Aug 20, 2010

What's the Vision for your Business

Do you have a clear picture of your business objectives? How do you want your company to be perceived today and in the future? If your most loyal customer is asked, “How do you feel about Company XYZ?” what would you consider the ideal response? How many business owners do you think ask themselves these questions? From my experience, I can honestly tell you– not enough.

Too many businesses are simply going through the motions and aren’t spending enough time answering important questions like these. Without a clear sense of where you are going, you are not going to get there (at least not very quickly and not without struggle).

When Jim first opened Jim's Dry Cleaning, he wanted to provide reliable, dependable dry cleaning service and he wanted to make a comfortable living. As Jim was doing the marketing and promotions for the business, he realized early that not only did he need to differentiate himself from the competition, he also needed to have a clear vision for what the business stood for.

Jim took the time and clarified his business vision for himself and his customers to include non-tangibles like “treating customers like family" and "having a personal relationship with as many clients as possible.” He also knew that being successful for him meant his employees had to truly enjoy working there and he wanted them to feel like they were part of something bigger. Jim changed is vision from “dependable, reliable dry cleaning service” to running a family-style business where customers and employees appreciate each other and treat one another like close relatives.

Having defined his vision, Jim saw how he could do things differently. Jim now adds weekly employee meetings to his schedule so he can ask his staff what is working and what is not.  He throws employee BBQs at his home whenever he can . He also invites loyal customers to pick up a slice of banana bread when they come in. Jim would have never even had these ideas had he not taken the time to clearly think about his business vision.

Of course, your vision may be quite different than Jim’s but it’s the process that is extremely important. When was the last time you asked yourself “what’s my vision for my business?”