Small businesses can fail for any number of reasons. Sometimes the cause is something that’s outside of the owner’s control.
At other times the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the leaders of the organization. In these situations, a lack of vision often plays a major role in the collapse of the operation.
If you want to increase your small firm’s chance of achieving success, you should do everything you can to devise a compelling vision that will guide your team. If you can do that, you could catapult your organization to ongoing achievement.
5 Vision-Casting Tips for Small Business Owners
What is the Vision?
“Developing a vision is a powerful enterprise. It serves as a guiding force for an organization, team, or individual,” PinnacleART Senior Project Lead Daniel Goulet writes.
“A vision is a ‘why’ statement. It lets outsiders know the meaning behind an action, decision, or effort and can help them connect on a deeper emotional level with the cause. It helps insiders coordinate and validate their goals, risks, and opportunities.”
Goulet is one of the thousands of entrepreneurs and business leaders who like to use Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why framework. It looks like this:
“To [insert your contribution], so that [insert the impact].”
Here’s an example of a vision statement that employs this formula:
“To clean our clients’ houses, so that they can be proud of the homes in which they live.”
The framework is simple — and you certainly don’t have to use this formula — but the process of clarifying your vision entails a profound amount of thought, patience, and clarity. Once you’ve developed a vision, you have to cast it in a way that motivates your team members to move forward according to its design.
Five Tips for Casting the Right Vision
Creating a workable, coherent, yet inspiring vision is one part art and one part science. It requires both purposeful action and a certain level of finesse. Here are some helpful tips on how to get there.
Engage the Right People
Unless you’re a sole proprietor who has no employees, you shouldn’t create a vision for your business on your own. It’s always most productive to involve other people — preferably anyone who’s a decision-maker in your firm.
Schedule sessions in which you can ask people for input on the business — its strengths and weaknesses, goals, aspirations, etc. — and try to listen more than you talk. Your aim is to gather as much information as possible … then to refine it down to the central elements.
Make the Vision Tangible
An abstract vision may be highly appealing as a sound bite, but it won’t typically serve any practical purpose. In order to fashion an appropriate and useful vision, you have to make it tangible.
A tangible vision will involve specifics that people can aim for on a daily basis. It should guide your employees’ thought processes and decision-making.
A suitably concrete vision embodies your company’s primary focus for the benefit of your customers and business partners. Often, the simplest words may work the best.
Share the Vision Regularly
It’s not enough to share your vision once. It should be something you refer to on a regular basis. (You don’t have to quote the vision word for word every time, but it should be in a form that everyone in the company can readily understand.)
Hold People Accountable
A vision works only if the people within your outfit respect it. Don’t stop after posting your vision in a company handbook; seriously hold your employees accountable when they fail to live up to it.
On the brighter side, you should congratulate and reward the folks who live up to the standard you’ve set. “Find at least five minutes each week to celebrate small wins,” leadership consultant Weylin Miller writes.
“This could be through a shout-out to team members who just completed a marathon project or stretch goal or stopping by an employee’s desk to congratulate them on their latest accomplishment. Recognition can be a powerful way to motivate and align employees with the overall vision for the company.”
Revise and Refresh
A vision shouldn’t ever become stagnant or stale. You oughtn’t merely to etch it in stone and cling to it thereafter (or worse, forget about it) in spite of changing circumstances.
If you notice a shift in your company — or in the marketplace, for that matter — you’ll be smart to revise and refresh. Just try to make sure you’re doing so for pertinent reasons, and not just as a ploy.
Give Your Business the Power to Grow
It’s nearly impossible for a company to realize its potential without some sort of vision to propel it from point A to point B. Your vision may change over time, but you should find it always serves as a guiding force in your growth process.
Take the time to develop, clarify, and cast your vision sooner rather than later.