Entrepreneurs are visionaries and dreamers. We want to make an impact on the world and believe the business vision we create on a napkin will play a critical role in shaping the future.
The challenge is as much as we want to be in the clouds with our ideas, we must tie them back to the projects we’re working on today because they set the stage for tomorrow’s success. That is why it is often more important to start working on your dream before you have everything in place. There is no perfect time. Therefore, if you want to succeed, you need a few ways to tie your long-term goals for your business vision into a reality.
If you want to get there you need clear communication, definitive outcomes, and a proven process. And you need the right tools and team to help you execute this vision. That is for another day. If you do want the right tools to help you with marketing your vision then don’t forget to get our FREE ebook 101 Online Tools. As the name suggests, you can find the best tools to help with your business growth.
While this article goes beyond the normal digital marketing topics we discuss on this blog, it is important for you to motivate your marketing department into action. At the end of the day, you cannot market your services if you don’t have a vision of where you are heading.
Today we start by talking about the 5 steps to your business’ vision into a reality.
5 Steps to Turn Your Business Vision into a Reality
1. Develop a Process to Ensure Projects Relate to Your Core Vision
How does your work relate to your core business vision? This vision will then influence the strategy you develop for your business. Therefore, spend time before you start working on new projects to ensure they relate to your vision
For example, home furnishings store IKEA’s vision is to, “create a better everyday life for the many people.”
Strategically they need to create furniture and other home furnishings to help make this a reality. IKEA spends a lot of time coming up with products to enhance your life. Moreover, IKEA asks the following question. If the product fails (e.g. it’s going to be too expensive to produce to serve many), it simply doesn’t belong.
Your company can follow IKEA’s model. You just need to be a project-driven enterprise with a clear vision for what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to find other companies missions statements, check out 115 Mission Statements on Amazon (affiliate).
A project-driven enterprise looks at the vision and goals for the company, then ties them into the strategy. By doing this they find projects that relate to their core vision. The key is to continually evaluate what projects fit your company’s vision. Then, start with those projects first.
Fortunately, several tools exist to make project prioritization and time tracking easier. Understanding how long a project takes is key to deciding whether the project is worthwhile.
The right tools make the process easier, You spend more time working on completing the project instead of getting bogged down in details.
2. Clear Team Communication
For your vision to grow, you have to be able to communicate that vision with your employees. By the time you bring employees into your company, this is your baby. While others may not have the same level of concern about your company, it is vital that employees understand why your business is so exemplary.
For example, FreshBooks vision is the 4E Philosophy. 4E stands for Execute Extraordinary Experiences Everyday. This philosophy guides everything from customer support to collaboration. One example of 4E in action is that FreshBooks employee completes a month in support before starting their actual job. It is one small reminder of how important it is to put the customer first.
Beyond just having a clear vision we communicated with customers, we also listen to our team. That is because employees who complain are engaged in the process. They have a stake in making the company better and want to show pride in their work. Statistically, teams with higher engagement rates are 21% more productive.
When dealing with outsourcers you see the same process. Those who keep their head down and don’t ask for more or do the bare minimum are not engaged.
History is full of companies who grew because of the ideas of employees. For example, British Airways wanted to save money on fuel. They asked employees for ideas. They received 200 plus submissions. One employee suggestion to descale the toilets saved $900,000. All told, these simple ideas saved British Airways $20 million annually.
3. Establish Clear Outcomes
Once you have clear lines of communication, you should shift your focus to creating clear outcomes. This means removing the hubris and letting them know the core results you need.
Did you know that only 33% of American workers are actively engaged in the work they do?
Did you know that only 33% of American workers are actively engaged in the work they do?Click To Tweet
Many employees see their job only a paycheck. I get it. I have worked for companies, where I watched the clock at 9:30 AM because I was getting ready to leave at 5 PM. It was horrible.
As my mother-in-law would say, “people don’t leave bad companies. They leave bad managers.” While this statement could be a blog topic on its own, for simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on one of the worst offenders managers make: not being transparent with employees. If your company does not provide clarity, then rumor and high turnover among employees.As my mother-in-law would say, 'people don't leave bad companies. They leave bad managers.'Click To Tweet
Clear outcomes require a clear line of leadership. If you want to learn more about leadership then check out John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Affiliate) on Amazon. His book can do more to help you with this concept than I could in one blog post.
That is why it is vital for business owners to be upfront with their employees. For marketing, it is so easy to give employees ownership of a project. Give them some pride, so they know why they come to work every day for your company. That, in turn, makes them want to help you turn your business’ vision into a reality.
4. Test Your Assumptions Based on the Outcomes/Reports
The world changes so often it is imperative you keep innovating. To do this you must continuously test your assumptions.
The Japanese call this kaizen, which is their word for continual improvement.
Kaizen core philosophy is no process or function is ever perfect. Every person in an organization from the lowliest employee to the CEO can improve their standards and cut waste. It is not uncommon to see productivity increases from your staff when you continually make small changes.
You can help your staff improve their productivity.
First, observe workers, so you can see how long projects take and how they spend their time. If they spend too much time working on one project for a customer you know through up to date time tracking capabilities.
Second, start implementing changes based on these observations. If you see an employee spending time on a project that does not move the vision of your company you need to readjust their focus.
Third, share project information with them to coordinate efforts. It is not enough to help them focus on the correct projects. Employees often need to know why these projects are important, so they continue to make the right decisions.
Every company has assumptions about how their business works. Testing assumptions with employees improve your corporate projects and achieve your vision.
5. Celebrate Successes
Every project has distinct phases. To help your team feel their project contributes to the overall success of the company you sometimes should look at the small victories.
Any team member you do not celebrate could feel their contribution is not valued. This is another way your team starts to disengage from the process of working at your company. As we discussed above, engaged employees improve performance by 21%.
The great thing is you do not need elaborate ceremonies and expensive parties to celebrate employees. You just need to show them their contribution matters.
For example, Ivy Executives uses a gong to celebrate their sales. The project leader strikes “The Gong” and the office cheers. As founder Elena Bajic put it, “A Gong day is a good day!”
Another example comes from a time when I worked at a large multi-national manufacturing company. We held an international competition for engineers to share content on social media.
The winner, who was in Mexico, received a $100 Visa Gift Card. He won by sharing the company’s content as well as engaging with customers, vendors, and co-workers on our social platforms.
We incentivized the entire team to our vision and rewarded those who gave the most to our vision through some simple prizes.
The monetary reward was nice, but at the end of the day, it created a stronger sense of unity on our team that we all worked for the same goal. Also, as you can imagine $100 has a larger impact on someone’s life in Mexico than it does here in the US due to the currency exchange rate. It was a win-win all-around.
The vision for your company drives every project your team works. Therefore, you should make you align your project and vision together.
The best way to do this is through clear communication, process, and objectives. Once you do that you can focus on making sure each project relates back to the business vision you created when you started the company. In future episodes, we will talk about how to execute on this vision through superior marketing and skills. For today, let us know if you have any questions in the comments section for how to turn your business vision into a reality.