in the business due to his reputation of being there when he said he would be there and doing what he said he would do. Don founded Appliance Service Secrets and offers coaching and consulting to other businesses in the Appliance, HVAC, and other service-based industries. Don also conducts Mastermind Groups known as Service Success Groups to help business get to the next level of their business growth.
If you are interested in contacting Don for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org