I’m mentoring a company and we had some recent email exchanges around company vision.  What is it and what goes into developing it?

Here’s my definition of vision from one of my subscriber-only articles:

Your vision is the picture that you see of your business at some point in the future.  It is what your creation looks like in the future.  Three years, five years and 10 years are good vision markers to work with.  I typically try to paint a rough picture of my company based on a few facts, such as the revenue and net, numbers of employee/personnel and markets/channels/customers where I sell.  There may be other important factors that you want to build into your business, so you want to include them in the picture that your company paints.  These factors might include brand recognition or social impact.

To expand on that, vision is the core of the company and everything builds on the vision, especially the strategy.  As a result, it’s a pretty important piece.  To develop a company vision, I think these important elements must be considered:

Know thyself

First understand who you are, which includes your personality, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.  What do you do well?   Consider Romans 12:6: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”  What are your gifts? What do you  enjoy doing? When someone experiences the intersection of what they do well with what they enjoy doing, the result is passion and the line between work and play gets fuzzy.  You’re going to be spending a lot of hours working on your company and understanding yourself will help you create a vision that genuinely reflects what you want to do.

See this post for more resources to help know yourself, your strengths, likes and dislikes:

What’s the reason for starting the company?

From my perspective, people start companies for any one or a combination of the following reasons.

  • Freedom:  flexibility in when, how and where they work, and with whom.
  • Financial gain:  capitalize on an opportunity in the marketplace.
  • Social rational:  see a need that needs to be filled
  • Junkie:  the excitement of starting and growing a company
  • No choice: inability to find work

What’s your reason?  Your answer will help guide your vision about what kind of company you want and what you want to accomplish.

Who do you work well with?

What interpersonal circumstances do you do your best work?  Is it solely, with a spouse or business partner or managing employees.  How about having mentors, advisors or investors on your team?  Do you do well collaborating with various stakeholders in your company?