4 questions to answer before you define your company’s vision

The vision statement is just that – a statement. It is not a white paper, a thesis, or a comprehensive description of you, your company or organization, your product(s), or your market. Let’s go back to Lowe’s vision statement for an example – We will provide customer-valued solutions with the best prices, products, and services to make Lowe’s the first choice for home improvement.

Therefore, the vision statement should answer these four questions:

  1. What business do we want to be in? For Lowe’s it is Home Improvement products and services. What is it for you? Non-profits are in business too when business is defined as activities that purposefully occupy time and require our efforts. There is some focused occupation your organization can claim. What is it?
  2. What is the purpose of our business or organization? For Lowe’s it is to be the first choice for home improvement. What is yours? Hint: if you can’t define it, then one must question your existence as a company or organization. The word “purpose” itself means the reason for which you exist. This is more critical than you might think because it directly reflects the values brought to the company and is the ignition source for motivation and energy within the people who populate it.
  3. Why do you want to be in business? The obvious reason will be to make money if you are a commercial enterprise. The reason may be less obvious if you are a non-profit or a governmental agency. The answer to this one will emerge from your values. Hint: all businesses, organizations, and agencies are problem-solving entities. They offer solutions to someone for something. What problem(s) are you solving, want to solve, or should be solving? You can’t solve them all so the answer to this requires focus. Lowe’s want to be to go to choice for home improvement. It is not the resource for grocery products nor does it intend to be.
  4. How are you going to make this happen? What is Lowe’s going to do? It will “Provide customer-valued solutions with the best prices, products, and services.” How about you?

Okay, there you have them. Now comes the hard part. If you already have a vision statement, take these four questions and overlay them onto it. How well does your statement answer the questions? If you don’t have one, well, I’ve given you the four parameters but the rest is up to you. You can get started, but I have more tools to help you out. On Monday, I’ll be providing 4 components you need to include. See you then.

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