‘Visions’ and ‘mission statements’ are usually found on page 1 in any Business Planning Guide, so we thought we’d give you 2080e’s take on things, 2020 style…
Now, if 2020 taught has taught us anything, it’s that we need to appreciate the moment, the here and now, and stop taking tomorrow for granted.
We sincerely hope that you manage to take stock of what you have every now and then, as well as where you’re at, because what you have and where you are right now, might have been exactly what you were wishing for just a few years ago.
It’s so important to reflect on how far you’ve already come, not just in business, but in life.
Challenges though, be they personal or universal, also present new opportunities, as long as you approach them with the right mind set and crucially, a ‘vision’ that will help you get to where you want to go.
We’re calling it 20:20 vision.
You need to focus on where you’re going.
You need to become the master of your own destiny, and it can all start with a pen and a piece of paper.
The Hollywood actor Jim Carrey, most famous for his roles in The Truman Show, Ace Ventura and The Mask, recently revealed how a ‘vision’ helped to shape not just his present, but his long term future.
Absolutely convinced that he would succeed as an actor eventually, Carrey wrote himself a cheque for $10 million, for ‘acting services rendered’, keeping it tucked away in his wallet.
By his own admission, he was flat broke at this point, but working like a dog on the comedy scene, night after night, driven by this outlandish vision that one day he would get to where he wanted to be, he carried on.
1994 was his breakthrough year, and the above mentioned three films all came out in quick succession, sky rocketing Carrey’s profile and career. He had made it.
He cashed the cheque and gave it to his dad.
A nice story, but how is it relevant to you?
Well, he asked himself where he wanted to get to, he visualised it, he was bold (OK, very bold!), and then he worked his backside off to get there.
Oh, and he wrote it down on paper.
That’s where it all starts.
An idea in your head is an idea. An idea written down on paper, a computer, or as in Carrey’s case, a cheque, is so much more than an idea.
It’s a commitment.
So, what is your vision for your business?
Do you want to be able to work a 4–day week? A 3–day week even?
Do you dream of building it up to the point that it is saleable, allowing you to ride off into the sunset with a big payoff?
Do you want to be able to pass the business on to your children? To build a legacy that creates income for years to come?
Wherever you want to get to, write it down. Then scribble it out and write it again. Write it down as many times as you like, until it sits right with you, until you’re happy with it.
Now, all of that might sound a bit selfish, and d’you know what? It sort of is. It has to be. You’re not in the 9 to 5 game because you’ve chosen this path. You want to do it for yourself and for your family, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Maybe, your 20:20 vision can include others as well.
After all, you’re going to need the help of others to get where you want to go.
Employees, suppliers, customers.
They all have a part to play in helping you reach your vision, and however committed or loyal they are, it’s going to be a pretty hard sell to get them to buy into a vision that benefits you, and only you.
Let’s think about the vision for the business as a whole. A mission statement, if you like.
Get another piece of paper for this one.
A mission statement that you share with every stakeholder needs to resonate with every stakeholder. It needs to be ambitious, inspiring and it needs to mean something to them.
Meaning and purpose. Those are the two most important things here.
A good mission statement will enthuse people, they’ll want to be a part of it and they’ll want to see the business succeed.
A great mission statement will inspire people, they’ll make themselves a part of it and they’ll make it succeed.
What are the values and the ethos of your business? These have to contribute to the mission statement. What difference does it make to the lives of your customers?
If you’re feeling a little confused about the semantics of ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ right now, here’s an example from Disney that should help illustrate the differences.
“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
It’s all about what they offer – entertainment and inspiration. It tells you how they do that – through unparalleled storytelling.
But let’s be a little more cynical, where does the money come into it?
Well, here’s a snippet from the corporate vision…
The company wants “to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.”
Yep. That’s pretty bold, but they got there.
With strategic industry management targets, they got there, driven by the vision, and powered along by the mission statement, with the momentum that can bring to any business, including yours.
At 2080e, we would always encourage business owners to think about these things, the vision and the mission, before starting to plan their business in earnest.
Business owners can use these statements of intent to inform their next moves, their building blocks, their strategy. As long as they tie in with the vision, and as long as they are all a part of the mission, there’s a greater chance of success.
Write it all down.
Fine tune it. Test it. Share it.
When it’s done, written down, printed out and hung up for all to see, keep coming back to it. Keep checking in with it. It might change every now and then, and that’s OK, but don’t be afraid to be bold, don’t be afraid to be ambitious.
Your 20:20 vision might allow you to picture where you’ll be in 5 years’ time.
Your mission statement will help you get there, and potentially bring others along for the ride.
Whatever you do though, and this is critically important, don’t forget to enjoy that ride and be grateful for the one you’ve been on so far.