A clear and aspirational vision for your business is essential to providing direction and purpose. Involving your team in the visioning process and ensuring alignment with personal goals is crucial for buy-in and commitment. A vision should be grounded in your business's current strengths and weaknesses while looking towards future opportunities and threats. Regularly revisiting and refining your vision ensures it remains relevant and guides decision-making effectively. Avoid rushing the development of your vision statement and ensure it is specific, compelling, and shared among all stakeholders.

It might seem obvious, but if YOU don't set the direction for your business it could end up anywhere - or nowhere. But how do you develop a vision? There is no one way, and unlike many tasks, AI may not have the creative spark needed. It first involves asking a lot of questions about your business, your products and services and your target market.

Business and personal goals should be aligned. Where can I get ideas to help me achieve my business and personal goals?

A broad vision will generally be more robust than one built around a particular technology. Why might I benefit from looking at areas not directly related to my business?

A lengthy vision might be confusing (especially to others). Generally, two or three sentences are likely to be more effective than two or three pages. Do I need nice-looking documents that bear little relation to the business?

Consistency is important. Are these areas consistent with each other and our brand / image?

Once you have a vision, what do you do with it? Everything. You make sure it is central to your approach to business, and is valued and respected by your team and customers.

Example Questions

Is there a clear vision of where the business is going, i.e. do you have a picture of how you would like the business to look?

Is the vision documented and accessible to all stakeholders?

Does management use the vision to guide decision-making?

How well do team members understand, agree, and actively support this vision?

Is there consistency between the vision of the business, its market positioning, the brand/image, and its culture?

How viable is the vision in light of current market conditions?

If the vision is achieved, will the business owners/managers satisfy their personal goals?

Overview of developing a vision

Is there a clear vision of where the business is going, i.e. do you have a picture of how you would like the business to look?

A business' vision should be its lighthouse - a well-defined view of what it wants to be and is striving to achieve. Critical to this vision is that it reflects the goals of the business owner(s).

The concept of developing and documenting a clear vision involves thinking about where the business ought to be in three years. Then work with your team to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats impacting the business. From the information gained during these workshops, a clear view of the business' capabilities will drop out into a realistic and actionable vision.

TIME TO COMPLETE: 2-10 days depending on the size and nature of the business. Most of the effort is thinking. It is most important to think broadly and aspirationally and include all team members.


Step 1 - Determine where you see the business in three years

Three years is considered to be a realistic time frame for visioning in the fast-changing environment in which most businesses now operate. Each business owner should write down where they would like to be in three years from the point of view of:

  • What the business would look like - what is its product, who are its customers, how does it make money, how does it look and feel
  • Earnings
  • Time away from the business

During this exercise, ascertain how long each of you foresees being in the business and assess how well your personal goals fit together.

Step 2 - Confirm what you have learnt about the external environment

Meet with your team members to confirm your understanding of the external environment the business is operating in, i.e. the opportunities and threats in the marketplace. Gain insight and delve deeper into topics by conducting interviews and / or team advisory board-type sessions. Consider speaking with customers via customer advisory boards and conducting competitive research through secret shopper-type activities if appropriate. Draw on any external, independent contacts you have who could offer a useful objective perspective on your business and your competitors.

Step 3 - Confirm what you have learned about the company's internal strengths and weaknesses

Meet with team members and functional managers (where relevant) to understand the internal strengths and weaknesses of the business. Gain insight and delve deeper into topics by conducting interviews and/or team advisory board-type sessions. Review financial results to determine how well you measure up against the strategic assessment obtained through the business diagnostic process. This step can be combined with the preceding one for smaller businesses.

Step 4 - Craft a new vision for the business

Based on your SWOT analysis results, draft a vision statement for the business. A vision statement should be aspirational - it is about what you would most like the business to be down the track and need not reflect today's reality.

It is not usually a single tagline though if that can be achieved it is impressive. Consider including elements from the following three components:

  • Purpose - “Our widgets power the nation's security systems” or “We deliver outstanding, innovative catering to the entertainment industry”
  • Values - e.g. integrity, social responsibility, fairness, plain speaking, respect etc.
  • Goals - “Within the next decade our ducted pipes will run into every new building in the CBD” or “We shall never lose a customer because our service wasn't deemed good enough” or “Our services will make our customers' products at least 5% more efficient every year for the next five years.”

Kick it around. Draft and re-draft, as this is not a trivial matter. The finished statement must guide and drive you (the owners) and your team over the long haul. Whilst aspirational, you and your people must be able to believe in it so it must be grounded in at least some of the reality you each see day-to-day.

When concluded publish the vision on your business' website, on internal intranets and notice boards and other internal communications.


A documented vision statement for the business that reflects the needs and desires of you, as business owners, and is appropriate given the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats determined from your diagnostic analysis and subsequent follow-up meetings.


Plan to revisit the vision regularly - at least yearly. The vision for the business may change based on the personal situations of each owner or events in the external environment. However, it should be refined, not continually rewritten, or it has no meaning.

Ensure it is grounded in the way the business works today. Whilst aspirational, it cannot be meaningless from today's reality.


Craft a vision among senior management without involving other team members. A vision is only effective if it is shared.

Rush something out for the sake of it - it should be compelling and that means well considered.

Accept a vision that's not specific to you.