What is your big vision? And why is it important to you?’ These are the two big questions I pose to new clients when we first start working on a branding project.
Although many new business owners have a good grasp of what they want to achieve, many are still weaving together all the bits and pieces of their story, and may need a little help to articulate their vision with clarity and purpose.
Many people think of a business vision as one of those old-school corporate guidelines that are great to hang on an office wall but are often forgotten in the day-to-day running of the business.
My outlook on business visioning goes far beyond the corporate jargon.
I see visioning as a process that reveals an optimistic groundwork for the strategic decisions you will have to make for your business to grow. It’s also a personal business map that keeps you connected with your sense of purpose and direction.
Normally, we look at our life and businesses with a ‘problem solving’ approach. We tend to focus on what is not working and then we spend time and energy figuring out how to fix it. However, the problem with this approach is that it can be less than inspiring and also quite distracting.
Instead of reacting to problems, we should be creating the reality we want.
Ari Weinzweig, founding partner of Zingerman's group, which I believe is one of the most progressive organisations operating today, defines visioning as the following:
“Visioning is the idea of beginning our work by first figuring out what we want success to look like at a particular point in the future. While it’s inspiring and exciting, it must also be specific enough that we’ll be able to tell whether or not we’ve successfully arrived.”
But why is having a vision so critical?
Imagine setting off on a long road trip only to realise you are not sure where you want to end up or how you are going to get there. It would be hard to prepare for a trip such as this, let alone be confident about it. The same goes for business.
Having a clear vision awakens the creative energy you need to set a cohesive path and execute your plan. Writing your vision—and reviewing it regularly—is an inspirational exercise that keeps you engaged with your work.
I have written visions for all of my Amora Creative yearly projects. I also have a vision for what I want my business to look and feel like in 2020.
As I started practising visioning and researching techniques, I learned that there are five qualities all effective visions share.
We all want to be part of something special. A great vision must be uplifting and exciting, and drive everyone involved to help make it possible.
It is great to be ambitious, but aiming for something that is not actually possible to achieve will frustrate you. In other words, you must have a decent shot at making it happen.
A timeframe helps you keep track of your progress and it gives a definite context to your story. If you had a time machine and could travel to a specific time in the future, what would you like to see happening?
You really need to write your vision down to make it work. Writing it down will unlock details and point out opportunities, it will also encourage creative thinking and innovation. If you’d like to get visual, even better—draw pictures, use colours, go to Pinterest, and make it fun!
Tell people about it! If you have staff they should be the first people you share your vision with. I’ve shared mine with my family and friends, and with some key people who will help me stay accountable for it.
Have you got a vision of greatness for your business but need a few tips to map it out and write it down?
You can download a free copy of my simple worksheet if you want to experiment with your own visioning process. I would love to hear your thoughts and what the process was like for you.