Why do most small businesses fail? Or more accurately, why are most small businesses stuck in “survival mode?”
Statistically speaking most businesses are stuck under £75,000 or US$100,000 a year. Why is that? Why do so many businesses despite having great products, great business leaders, and great reviews from their customers, struggle to break past a survival level income?
In this blog post, we’re going to talk about why your business vision is so important even if you are currently one person in your company and why business vision is so critical to the growth of your business to get past survival mode.
You can’t stay with the same thinking you have now
When I was younger the term business vision to me was something that corporate businesses talked about in order to please shareholders and have something nice to write on the wall.
I was so concerned with just making enough money to survive, I always thought that a business vision was something you had when your business was making money.
When in fact having a clear and defined business vision is what will pull you out of survival mode and give you the direction to take even if you don’t want to run a massive business.
I never had dreams of running a huge multinational multibillion corporation. Maybe it easy for me to say that because I haven’t got that,. It’s a bit like saying I never wanted to win a gold-medal at the Olympics when realistically that would never happen.
But in actual fact even what I have now is still leaps and bounds further ahead than where I thought I would ever be.
I was so wrapped up in survival mode that I never had the time to define a larger business vision. Who would I even share it with? My customers surely wouldn’t care about it with day?
It’s not about having a global vision like becoming the world’s most customer-centric business like Amazon or accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy which is Tesla’s.
A business vision always seemed a bit grand and corporate to me. Something that wouldn’t interest my company because I never believed in the corporate visions of the businesses I had worked for.
Besides, I didn’t have any team members so who would I share it with?
Since then I’ve come around from that, and I now realized that a business vision is not only CRITICAL to your survival as a business, it’s what your business needs to grow OUT of survival
That doesn’t mean thinking massive multibillion corporate (unless you want to – that’d be awesome if you did). It means think BIG and BROAD about your business.
A business vision is more than a tight corporate statement like “we want to change the way the world deals with renewable energy” or something. You might not have the inclination or desire to impact the world at a scale like that. And that’s absolutely fine.
I’m not talking about a vision statement from a multibillion-dollar company, I’m talking about the written vision document that talks about where you want to see the company be in the future.
I did an exercise with the guys from Run Like Clockwork where I listed out the future that I wanted to experience with my company. I didn’t think about global impacts or changing the way the entire industry worked. I just thought about what I wanted my business to look like and feel like in 3 to 5 years’ time.
In fact, our company vision as of 2022 is “that people from any background and with any history can provide for their family and loved ones, with money earned selling things they believe in. In an ideal world, the market would be full of business owners living a great life, earning more than they thought possible, doing things that feel purposeful and meaningful.”
What this means is in the future if I was given unlimited potential and unlimited money and resources, this is what I would work towards. If I had to give up Sell Your Service today I would still create content that essentially enables this vision above.
I think a lot of people get confused between mission and vision. I’ve had it explained as mission as what you do today envision is what you do tomorrow.
For example, our mission is “To help business owners make as much money as they want, selling what they want while making a meaningful contribution”.
But the vision is almost like saying if we executed the mission every single day what would be the purpose for doing that. The vision is more for me and for my team. The mission is for our customers.
But don’t overcomplicate it. Think about how you want your working day to be structured in the future. How many team members do you work with? How many days do you want to be working? What type of customers do work with? What do those customers say about you?
The more detailed, the more descriptive, and the bigger your thinking than today, the better your company vision will be. This is what you need to share with yourself, your team if and when you hire them, and your customers.
Start with your values
If you’re struggling to create a vision statement or a vision document, try starting with your values.
Again, I used to think values were something corporate businesses used to explain why they couldn’t give you a pay raise. To me, they sounded very broad and generic like “honesty, integrity, and transparency”.
Instead, I want to give you a different exercise. I want you to imagine a younger version of yourself, or someone else looking to start a business. What three pieces of advice would you give them in order for them to have a happy, successful, and fulfilled life?
Those three pieces of advice are as close to listing out your values as you can get. That should give you a pretty good indication as to what your potential vision could be. Your values determine what is important to you, and the thinking goes “what if that’s important to me, wouldn’t I want more of it?”
When I first did this exercise one of the values that came up was how important family and loved ones truly are. No matter what happens, no matter what you go through, your family will be there for you.
I would distantly remember walking with the dog, and I was actually with my coach Sophia at that time and occurred to me that the only thing that I really wanted to help people do, was to allow them to take care of their family however they saw fit.
Then I thought about my own team. What if I could help them provide for their family more than they ever thought possible, doing work that felt meaningful and contributed. Wouldn’t that be an awesome business?
Then I thought about myself. What if I created a business that was so successful that I could take care of my family and my loved ones without them having to worry about financial security.
All of this culminated towards the vision statement of “helping business owners take care of their family, selling what they want”.
This is where a vision statement really helps. Because what you appreciate, appreciate. Meaning whatever you pay attention to a focus on for example your values, will naturally grow as your business grows.
Most human beings aren’t great with numbers so when you put into your vision that you want to run a $5,000,000 a year business, it’s unusual for you to have an emotional connection to that.
You won’t necessarily build a plan to get there because you think “what difference is it make if I get there I’ve managed to survive this long et cetera.
Whereas if you begin to think about your vision as what’s really at stake and who else could benefit from you doing your best work, you’ll feel more connected to it. And, that will shape what grows.
I’m not a huge believer in the law of attraction, but I do believe there is some truth to writing out what you want and making a plan to get there. It’s not enough to stick in survival mode, you deserve more.
This is the part of the video where I would like to give you permission to have a vision as large and audacious as you would like.
If you want earn $120,000 a month through your business,even though you’ve got no education you be the only person in your family to earn that kind of money and your friends hate rich people, that is absolutely fine you are literally watching YouTube video of someone in the exact same situation.
So what do you do?
First, I want you to put aside 20 minutes and just right all the things you would want to see in the future of your life and business in three years’ time if everything was successful.
This is my vision document. It’s about four or five pages talking through where I work, how my office looks, how much money we make, and how the website is managed as well as a bunch of other features. Like what customers say about us and what kind of results we get for our customers, what I love about our working day, and how big our audience is.
I’ve gone into loads and loads and loads and loads of detail about the type of business that I would love to run in the future. It is essentially the world’s perfect sales letter for you and your own business.
I then need you to list out all the things that you need to be as a person in order to reach that.
What time do you need to start getting up in the morning? How often do you need to set aside time to grow the business? Do you need to start saying no to more opportunities and obligations?
Do you need to start saying yes to more sales opportunities? Do need to raise your prices, will you need to hire? Will you need to become a better manager?
The vision is achieved by the person. You are going to have to change as a person to reach that vision.
Don’t think of this document as a WishList, think of it as a sales letter for the final destination.
Approximately speaking, 0.1% of you will even do this exercise and even fewer reviews will stick to it but I’m telling you writing this out, sticking to it, and having it shared with your team your customers your family your colleagues your friends even me (you should absolutely email me your vision document to Michael sellyourservice.co.uk) will slowly but surely get you there.
It won’t get you there immediately but it will happen eventually. The way to get out of survival mode is to have a vision document bigger and where you currently are. Most business owners just don’t take the time to write out and work backward from there.