When you started your business you had a dream of what it would look like, where it would take you, and maybe even how it would change the world. This dream was invisible, but powerful. It was instrumental in the fabrication of your business, and you took steps to begin to live out that dream. Is it everything that you hoped it would be, or are there missing pieces that you’d like to put back in place?
Dreams that have clarity are called visions. Successful businesses have written vision statements that explain where the business is going. Visions are fluid and change over time. They provide a sense of aspiration, but can also address the areas that you want to maintain a leadership position in. They should be shared with employees who should know their role and contributions towards making it a reality.
Mission statements are different than vision statements. The mission statement for your company should address why your company exists. It forces you to decide in advance what you are, and consequently what you’re not about. It should be short and very clear, and include your company’s:
- Skills and abilities—what you do
- Personality traits—how you do it
- Values, dreams, and passions—why you do it
If you’re having a hard time developing a mission statement, take some time to visit the websites of other companies that you admire. They will most likely have their mission statement available for you to examine.
Once you’ve written your mission and vision statements, it’s time to develop goals. Goals are the action steps that make the dream, vision, and mission come alive. They must be written to include the following attributes:
- Specific—describe exactly what is expected, why it is important, and who’s involved.
- Measurable—include a quantifiable measurement of what is needed to establish confidence that the goal has been met.
- Attainable—explain how the goal can be accomplished.
- Relevant —align the goal with your mission statement.
- Time-bound—have a due date.
After your goals are written, you’ll need to take steps each day to achieve them. Employees should be able to define how they contribute to each of the goals, and therefore how they link to the success of the company.
Once you’ve recognized your dream, articulated it in a vision, directed it with a mission statement, put it into action with goals, and communicated it, it’s time to go live it. Successful businesses define and live out these critical elements each and every day.
What steps will you take to live your dream today?