When you are buried in the day-to-day operations of running your business, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. Your nose is to the grindstone everyday just getting it done. Such a limited perspective is one of the biggest reasons business owners fail to seize growth opportunities. Myopic vision limits your ability to think about the big picture.
One of the most important things to understand as you lead and grow your small business is the reason why your company needs a clear, written mission statement.
Before your business can grow, you should be able to articulate a clear vision of where it is you want your company to go. Sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? It’s not. Formulating a clear, written mission statement can be a greater challenge than you might anticipate, especially if you take the time and put in the effort to do it properly.
To create the vision for your company’s growth, step away from it and take a fresh look at the world. What’s happening in the world today? What are the market trends? How will national and global trends filter down to your community?
This is your chance to gaze into a crystal ball and see into the future. Imagine there aren’t any constraints such as money, people or resources. What direction would you take? What would your business look like? The vision is all about what it is you are going to do, not how you are going to do it. It’s not about execution.
Dream to written mission statement
“A business without a dream is like a life without a purpose,” says Michael Gerber, who is a well-known small business expert and thought leader. According to Gerber, the surprising reason most small businesses fail is not because their dream is too big, but rather too small, too realistic it isn’t big enough to sustain more life.
This is why it can be so difficult to really create the clear, written mission statement that will take you past the first several months of your small business startup. It’s easy to see what you need to do tomorrow; it’s far more difficult to see what you need to be doing a year and a half from now.
Talk to people outside your company and ask them what they see. You might be missing revenue and market opportunities because you simply don’t see them.
Dresdene Flynn-White, a certified business coach, has seen this several times; “Often the owner is so entrenched in the activities necessary to keep the business alive, they have little time to focus on generating ideas to move the business forward. One situation that comes to mind is a restaurant whose name and theme suggested a fairly specialized and restricted menu. The reality was, the restaurant had a full menu and catering services with a certain type of food as their specialty,” she says.
Flynn-White says the restaurant was suffering from limited traffic based on the perception they only sold one type of food. “One thing that was obvious to me, and which was immediately implemented, was vivid and attractive pictures of the variety of menu offerings. These were displayed on the tables and the walls so that patrons were made aware of the additional menu and services. Not rocket science, something simple but important for the business to move forward,” she adds.
Don’t rob yourself of the time you need to create your vision. Once you have defined and written your vision statement, your next challenge is to take action to turn the dream it reflects into reality.