4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Vision Now More Than Ever

Welcome to the age of information overload, a world where everyone can share their thoughts, ideas, experiences from anywhere and at any time. For business owners, this can be a huge asset – you no longer have to live only by trial-and-error, guessing your way through what works and what doesn’t.

Those who have “been there and done that” are sharing their experiences more than ever before, and a lot of that advice is free and even relatively easy to follow.

Then you realize that not everyone is saying the same thing. In fact, credible sources sometimes preach the exact opposite of one another!

“You should bootstrap” or “you should raise money.”  

“Avoid debt like the plague,” or “maximize your return with debt.”

“Outsource your engineering work,” or “only hire in-house”

This is where “information overload” becomes “information conflict.”  And trying to follow all of it can send your business into an out-of-control tailspin.

Trying to do everything ends up with the same result as doing nothing — except you’re tired and broke at the end.

Having a clear vision for your business changes all of that.  When there’s ambiguity or conflict, look to your vision.  When there’s a tough decision to make, look to your vision.

Beyond being that “North Star,” a vision helps in other ways.  A vision will:

Keep you focused.

Your business’s vision allows you to cut through the noise and dial in on what you actually need to be doing in order to have success. If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, chances are you aren’t zeroed in on your business’s vision.

What can you be doing right now that will actually help your business grow in the fastest way possible? When you have your vision in mind, you can answer this question much more easily.

Inspire your team.

Think of a time you held a job you were excited to go to every day.  My guess is you felt fulfilled by the work you were doing — and fulfillment is hard to come by if we don’t know what we’re working toward.

When we do have a big goal, a guiding light, a vision — and we see ourselves each day making progress toward that, that’s incredibly inspiring.  And when an entire team feels that fulfillment and inspiration, they’re much more likely to succeed.

Give you a unique stance.

One of the most important things about having a strong vision for your business is that it makes you unique.

The modern marketplace is a crowded one, and “me-toos” don’t get noticed.  Neither does inauthenticity — consumers can smell it from a mile away. But when you have a true vision, it makes you both unique and authentic — keys to attracting team members, customers, and press.

Prevent you from going broke.

Lots of successful business coaches and mentors talk about the dangers of being opportunistic. Always chasing down the “next great opportunity” can make you stray from the tasks at hand. A lot of these opportunities are expensive, too.

When you keep your business’s vision in mind, it allows you to say “no” to great marketing and flashy ideas. Rather than spending your time and money on a new idea, keep your head down and follow the path your vision needs you to in order for it to be fully realized.

Your business’s vision will evolve over time, which is great. If it’s not evolving over the years, something’s wrong. But, remember, that evolution takes time. Have you fully articulated your business’s current vision yet? If the answer is no, work on it now — the dividends will pay for the entire life of your business.

Hitting the Bullseye When Creating Your Brand Identity

Branding, in general, is only effective if it falls on receptive ears. That is, if you communicate a value proposition to your target audience and the message(s) falls flat, then you didn’t do an effective job of branding, to say the least. Effective branding is all about not only understanding who your target audience is but also knowing how to get through to them.

For example, let’s say you offer on-demand legal services. Your target buyer could be small businesses who do not have the budget to hire full-time counsel. So, how can you get through to these people? Well, you have to do a few things first to best understand their hot buttons, such as:

  1. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine walking through a typical day – what challenges do they face? What might irk them the most?
  2. Develop a buyer persona to bring these users to life.
  3. Make an educated guess as to what they read (industry publications, websites, blogs) they might read and visit those sites to see what topics are trending.

Once you have answered these questions, it is time to aggregate your list of challenges/hot buttons and industry topics and develop messages/value propositions to address them with solutions and value.

Crafting Targeted Key Messages

Here is an example (again, using the on-demand legal services firm):

  • Identified hot buttons: no free time, small budget, limited cash flow.
  • Identified challenges: compliance infractions, customer disputes.
  • Key message: XYZ offers small businesses enterprise-caliber legal services without incurring upfront capital expenses or having to retain full-time counsel.
  • Value proposition: Small businesses have immediate access to the legal support needed to comply with relevant regulations, settle otherwise costly disputes and more.

Every key message and associated value proposition should at the very least specify the target buyer and the value they receive, as shown above.

Dedicated, Buyer-Specific Web Pages

Another way to resonate with target buyers is to bifurcate your audience on your homepage by directing visitors to pages dedicated to their specific needs. For the legal firm, buyer pages might include “Small Business Owner”, “Venture Capitalist” and “Small Division of Big Enterprise”. On each of these pages, focus on the following:

  1. Intro – appeal to their needs, challenges and hot buttons to show you understand what they’re going through.
  2. Solution – present your solution (products/services) as the answer to their problems; use differentiation to make your wares stand out from your competitions’.
  3. Value – introduce the specific value your solutions afford this target buyer and try to fit the value into their particular business environment.
  4. ROI – if possible, cite a customer example and the associated ROI they received.

Branding isn’t easy…at all. This is why there are scores of branding professionals at the ready to help you perform the functions outlined in this article. As a small business yourself, it is absolutely imperative that you do more with less. I know this, as a small business owner myself. I’m always having to turn water into wine or a quarter into a dollar. It’s what we do.

Being as targeted as possible with your branding is yet another way of doing the same thing. You don’t have the resources to boil the ocean, so pick a small cove and just heat that up. The more targeted you can get with your target buyers, their needs and the value you afford them, the more you can do with less.

As an aside, you can extend your targeted branding practices to your sales scripts, your collateral materials, your blog posts, your event booths and so on.

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