Business Vision Statements, What Do You Really Need?
This week’s article is from a long time friend and collegue, Amanda McNiece. Amanda is a unique type of business coach who helps trailing spouses start and run a business during overseas postings.
The other day, Amanda and I had a friendly debate on business vision statements and she wrote this article to capture her thoughts. I thought you might like the ideas and may find it handy when working with your clients. So, I asked Amanda if I could share it with you, and I’m happy to say that she accepted.
Over to Amanda…
I believe that every business needs a vision statement, but does the owner/founder need a “special type” of vision statement?
This article explores the concepts and comes up with an answer!
Large Corporate v.s. One-man-show
Corporate Vision Statements tend to be much more company focused, they’re about what the vision for the company is going to be. For big business the vision statement could be completed by anyone, and if a companies leader isn’t fulfilling or is deviating from the vision a new leader could take over and and carry on that vision.
But what does it mean to have a vision statement for your own small, one-person company?
<It’s your company – it exists because of you, and you work because of it. It’s kind of a symbiotic relationship. Do you need this “corporate style” vision statement?
When I looked at what was being said about corporate vision statements and what I had as my own business vision statement I realised that they were quite different.
A Personal Vision Statement
A while back, I wrote this vision statement when I did the “Next Generation Product Development (for coaches)” course with Benay. It went something like this…
My business is strong and growing daily. I hear from women regularly whose lives I have impacted with my materials and insights. I’m excited and challenged; being creative in the way I communicate and conduct my business, responding to the needs of those in my community. I balance my business and my personal life well, each linking and complementing the other. The work I do enables us to financially fulfil our dreams and desires. I am engaged, fulfilled and excited every day about the work that I do.
The thing with this statement is that it is a PERSONAL vision statement about my business. “My business…”, “I..”.
I speak about how the business affects me personally. This is not the typical kind of talk you would find in a corporate vision statement.
Also, this vision statement could apply to a number of businesses. Am I helping expats found their business abroad? Or am I designing kids bedroom furniture? This statement doesn’t really give reference to what I do, but rather, about what “work” means to me.
Is it OK to have a vision statement like this?
My answer is “it depends”, If your intention for you business is to be a soloprenur then this is probably one of the most powerful kinds of vision statements you could have, it’s well rounded and fully connected to your life. It’s what you need to see every day to keep you on track, focused and engaged with what you’re doing.
If you’ve started your business with intentions to grow it, to bring on staff, or perhaps even to sell it in the future, your business vision statement probably needs to be more about why the company exists. When you hire staff or bring on partners or investors, you need to ensure that they are on board with your vision for the company. Is it something they are also passionate about and want to bring about in the world?
I think asking a potential employee if they can help ensure that I can “financially fulfil our dreams and desires”, wouldn’t go down so well.
A Corporate Vision Statement
So, I put myself in a different pair of shoes and thought, what would my vision statement look like if it was a more traditional corporate-type vision statement? It might look something like this.
AmandaMcNeice.com is a financially vibrant business, which supports numerous social entrepreneurship endeavours. It’s known for it’s honest and frank information and insights for those who run their business abroad. It has a wealth of resources that reach a global audience. The work of AmandaMcNeice.com changes the face of working abroad; revolutionising how business is done, inspiring those it reaches to take action and achieve their dreams.
This is related to my personal vision but it communicates a different message. It gets way more specific into what the company does and how it interacts with the world.
So, which do you need?
The two vision statements I’ve written are very different. Both are powerful although for different reasons and for different audiences.
Having a “personal work vision statement” can be a real asset to you no matter the size of your business. A corporate vision statement will certainly be needed if you are communicating what the company does, to a client, investor or team member.
A personal work vision statement will benefit you and will help you keep you on track with your business. It will help you know when it might be time to sell and move on and it will help to keep you engaged and focused and know that it’s still on track with creating YOUR vision of a successfull business (a business that gives you the life you want).
If your intention for business is to grow it into something bigger then write your company vision statement too. You need both. Both your personal and business vision statements should support and compliment each other.
Which do you need in your business? You can share your thoughts in the comments section below.