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Do you have a vision statement for your design business?I heard this quote on a podcast recently.
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
I looked it up, and it turns out this is an old Japanese proverb. It means if you have a vision, but you don’t do anything to achieve it, it’s nothing more than a daydream. However, if you take action, without any sort of vision to guide you, the results can be chaotic and possibly catastrophic.
I know that sounds kind of dire. But many new businesses, including graphic and web design businesses, never achieve their full potential due to a lack of vision. That’s why having a vision statement is essential.
The difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement.
What is a Mission Statement?
The purpose of a Mission Statement is to define the what, who and why of a company at the present moment. It’s kind of an action-oriented instructional roadmap for how a business operates. It defines the purpose of a business; it’s function and objectives.
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement, on the other hand, defines where the company, in this case, your design business, wants to be in the future. It guides you in your decision making when it comes to setting goals to reach an eventual destination.
When comparing the two, a Mission Statement is a journey, one you take to reach your destination, the Vision Statement.
As Jessica Honard, co-owner of North Star Messaging + Strategy, a copywriting and messaging company, puts it “A mission statement focuses on the purpose of the brand, the vision statement looks to the fulfillment of that purpose,”
In most cases, a Vision Statement is shared within an organization, while a Mission Statement is shared with the public.
Why do you need a Vision Statement?
The primary purpose of a Vision Statement is to give you focus. Many business owners, including designers, start businesses without any focus. And without focus, you can end up all over the place.
You know you want to start a design business, but what does that entail? Finding clients and designing projects for them? But what else?
Do you want to be still doing the same thing 3-4 years from now that you’re doing today? Do you want to be working for the same types of clients? Do you want to be doing the same kinds of design projects? Do you want to be making the same income?
Without a proper vision to follow, you may end up being very busy but not accomplish anything. A vision statement creates a clear picture of the future of your business 3-4 years from now.
What’s the difference between a vision and a goal?
Think of a vision as a mindset, a position to strive for in the future. It’s something you want to achieve, but it isn’t as measurable as a goal.
For example, your vision might be to become a recognized design influencer. Your goal to achieve that vision might start with talking at 30 regional and national design conferences within the next three years. Visions are more abstract, something to dream of. Goals are more concrete, something you can measure.
Having a Vision Statement makes it easier to create goals. Goals that help achieve your vision.
A Vision Statement for your design business.
If you don’t have one already, you need to write a Vision Statement for your design business. Figure out a destination, a place you want to be in three to four years from now. Then figure out how to get there.
The purpose of a Vision Statement is to inspire you, encourage you, to push you.
- What do you need to do to fulfil your vision?
- What do you need to stop doing because it’s preventing you from achieving your vision?
- What do you need to learn that will make it easier for you to reach your destination?
- Who can you partner with to help you realize your vision?
Without a vision for your future, it’s easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day details of running your business. It’s like you’re on a boat in a river without oars. You’re making progress, but you have no control over the direction you’re going. You have no idea how far you’ll get, you have no idea where you’ll end up down the river, and you have no idea when you’ll get there.
Do you see why it’s essential to have a Vision Statement for your business?
Writing your Vision Statement.
There are no templates or plans to follow when writing a Vision Statement. It can be as short as one sentence or several pages long as long as it outlines what you want for the future of your business.
Things to consider.
Set it in the future but write it in the present: Your Vision Statement shouldn’t reflect what you are doing now, but where you hope to be 3-4 years down the road. However, you should write it in the present tense as if you’ve already achieved it. It will help encourage you.
Make it challenging: Your Vision Statement needs to challenge you; otherwise, what’s the point? Make it attainable, but it shouldn’t be so easy that you lose focus over time.
Make it clear: Focus on one or two goals for your future. That’s all you need. Don’t stuff your Vision Statement full of grand ideas. They’ll only distract and possibly confuse you.
Make it general: Your Vision Statement, although defined, should be general enough to offer direction but not instruction. Meaning, it should say where you want to be, but not how you’re going to get there.
Make it inspiring: There’s no point setting a vision for yourself if it doesn’t encourage you to work hard to achieve it. Infuse some passion in what you write and allow it to inspire you.
Keep it short: Your Vision Statement should be simple, easy to read, without any fluff. Something you can memorize and repeat to your self as you work towards achieving it.
Examples of Vision Statements
Here are some visions statements by companies you may know.
Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Amazon: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Ben & Jerry’s: “Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way.”
Habitat for Humanity: “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
Walgreens: “To be America’s most loved, pharmacy-led, health, well-being and beauty company.”
Southwest Airlines: “To become the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline.”
Do any of these inspire you?
How to use your vision statement.
Once you’ve written your Vision Statement, use it as a guiding light in everything you do with your business.
Your Vision Statement will help you decide what clients and projects to take on and which ones to pass on. Your Vision statement allows you to identify distractions from opportunities. The better your vision, the more productive you’ll be because you know where you’re going.
Use your Vision Statement as part of your strategic plan, share it with your partners, contractors and clients to communicate where you envision your future.
A vision statement can change.
Your vision statement is a destination. Sometimes destinations change.
It’s nice to know where you want to be 3-4 years down the road, but a lot can happen in that time. New opportunities may come your way that will change your vision. Or you may encounter roadblocks that force you to change your plans. And maybe, as you and your business grow, your priorities may change, and you’ll want to review and alter your vision statement to fit your changing needs.
Trust your gut. If it’s telling you your vision of your future needs to change, then do so. It’s your business, after all. A Vision Statement should not be a set of blinders to the world around you. Don’t let it limit your opportunity to grow your business in a different direction than initially intended. But have one nonetheless.
All the best companies have vision statements. Don’t you want to be considered one of them?
Do you have a Vision Statement for your design business?
Share your Vision Statement with me by leaving a comment for this episode.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at email@example.com