Vision: A Guide to Your Future

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Your future may not turn out as you imagine but your vision gets you started in the right direction.


Your statement isn’t supposed to tell how you’re going to get there. It sets the direction for your business plan. The final destination will be up to destiny.


What Bill Gates envisioned when he first began Microsoft was a personal computer in every home; not a series of steps for making it happen.


Elon Musk . . . hadn’t designed a spacecraft when he launched SpaceX. People going to Mars to live was his vision.


It’s understandable if your vision statement is purely about making money and living the wealthy life.


But I absolutely don’t want my vision statement to feature that as my motivation. It is not!


Please remember: Capitalism is great. Greed is the problem. No one is impressed with a get rich scheme! Good work deserves “just desserts.” No more. No less.

Your Vision Isn’t a Plan; It’s an Intention

You’ve previously crafted a mission statement that starts in the present. Now we are ready to write a vision statement that looks to the future.

A vision statement is a picture of the future. Your personal vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all the strategic planning to come. It’s not a road map, it’s a vision of where you intend to go.

Your future may not turn out as you imagine but your vision gets you started in the right direction. Sometimes your vision leads you to unexpected places but you would never have gotten there without the guidance of your startup vision statement.

What Bill Gates envisioned when he first began Microsoft was a personal computer in every home, not a series of steps for making it happen. I’m guessing he didn’t imagine he would become one of the richest men in the world.

Elon Musk, a South African-born American entrepreneur, hadn’t designed a spacecraft when he launched SpaceX to focus on the idea of people traveling to Mars to live there. It was his vision and he could see the future however he wanted it to be.

Your statement isn’t supposed to tell how you’re going to get there. It sets the direction for your business plan. The final destination will be up to destiny.

Once again, I use my StratPlan as a model:

My ultimate vision:

Helping workers and entrepreneurs overcome economic injustice for the sake of themselves and their families, their friends and neighbors, their community and their country.

There’s my second elevator speech!

Previously, my mission statement explained what I intended to do. Now my vision statement tells what that will look like when I get there!

You see, no matter how complex your project, it can be condensed to 25 words or less.

To tell you the truth, without these mission and vision statements, my tongue gets all tied up in knots because my brain is so full of disorganized stuff! The person I’m trying to convince ends up looking somewhat like the WTF woman on the NME homepage!

Our vision statements have to present clear pictures.

Typical personal vision statements don’t really work for us because our picture is mostly about business and social purpose with a little personal life mixed in. Here are a few real examples of personal vision statements that don’t fit as a NME/COWORK Entrepreneurs vision statement:

Bad Examples

My Life Vision: To see everyone, including my family, enjoy peace and rights, so that they can realize their full potential in life.

Be A Better Human Being: My personal vision includes — Making music every day. Dancing when I feel like it. Laughing a lot. Riding my bike. Feeling connection with God and deepening relationships with my husband, friends and family.

Those are fine visions for personal development, but they are totally focused on self-improvement – that kind of “personal.” When we think personal vision statement in the business context, we are thinking about our professional lives, what we want to do with it, what we want to accomplish.

Better Examples

Five years from now, Tiny Tots Diaper Service will be the top grossing diaper service in the Lower Mainland by consistently providing a reliable, affordable service for Moms and Dads with small children.

Five years from now, Paula’s will be rated as a “five star” restaurant in the Greater Toronto area by consistently providing the combination of perfectly prepared food and outstanding service that creates an extraordinary dining experience.

Five years from now, Computer Services Ltd. will have annual revenues of over one million by consistently providing timely, reasonably priced repair and instructional services.

Within the next five years, the Women’s Centre will have helped create a safer, more harmonious community by helping women acquire the education, skills and resources necessary to build self-sufficient prosperous lives.

Within the next five years, Metromanage.com will become a leading provider of management software to North American small businesses by providing customizable, user-friendly software scaled to small business needs.

You may notice that all of these examples include a timeline. Mine doesn’t. I think the place for timelines is in the strategic plan itself. Others might disagree, but that’s okay. If timeline is an important part of what you want to say, then say it.

It’s Okay If There’s Money in Your Vision, But . . . .

Helping you get your fair share is certainly one of the things NME intends to accomplish. But if your vision begins and ends on that note, you are not going to be one of the socially responsible capitalists I’m aiming for.

It’s understandable if your vision statement is purely about making money and living the wealthy life. In my example, however, I don’t mention money except for others. My primary purpose is to do good work. I could also use a little money but I’ll let that take care of itself. After all, doing good is good business.

Please remember: Capitalism is great. Greed is the problem. No one is impressed with a get rich scheme for yourself! Good work will earn “just desserts.” No more. No less.

In the past, I’ve assumed reward follows good work. Now I know better! This time I’ll be sure not to make that same mistake again. But I absolutely don’t want my vision statement to feature that as my motivation. It is not!

The ideal mix lies in the socially responsible capitalist. And I am.

Please share.

Please write your first, second or third version vision statement before going to the next class:
Goals: The Whats, Not the Hows

You’ve previously crafted a mission statement that starts in the present. Now we are ready to write a vision statement that looks to the future.

Your Vision Isn’t a Plan; It’s an Intention

A vision statement is a picture of the future. Your personal vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all the strategic planning to come. It’s not a road map, it’s a vision of where you intend to go.

Your future may not turn out as you imagine but your vision gets you started in the right direction. Sometimes your vision leads you to unexpected places but you would never have gotten there without the guidance of your startup vision statement.

What Bill Gates envisioned when he first began Microsoft was a personal computer in every home, not a series of steps for making it happen. I’m guessing he didn’t imagine he would become one of the richest men in the world.

Elon Musk, a South African-born American entrepreneur, hadn’t designed a spacecraft when he launched SpaceX to focus on the idea of people traveling to Mars to live there. It was his vision and he could see the future however he wanted it to be.

Your statement isn’t supposed to tell how you’re going to get there. It sets the direction for your business plan. The final destination will be up to destiny.

Once again, I use my TCO+ StratPlan as a model:

My ultimate vision:

Helping workers and entrepreneurs overcome economic injustice for the sake of themselves and their families, their friends and neighbors, their community and their country.

There’s my second elevator speech!

Previously, my mission statement explained what I intended to do. Now my vision statement tells what that will look like when I get there!

You see, no matter how complex your project, it can be condensed to 25 words or less.

To tell you the truth, without these mission and vision statements, my tongue gets all tied up in knots because my brain is so full of disorganized stuff! The person I’m trying to convince ends up looking somewhat like the WTF woman on the NME homepage!

Our vision statements have to present clear pictures.

Typical personal vision statements don’t really work for us because our picture is mostly about business and social purpose with a little personal life mixed in. Here are a few real examples of personal vision statements that don’t fit as a NME/TCO+ vision statement:

Bad Examples

My Life Vision: To see everyone, including my family, enjoy peace and rights, so that they can realize their full potential in life.

Be A Better Human Being: My personal vision includes — Making music every day. Dancing when I feel like it. Laughing a lot. Riding my bike. Feeling connection with God and deepening relationships with my husband, friends and family.

Those are fine visions for personal development, but they are totally focused on self-improvement – that kind of “personal.” When we think personal vision statement in the business context, we are thinking about our professional lives, what we want to do with it, what we want to accomplish.

Better Examples

Five years from now, Tiny Tots Diaper Service will be the top grossing diaper service in the Lower Mainland by consistently providing a reliable, affordable service for Moms and Dads with small children.

Five years from now, Paula’s will be rated as a “five star” restaurant in the Greater Toronto area by consistently providing the combination of perfectly prepared food and outstanding service that creates an extraordinary dining experience.

Five years from now, Computer Services Ltd. will have annual revenues of over one million by consistently providing timely, reasonably priced repair and instructional services.

Within the next five years, the Women’s Centre will have helped create a safer, more harmonious community by helping women acquire the education, skills and resources necessary to build self-sufficient prosperous lives.

Within the next five years, Metromanage.com will become a leading provider of management software to North American small businesses by providing customizable, user-friendly software scaled to small business needs.

You may notice that all of these examples include a timeline. Mine doesn’t. I think the place for timelines is in the strategic plan itself. Others might disagree, but that’s okay. If timeline is an important part of what you want to say, then say it.

It’s Okay If There’s Money in Your Vision, But . . . .

Helping you get your fair share is certainly one of the things NME intends to accomplish. But if your vision begins and ends on that note, you are not going to be one of the socially responsible capitalists I’m aiming for.

It’s understandable if your vision statement is purely about making money and living the wealthy life. In my example, however, I don’t mention money except for others. My primary purpose is to do good work. I could also use a little money but I’ll let that take care of itself. After all, doing good is good business.

Please remember: Capitalism is great. Greed is the problem. No one is impressed with a get rich scheme for yourself! Good work will earn “just desserts.” No more. No less.

In the past, I’ve assumed reward follows good work. Now I know better! This time I’ll be sure not to make that same mistake again. But I absolutely don’t want my vision statement to feature that as my motivation. It is not!

The ideal mix lies in the socially responsible capitalist. And I am.

Please share.

Please write your first, second or third version vision statement before going to the next class:
Goals: The Whats, Not the Hows

Resources

Not My EconomicsVision: A Guide to Your Future