Vision for the Business // FM Accountants / Dublin / Ireland
Vision for the Business
A BUSINESS VISION CAN BE A POWERFUL FORCE IN DRIVING AN ORGANIZATION TOWARD ITS SUCCESS - BY UNIFYING THE EMPLOYEES, BY REINFORCING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS, AND BY GAINING THE SUPPORT OF STAKEHOLDERS

An owner’s vision for their business is much more than simply a statement of where the business will be at a designated time in the future, say in three, five or ten years. It will certainly communicate the owner’s perception of the businesses’ future size, products and operations, but it will also encompass the goals of the enterprise and represent the ways in which the business, its people and its culture will evolve.

A business vision can be a powerful force in driving an organization toward its success - by unifying the employees, by reinforcing customer relationships, and by gaining the support of stakeholders who may be as diverse as legislators and suppliers.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS VISION?
A vision statement…spells out goals at a high level and should coincide with the founder's goals for the business.

Simply put, the vision should state what the founder ultimately envisions the business to be, in terms of growth, values, employees, contributions to society.Self-reflection by the founder is a vital activity if a meaningful vision is to be developed.

As a founder, once you have defined your vision, you can begin to develop strategies for moving the organization toward that vision.

Your vision defines where the firm will be in the future, what it will be like both physically and culturally, and how it will be seen by others.

It needs to represent the business far enough ahead to be describing what has not yet been achieved, yet based on current strategies designed to take it there.

If it is to be realized, the vision must be both achievable and inspirational. It has to assume that the people, the leadership, the resources and the drive will all be available and used to build something greater than that which exists today.

Without a defined vision a firm is just operating from one day to the next and not heading in any particular direction or toward any particular goal. Success in the future for any company can only come from having a vision today.
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HOW IS A VISION DEVELOPED?
While the vision depicts a future state of the business it can only be realistic if it grows out of a proper understanding of the business itself and the current strategies on which it is basing its growth expectations.

A simple process of gaining an understanding of the businesses’ vision begins with having the owner describe where they would like to be in the future – not necessarily at a fixed date but more from the point of view of:
• What the business will look like - what products it will be producing,   who its customers will be, and what sort of reputation and brand   presence it will have achieved in the marketplace
• What its earnings will be – how it will generate revenue and how it   will make its profits
• The owner’s position in the business – what kind of role they want   to be playing in the actual management of the business at that time
• The structure of the business – how big it will be and how it will be   managed

The people working in the business should also have their input. Although they might not be in the business by the time the vision has become reality, they can add a large degree of reality to the process from their knowledge of:
• The businesses’ external environment - how well it is competing in   the marketplace
• The opportunities that exist to grow the business – where it can   expand
• The culture of the business – where there are positive aspects that   can be amplified as well as negative aspects that need to be   corrected
• The operations and systems of the business – how well policies   and procedures now in place are working

The financial results of the business should also be analyzed to determine how well the business is performing at the present time. Which products represent a potential foundation for future development and which are so far along their life cycle that they will become redundant in the foreseeable future?

A business vision isn’t created in isolation. The creator of a vision has to know about the industry and the market in which the business operates; the principles of business management; human behavior and motivation; leadership, and business finance among other things. All these areas require management and guidance if the business is to have an achievable vision towards which it can be driven.

It’s only this kind of background knowledge that will enable a visionary to construct a future for the business out of its past and present. The vision is a summation of knowledge to which predictive abilities have been applied for the purpose of creating a ‘big picture’ goal that will be communicated to drive every aspect of the enterprise.
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GETTING THE WORD OUT
To be truly effective a vision must be shared with and accepted by the members of the team. It must be clearly communicated and become part of the culture of the business. Unless this is achieved the vision is not likely to be realized.

An internal vision communication plan outlines what will be done to articulate and disseminate the business’ vision to team members throughout the organization.

The plan aims to secure buy in from all levels of employees and must demonstrate its relevance to people as well as to the business.

The vision has to be communicated in a way that shows it is tangible and real. It has to be exciting and motivating to gain commitment and involvement of those outside the owners of the enterprise.

A vision statement can be a unifying and motivating force for all team members - those who are part of the organization today and those who join in the months and years to come. If they are exposed to a bold and exciting statement of the firm’s vision when they commence, it can become part of their personal goals as well.

HOW TO COMMUNICATE THE VISION
Become a champion of the company’s vision. Enlist everyone in management to make the vision his or her personal issue to support, promote, and incorporate into their work at every opportunity.

Prepare and disseminate a written statement of the vision; make it clear that it is to be highly valued and used as a reference for decision making and individual behavior. Encourage all employees to conduct business with the vision in mind.

THE FOLLOW UP
Revisit the vision on a regular basis and refine it as necessary. This doesn’t mean creating a new vision every year; this would devalue its meaning. But it should be recognized that the vision for the business may change based on the personal situation of key shareholders or events in the external environment.

Establish regular communication vehicles for keeping the businesses’ vision top-of-mind among employees. Management has a critical responsibility to reinforce the vision constantly in everything it says and does.
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IN CONCLUSION
A company’s vision challenges people and evokes a feeling that makes them want to be a part of something they perceive as special. A vision needs to be specific and strong, so that people ‘feel it’ whenever they have dealings with the business.

A vision isn't all about rational, linear decision making. It requires passion and commitment. It is a deep obligation felt throughout the enterprise that signals to others what the business stands for.

‘A vision statement compels people to do something, change something, and become something. It is this drive that can transform a business into a strong, vibrant, rewarding opportunity for everyone who comes into contact with it.

Creating and communicating a vision is one of the most important activities a business owner can perform and all business leaders should understand the processes for crafting and communicating a clear vision. Once a business leader have created a sense of shared vision within their company, they will be able to lead their organization more effectively.’

George Frisby,
Business Advisor
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