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The world is fiercely competitive, now more than ever. If you are running a business without a proper plan, you could be fumbling around in the dark. For instance, if you run a web development company or plan to start one, you have to know where to begin, what to accomplish, and where to aim in the future. Planning your business is the first step toward realizing your goals. Your business vision, among other things, will guide lots of work to come.
But how do you know what your goals are? You might want to expand your team, outsource some of the work, and get top companies as clients. But where do you start? What are you aiming for? The mind is often a confused mess. Unless you write down your plans and goals, you are a bit like Alice in Wonderland — you want to know which way to go, but don’t care about where you go. It’s not exactly a recipe for success.
The importance of a business vision
Before you even sit down to plan your business, you must form a business vision. Until you have a firm vision for your business, you cannot expect to reach your goals.
Your business vision should be a clear mental image of where you would like your business to be in the future, based on your aspirations and goals. Your business vision will help you have a clear focus, so you do not go the wrong direction. Even if you do, you can always consult your original plan to help bring yourself back on track.
To put it simply, a business vision is a statement that captures the essence of where you want to take your business and what inspires you to work toward your goals. And the best way to formalize and communicate the goals you have for your business is to write down a vision statement.
Steps to writing a vision statement
As a web development company, your business vision could be one line or a few paragraphs long. Regardless of its length, it must include a few key elements, such as what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, how you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it for. To determine these aspects, you need to put in some time and thought.
Writing a business vision is a step-by-step process. Here are some of the key questions you must attempt to answer during this activity:
1. What are your core values?
Every business, big or small, has a set of values at its core. It is the reason why the company was started in the first place, and it will drive the business to its goals in the future. For this aspect of your business vision, ask yourself why your business exists and how it benefits your clients and customers. For instance, your web development company’s core values could be to become a trusted name in IT by providing unmatched services, solutions and support to clients.
2. What client problems will you address?
Problem solving is an essential step in creating your business vision. Your product or service should help solve the problems or concerns of your target client, and this is determined by pinpointing gaps in the industry. You could create an ideal customer avatar, and then ask yourself how your products or services make life easier for them.
3. What is your long-term goal?
Your business vision is based on long-term goals. Where do you want to see your business in five years? Where should it be in 10 years? Vision statements do not focus on the present; they focus on the future. In order to craft your vision statement, you must know where you want your business to be later on.
4. Are your ambitions realistic?
Your business vision should be ambitious enough to excite you and your team, but it should also be realistic. Your ambitions cannot be too grand or outrageous.
It’s OK to dream big when drafting your vision statement, but sometimes you need to scale it back and make it more realistic. When you start out, your business is going to be small. If you plan to capture the global market in a year, it is probably unachievable — not even Microsoft or Facebook did that. Instead, frame a strategy that will help you be a global brand in ten years.
5. Is it simple enough to understand and remember?
It’s crucial to keep your business vision on the shorter side. Ideally, it should not be longer than a few lines or one paragraph. The longer you make it, the further you drift away from the point, and the harder it is to remember. The same goes with the language.
Your vision statement must be written in plain, simple text free from business-speak and technical jargon.
People both inside and outside of your company should be able to understand your business vision. To attract more stakeholders and support, your basic goals shouldn’t be esoteric.
6. Does everyone agree?
A vision statement should incorporate everyone’s thoughts and opinions, and everyone should agree that this pursuit is noble, but will require teamwork and supreme effort by those involved — even if it is just two other people, for example, at this point.
It’s OK to be ambitious. While becoming a global company in your first year isn’t feasible, you still want to set challenging (yet achievable) goals. If you don’t, you’re not challenging yourself or your team as you should — nothing you have written in your business vision is really that groundbreaking.
Do not be rigid with your business vision
Remember that your business can be altered and adjusted since circumstances are going to change. Your business is going to grow (hopefully!), and a lot of things might shift in the future.
You only have to make sure that the core values and ideals remain the same, though, because that’s what your business stands on. Your integrity can never be compromised.
Act on your business vision
Your business vision isn’t there to just sit and gather dust. Share it with your employees, put it up where everyone can see it all the time, and talk about it when the morale is low. Your business vision is a failure if you fail to act on it.
Maybe you want to make the best websites in the world for the biggest brands, or maybe you want to take your team from 10 to 100 in a few years’ time. Ultimately, it’s all about sheer determination and true grit.