by Amanda Pestana
This is a quick and simplified guide to get your thoughts flowing towards building a strategy that aligns with the very essence of your business.
Here are Five Steps to get started:
(1) Develop the Vision, Mission, and Core Values
(2) Set Objectives
(3) Craft a Strategy
(4) Implement & Execute the Strategy
(5) Monitor Progress, Evaluate Performance and Initiate Corrective Adjustments
Step one, many refer to developing a strategic vision, mission, and core values; however, you might get lost overthinking the strategy and combining it with the vision and all others. Instead, I recommend focusing on the heart and essence of your business to develop the first step and, after setting that into place, organizing the objectives of your business to craft a strategy that highlights your market niche.
Here are a few questions to help develop your vision, mission, and core values:
(1) "What is my industry?"
(2) "What product or service will be offered?"
(3) "What do I hope to achieve through my business?"
(4) "Who are my customers?"
(5) "What do my customers seek or like?"
(6) "What is my market niche?"
(7) "How do I see my business in the future?"
(8) "What is the main focus of my business?
Vision Statements should paint a picture of where you are heading, identifying your market, competitive arenas giving top management direction; while upholding the strategic business vision. When a concept is effectively communicated, it is a viable tool to direct all personnel in the same direction.
Things that you should not do when developing your vision statement:
Don't be generic, vague, or incomplete.
Don't dwell on the present.
Don't rely on superlatives.
Don't spite out a bunch of words and just put it all together running on and on and on...
Be graphic, specific, have direction, make it memorable, and pave the pathway towards accomplishing the vision statement. Make sure the vision answers, "where we are going and why," articulate a compelling case for where the firm is heading, and arouse a committed organizational effort.
When reflecting on the slogan of the vision, it should illuminate the business direction and purpose, reminding the team why and where they are heading. Here are a few business vision and slogan statements:
IKEA's Vision Statement: "Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people."
IKEA's Slogan: "The Wonderful Everyday"
Adidas' Vision Statement: "To be the design leaders with a focus on getting the best out of the athletes with performance guaranteed products in the sports market globally."
Adidas' Slogan: "Impossible is Nothing"
Chipotle's Vision Statement: "Develop a team of top performers who are empowered to achieve high standards."
Chipotle's Slogan: "Food with Integrity"
Ben and Jerry's Vision Statement: "making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way."
Also, you don't necessarily need a slogan, Starbucks doesn't have an official slogan. This is their vision statement: "To treat people like family, and they will be loyal and give their all."
What is the difference between the mission statement and the vision statement?
The vision focuses on the direction the business is heading. The mission focuses on the WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO, and WHY YOU ARE HERE.
The mission identifies the product or service, the buyer needs, the customer groups, the market services, is specific to give the company's identity. The continuous theme of the mission statement is the here and now, not the future like the vision. It is especially the purpose.
Here are a few examples of mission statements:
Starbucks' mission statement is "to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."
Harley-Davidson's mission statement: "We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments."
Ben and Jerry's Mission Statement is separated into three parts addressing an economic mission, a social mission, and a product mission.
Product Mission - "to make, distribute and sell the finest quality all-natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating nutritious, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.”
Social Mission - "to operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally."
Economic Mission - "to operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees."
You might find it easier to separate your mission statement. The reason I love to use this as an example is that people think you always need to follow the same method or formula that other companies have to succeed, and this isn't true. The more genuine and authentic you are to your business niche, the more successful you will be. Know who you are and develop a business strategy that connects directly to your essence, not someone else's.
Remember that the strategy you craft will always need fine-tuning. It will ever be changing to align with the core objective of the business. Evaluating the results of each approach will identifying the modifications and additions that should be implemented to continue on the path that has already been established for the business.
Strategy, just like marketing, is always needing to be updated, modified, reevaluated, and tested as the market changes, technology, businesses, and environments. However, regardless of these changes, don't change your essence! Remember who you are and why you are here; remember your purpose, and keep working towards your future.
References: Strategy: Core Concepts and Analytical Approaches, Arthur A. Thompson, The University of Alabama