By guest financial blogger, Sharita Humphrey
As the year comes to a close it’s time to start thinking and planning for the next year if you haven’t done so already. It’s going to be a great year!
Why? Because I am going to show you how crafting a vision and writing clear goals will help you stay focused, intentional, and dedicated.
A vision statement for your business is different than a mission statement. A mission statement is timeless; it doesn't change. Your vision does, however. As you achieve your vision, you create a new one. Or you update/revise your current one.
Vision statements are time-bound. They should describe what you want your business to accomplish over time, ideally 5-10 years. They should also capture you and your business's core ideals and serve as a roadmap for all of your decisions.
Additionally, vision statements should be lofty, yet focused. What this means is that you should dream big, but also be specific about where you want your business to be in the near future. You want it to inspire and propel you and your employees into action.
Conciseness and precise language are imperative when crafting your vision, as well as using the present tense.
Start by trying to answer this question: What impact do I want my business to have on the community? It’s okay if you don’t have an answer right this second, but you should have an answer soon.
I’d like you to explore some examples of vision statements to help you develop your own:
Nike: “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)”
My own: “We are here to break intergenerational poverty by sharing financial education, awareness, and hope.”
Notice each of these vision statements are 19 words and 14 words in length, respectively, meaning they are concise. Here are some examples of even shorter vision statements:
- Feeding America: A hunger-free America (4 words)
- Oxfam: A just world without poverty (5 words)
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: A World Free of MS (5 words)
- Make-A-Wish: That people everywhere will share the power of a wish (10 words)
- Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live (10 words)
Consider the impact words have on meaning. Anyone can create a paragraph-length statement. I bet you could talk about where you want your business to go for an hour or more, but shorter sentences have a stronger impact on readers. They convey determination and confidence.
Having a vision is an excellent start to guiding you, your employees, and your business to future success. Once you have fleshed out your vision, you need to create goals.
For every large goal you have (i.e. earn $1 million in the next year), you should have several small goals. You cannot expect to achieve your lofty goal without setting smaller benchmarks along the way.
Your goals must align with your vision. Your vision is where you want your business to go; therefore, your goals need to be clear with actionable steps that will ensure you get there.
Below are several examples of financial goals to help you get started:
- Reduce expenses
- Increase productivity
- Identify workflows and streamline processes
- Grow your network
These are great goals, but still slightly vague and require a little more specificity. To achieve this, craft your goals using the SMART method:
Be Specific: What are your goals and why?
Be Measurable: How will you measure your progress? How will you know you met your goals?
Be Achievable: What efforts will you need to commit to reaching your goals?
Be Realistic: Are your goals reasonable? Can you realistically accomplish them in the time you’ve designated?
Be Timely: When will you achieve your goals? Have you given yourself enough time to accomplish them? Do you need to set smaller ones to fit into the time frame you have allotted?
The advice provided here is universal. You can apply these steps to both your business and your life, and I want to encourage you to do just that. Your business vision and goals do not necessarily have to be the same as your personal goals. I'd argue that they should be different to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
I’d like to offer one final tip: be flexible. Just like in your budget, flexibility is a must in your daily schedule and anything else in your life. You must be able to adapt and be willing to change.
I hope these tips were helpful! What helps you cast vision for your business or in life? Tell me in the comments.