The importance of the vision statement in your startup
You don’t need to be long in the startup ecosystem to hear all the different reasons a vision is essential to a start. Quotes like “Stop Selling, and Start Creating Visions” or “Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare” are all hovering around, not to mention the zillions of motivational videos embrace the startup vision concept in every online startup community on YouTube or Facebook.
“ An entrepreneur is someone who has a startup vision for something and a want to create.” — David Karp
Unquestionably, vision lies at the heart of a startup. Most of the times it’s clear to see why, it coordinates action in a startup and helps communication among the startup team. Some other times though, especially when the higher cause of the company is not yet defined, it is hard to see the essence or the ways it helps the development of a startup.
I will try to break down HOW that little word has such an importance for your baby company.
1. Stay motivation and focused along the way
You need reasons to wake up in the morning, go to your office, to your hackerspace or to your backyard and wipe everything off your todo list. The right motivation can do wonders for your business, no questions asked. It is a common mistake to mix up different sources of motivation with the umbrella term — belief. Believing in what you do as well as yourself is undoubtedly necessary, yet most of the times not enough.
“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations not for what they are but for what they can become.” — David Gergen
Take a moment and consider two other source of motivation and how they affected your daily productivity. First one is “having an impact” or having the feeling of doing so, that is the feelings of fulfilment and worthiness one experiences when doing something that has an impact on society. Second one is “making a connection”, could be with your employees or with your customers(ie. people that pay you) or even with any random person that stumble upon your startup. This comes helping other people or contributing towards making their lives better. It is the feeling of connection you get from other people awareness and appreciation for what you did.
Takeaway: Make sure your startup vision inspires people to have an impact and a sense of contribution!
2. Set the cornerstone for a strong community
Some people go to work to engage with what they love, some do so to socialize and not stay at home, others to make money for themselves or their family. Whatever the reason your employee gets off bed and goes to work, an emotional fulfilling environment could take job satisfaction to another level. It can make people stick to their job for longer, be involved and thus be more productively and create exceptional synergies working with each other.
“Make something people want — includes making a company that people want to work for.” — Sahil Lavingia
A uniting mission and an inspiring vision can effectively bringing your workplace community closer. Besides, consider Google’s workspace reputation a decade ago, before they were among the biggest companies in the world, everyone software developer wanted to join in. Then it was pretty easy for them to hire the most talented ones. Employee’s benefits? Sure. Strong Culture? Absolutely.
Takeaway: Utilize your vision to unite your workspace community.
3. Build a prod-active culture
Teams needs supervision. More specifically, teams need supervision on everyday basis. But this isn’t necessarily bad. One employee could woke up on the wrong side of the bed, another may having problems with their wife and a third person might skipped his morning coffee and feels sluggish. None of this is your fault, nevertheless it’s our job to coordinate these people and convey the appropriate motivation. People that are bad fit and those that are not passionate for the startups mission or their daily job are another different story and should be in the company in the first place. Still, even the most advanced project management methodologies and the most smartest team management tactics lack behind an inspired employee that relates your startup vision.
“Micromanage the process, not the people.” — Joe Apfelbaum
Maybe consider yourself some vision statements for example Harvard’s “To develop leaders who will one day make a global difference.”, Tesla’s “Accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”, BBC’s “To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.” or Harley Davidson’s “To fulfil dreams through the experiences of motorcycling.”. Do you relate with their causes? Would you joined them if circumstances arise? Or more importantly, are you inspired to work towards reaching their vision? Now take a breath and consider the same questions for your employees and take action so that no answer is a “maybe”.
Takeaway: Find people that relate with your vision and let them do the magic!
4. Avoid the “you” trap
If you don’t know what this is, I will save you some time googling it and tell you right away. It is when a startup founder focuses on what they want rather than what their customer wants. Elon’s first wife nicely put it on Quora “Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs.”. Considering the strength required for one to be an entrepreneur this sounds damn right. But this is not all it takes to be successful. But the big difference here is not just focus and dedication, it is creativity.
“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.” — Eric Ries
There are a numerous studies showing that rewards do not always linked with greater productivity. The heart of the matter was that the “rewards” pressure experienced focusing on a goal along with the brain mechanics that are linked with dedication were not working well alongside creativity. Thus, researchers came up with concept of “intrinsic motivation” ie. motivation that comes from our inner beliefs and has a much stronger correlation with creativity and originality. That is exactly what a founder needs, new ideas from execution to marking and creative problem-solving or in other words strong intrinsic motivation and a heartening startup vision.
Takeaway: Understand your customer and make it your life goal to make them smile!
5. Step up your marketing
Most of people’s decisions are made subconsciously. Even if you think of yourself as an exception research shows that most decisions are made so. That is not to say that they are made irrationally, just your brain silently whispering that something will make you feel good. People buy chocolates from a grocery store counter, enter an Apple Store just to get a grip on the new iPhone or buy $5 worth of gems to upgrade their Tower Hall to level 11 on Clash of Clans. The sensation of happiness doesn’t come all at once thought. It comes in tiny bits of satisfaction that drive every action they do towards the purchase. A successful marketing campaign have to reciprocate these feelings in every step.
“Stop Selling, and Start Creating Visions.” — Cedric Maloux
Consider your have a clothes brand and you are selling hand-made garments and accessories. Image someone sees a wooden sunglasses ad of your on Instagram or sees your skinny jeans in the street or sees the email confirmation when they purchase from you. The exposure to your brand will most likely create some feelings and thoughts. These, on a smaller degree, will be the same they experience when they wear your clothes. They may feel more sporty, more artsy or more trendy or that they look better. As a result, they may feel more confident in themselves or more accepted by their peers or attractive to the other sex. These emotions are gold for your marketing and identifying them of vital importance.
“marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell” — Seth Godin
But discovering these emotions is hard. How can you know what someone feels? And how do you how if people are experiencing the same things using your products? Start with your startup vision. That should be something along the lines of making a difference for some people. Then consider why would this be the case. Why your product or service makes them happier? What specific feelings are the experiencing using it and what needs they have satisfied? These feelings should be what you want to communicate to your audience in your marketing campaign and in every single aspect of your product or service.
Takeaway: Use your startup vision to coordinate the marketing campaign.