Void of vision and strategy equals bad business

publication date 13.05.2007

Vision and strategy is the basis of business

Most entrepreneurs begin their career with an idea that they think they can make enough money on. Such an idea is, initially, of the essence, but does every entrepreneur have a similar idea (or vision) up the sleeve for the coming years? How to find the right vision and build a good strategy described in this article.

If an entrepreneur or a manager wants to run their company efficiently, they need a vision. A vision which defines what the company wants to be, where it wants to get to. They create the company´s future through a vision. It is one of the most important things they can do for the benefit of their own firm. A vision alone is not enough, though. At least, it has to be supplemented with a strategy and particular targets. In small and medium-scale businesses, the following three degrees appear to suffice: 

  • vision – defines what we want to be and where we want to get in, say, 3 to 5 years
  • strategy -  describes the way in which we are going to achieve our vision
  • objectives  -  describe what specifically we have to achieve to fulfil our vision; objectivess must be measurable

Setting the right vision, strategy and targets is no easy task, for, in doing so, we really create a picture of our future prosperity and can hardly anticipate what will be in 3 or 5 years´ time. Avoiding the process of setting the vision usually equals making a tragical mistake. Unless we know what we want to be and what position on the market we want to achieve in our segment, we will not be sure:

  • what workers do companies have to accept
  • what qualification level our employees should have
  • what marketing tools to apply
  • whether we have drawn up the right business plan or not
  • what are the target groups that we should aim at
  • what information system to buy
  • etc.

How to set a vision?

Every entrepreneur who decides to define a new vision or reassess their current one is free to use the following procedure:

Define your own values - this step is going to become the basis of your policy. It determines your limits and what means you will be using on the road to prosperity. These values will form the basis of your corporate culture, determining relations among workmates and employees. You should not underrate this sphere. Sooner or later you are going to face it and will have to decide what you really do want in life. 

Do not prepare a strategy alone - if a bit possible and you have people around you whom you can trust and they have appropriate knowledge and understanding, prepare a strategy with them. In constructive discussions with opinions well sort out. They are backed up by an appropriate method, then you can more quickly find the right vision and strategy. If you have a larger company, build a team of experts.

Getting maximum information about their business segment – this is perhaps the very essential basis: getting to know the environment into which an entrepreneur is going to plunge with their idea. All information acquired has to be quantified, so that we know what needs our customer has, how often they need our product or service, how many opportunities to buy the product they have, etc. How does the state promote private business in that particular segment of the market also makes very significant information.

Assessing the strengths and weaknesses -  neither in this task the entrepreneur is left without useful devices, with the SWOT analysis being a much used tool here. It will help them to balance the strengths and the weaknesses of the company´s internal environment with the external environment which is defined by the opportunities and the threats. 

Assessing the competition on the market – you can utilize the Porter´s model. The entrepreneur´s idea has to stand the test in all five kinds of pressure exercised by customers, competitors, suppliers, substitutes and the risk associated with entering the segment.

Come to realize what you like - we work best on things we like to do. Doing our favourite work, we do not even care about time and energy, enjoying every minute of it. We think everythig over going into the tiniest details, like a modeller posting their tin soldiers in preparation for a big battle. Our enthusiasm works as a motive force driving us ever closer to our vision.

Describe your strategy -  all the previous steps have helped you to assess the environment for your enterprise. Now it is time to determine the right direction and the right way to achieve your vision. Working with a pencil and paper is bound to continue, and you should be considering not just one but more variant strategies until you are sure you have the right one.

Specify your objectives - now you have the vision and the road map. Yet it is not enough! There is plenty of work to be done which should ideally be divided into a number of objectives that are easy to achieve one by one. Each such objective should be measurable, have one person responsible for achieving it and a clear deadline date. Also, do not forget setting clear stages for checking on how the work is progressing. Generally, each objective must comply with rule SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound.

Have another critical look at everything - at this stage, euphoria can prevail over a prepared transition to the riches. Then it is appropriate to have a little break and look for critical points which can ruin everything like a castle in the air. Reassess and recalculate everything once again. It also helps if you invite a consultant, so that he or she, as an independent expert, can assess everything.

Plan and monitor the trend - when the vision and strategy of you release the, I recommend everything written into consecutive steps in the schedule. At least 1x per month to monitor whether you fulfill what you have set, but most importantly, whether it is achieving positive results for you. There is no need in the first few months to make a lot of money, just when the results will have a positive trend. It then know that you are on the right track.

Endless process of repetition

Yes, you are right. At least once a year it is worth it to scrutinize your vision and strategy again. You can proceed in the same way as before and take all the specified steps. Sometimes you just have a critical look at things. Leaving out a regular assessment can lead to a situation in which you find you have fulfilled your objectives, neverthless, you are standing alone in your segment, and the market with its customers has moved on elsewhere.

I can warmly recommend the training to prepare the vision and strategy, whether using the SWOT matrix or without it in a simpler form. Today the saturated market is not easy to find an idea and a vision that will lead you to success and profit.

Jiří Střelec

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„If nobody knows the quality of your work, not acually doing the work will be just as good.“ more >>

Jiří Střelec Jiří Střelec

Doing quality work for the customer should come as a matter of course. However, even quality work must be properly presented. If the customer is not informed about the quality or, better still, confident of it, then we did not do quality work.