Most problems small business owners face boil down to one common theme: Limited resources. Resources include time, money, and energy. How do you decide the best way to allocate your resources? How do you leverage limited financial resources to grow your business into a wildly successful business-one that runs itself and brings in income for you even when you’re not there? How do you manage your staff and use their talents effectively in your business to maintain morale, increase productivity, and reduce turnover?
There are lots of strategies I share with my coaching clients to accomplish all of this. Ironically, the most effective strategy for addressing these tough questions is a strategy that most business owners overlook. Develop a clear vision for your business.
Without a clear vision for your business, you are groping around in the dark, making “hit or miss” decisions, often based on how you’re feeling on a particular day, or based on problems that are presenting themselves on a particular day. Without a vision for your business, you really don’t know where you are going in your business.
You may have heard the saying, “Start with the end in mind.” That’s exactly what a vision is. Your vision for your business is the end-how will your business look when it’s done?
Often we think our business vision is clear until we share it with someone else. Then they ask questions, and we realize our vision is not as clear as we thought. Many business owners operate from a “fuzzy” vision-a vague idea of what we’d like our businesses to be. There’s a temptation to keep that vision fuzzy because of a fear of committing to something and missing opportunities. But, there is tremendous power in committing to a vision and sticking with it.
Being clear about your business vision helps you make the daily choices that build a successful business. Here are some examples of what a clear vision can do for your business:
*Simplify Marketing. Knowing your vision for your business, including who your ideal customer is, is the most powerful marketing tool you can have. Once you know that, it is much easier to make choices about where to spend your marketing money and energy. Marketing can be amazingly inexpensive and easy when you focus your efforts based on your vision and your ideal customer. When your vision is clear, you find yourself attracting more qualified customers- people who are eager to do business with you because what you have to offer them is so enticing. Marketing becomes almost effortless. Your enthusiasm about your vision makes it so much easier to “toot your own horn.” When you do that, you speak with clarity about what you have to offer and your ideal customers are naturally drawn to you.
*Improve Workplace Morale & Decrease Turnover. Think about your experiences as an employee. Have you ever worked for a business where you knew the vision for the business? Have you ever worked for a business with a vision that compelled you?
Usually, if a business has a vision statement, it’s in an operations manual. You may see it when you initially start, but no one ever discusses it with you. No one ever shares their excitement for the vision with you. A clear business vision is one of those secret ingredients of highly successful businesses.