When you’re building a business, you’re building a dream or a vision. It’s the belief that you can achieve something incredible.

And if you’re not motivated by a dream, then why bother at all? Starting a business, watching it grow, investing in great people – it can’t just be all about the money. You’ll very soon run out of the spark necessary to get you out of bed in the mornings if all you focus on is the figures.

Instead, you want to be focusing on creating something that will change the landscape, something that is exciting and inspiring. That’s what inspires people day after day.

It’s All About The People!

Spend some time describing your dream, really honing it down to its essence. Focus on a vision of the future so you’re asking yourself “When we are successful, what do we want our business to look like?” and ”What it is that we can provide that is really special?”

For a vision to connect, it has to be about the people; people deal with people, people buy from people, and people are the reason we continue to commit to a brand, to connect with an ‘idea’. In our businesses we invite our team to come on a journey. To work together towards our vision of success. To build something incredible and to be proud of what we achieve together.

Online vs Offline

When we buy goods online, it’s a practical, functional transaction. The experience of the website creates the personality of the business, transmitting the brand and generating a feeling of inclusion for the customer.

Even Amazon, as one of the world’s biggest online shops, continuously refines the customer experience. It’s crucial to Amazon that they make their site very clear and easy to use, so you are able to buy the products you want in the smoothest and fastest way possible. The effect of every tiny change to the customer journey is measured and analysed. Direct feedback from the customer experience is objective and evaluated.

As an offline business the experience also needs to communicate the brand experience. Processes and communication must be continuously refined, improved, made more effective. Without the click stream of an online business it can be more difficult to identify where improvements can be made to support and enhance the brand. This is why the team need to understand the vision of success and what that vision means for their role.

People are amazing – if they understand what success looks like, and are encouraged to think and to implement change, then the team will use their inherent creativity to improve the customer experience.  

Expect The Unexpected

Some companies spend time focusing heavily on the current political and economic turmoil we’re experiencing. The fact is that the market is unpredictable. It is unstable and, unless the team have a clarity of vision such market changes can knock the business off course. But the Brexit outcome, the election of Trump – looks like something new but it’s not really. These impacts happen, and they happen frequently.

Keep a close eye on your vision. There will be impacts you have to deal with, ones you should expect. If you remain consistent and clear-headed, you can build your vision and your business, regardless of impacts.

Having a knee-jerk reaction to a political or economic shock does not make good business sense.

You Need To Be In It For The Long Haul

A long term vision is crucial. Vision is where we start and where we finish. You then have to create and work hard to turn your vision into a strategy. This is where my 1000 Day Plan comes in. Be clear and consistent with what you want to achieve. Don’t accept the boundaries and remember to have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Impossible is just a word!

I led a data company, EurotaxGlass’s, as we grew from a regional to a global organisation. We never accepted other people’s boundaries. I was told frequently that we couldn’t integrate all the various companies into one. ”No, it’s impossible,” was the constant cry. So I thought, ‘How do we find a way around it?’ And we did find a way.

The trick is to out-think not out-spend the competition.

If There’s One Thing You Should Do Today…

It’s about inviting people on a journey. Don’t go to your staff and ask them for another 2% return on sales, as this won’t get them motivated or fired up about working for you. It’s not why they want to get out of bed in the morning.

A vision is about having clarity of purpose, something that every business needs. Invest the time and effort in clarifying the vision. Then make sure that everyone in your business understands it. And driving the vision through the business is ultimately what leadership is all about and the cornerstone for everything that you do.