At the bottom line, any business is run to make money. For a very shrewd businessman, making money through business may not be a huge task either, if only he is ready to compromise on several things including quality, business scruples, and ethics. Remaining an “also ran” amidst a horde of fellow businessman without any particular identity or prestige for oneself may not be difficult at all for such a businessman.
But not all businessmen run their show just for money. They have much higher things to accomplish — a brand name that gets easily recognized, a corporate image that commands respect and a social status not necessarily restricted to the limited business circles.
That’s where having a business vision comes into picture. A clear business vision that can look deeper into the future and dream fairly realistically as to where the business house will stand after certain number of years gives impetus to the birth, sustenance and growth of the business.
Business Vision can be Specific to Generic
Let us take an example of a leather goods manufacturing business. Based on the dream, imagination, goal or ambition of the businessman, the vision statement can take several forms:
To become the number-one recognized brand within the country in the manufacture of premium leather shoes for men in the next 5 years
To become one of the top 5 most respected and recognized brands of leather footwear across the globe in the next 8 years
To become the largest sold footwear manufacturer in the country by offering the most economical range of product varieties appealing to the mass.
- To become the the most sold and widely known brand for leather goods that include footwear and fashion-wear.
Thus a wide ranging scope of defining the business vision is possible. The basic business plans, investments, sales strategies, R&D, marketing efforts etc will change considerably from one type of vision statement to another.
The importance of Focus as Well as Flexibility in Vision
There are certain business lines, particularly In the field of electronics, computer hardware and software, telecommunications etc., which are susceptible to rapid and sweeping technological changes. A hot-selling product in the market today may become totally out-dated in the next 3 to 4 years.
Let us consider an example of a vision statement of a computer accessory manufacturer, which may read: “to become the number one portable Hard disk manufacturer within the next 8 years”.
Such a statement may look highly focused and clear. But it is quite probable that the very technology of portable Hard disks may get wiped out from the field in the course of next 4 to 5 years. Under such circumstances, the business plans must ideally be less specific and more generic.
A modified vision statement in such an example could be: “to become number one computer memory/ storage device manufacturer in the next 6 years”. Now, this modified vision statement supersedes a specific technology currently in vogue, but superimposes all future changes in technology towards a more generic business strategy. It also redirects the company’s finances to invest heavily in R&D to encompass technologies other than their current and already familiar technology of hard disk drives.
Having once made the vision statement, a business firm has its trajectory clear and well defined. Right from investment, organizing, manning, marketing and up to merchandising, every business activity must be fine-tuned to make the vision a reality.
More than anything else, it is extremely important to keep fine-tuning and redefining the vision periodically based on technological changes, changes in government policies, macro economic conditions and also global trends and developments. A vision culminating in reality is possible only with such a dedicated effort.