Have you ever felt like your days are spent putting out fires? As if you and your team are so busy reacting to situations in your plumbing business that you’re not proactively planning for the future? Maybe it’s time to step back and take a long view of the road ahead. Creating a robust vision is a great way to help you do it.
A lot of home service business owners don’t think they need a vision. They’re running a business and serving customers. Isn’t that enough? But every business, no matter how big or how small, needs a vision, some kind of guide to future success. Without one, you’re operating blind, with no goals and no direction.
Let’s put it this way. You wouldn’t send your technicians into the field without an address for the service call, would you? They need to know where to drive and how to get there. A vision works like Google Maps for your business. It’s a written document outlining where you hope your company will be in the future.
Business consultant Cameron Herold, author of “Vivid Vision,” puts it like this: “When workers within an organization are making decisions with the same intuition as their leader, that is a hallmark of success. That is one of the reasons you’re training people to be leaders in the first place. Your job as the CEO is to align and inspire everyone and then get out of the way and let them run.”
A vision starts in your head, just dreams and ideas and goals for where you want your company to be a few years down the road. But with a little extra work, it can transform into a complete vision story, a document that will inspire your team — and yourself — to relentlessly pursue the goals you have set for the company. That story can unite everyone in a common purpose. But you don’t need to devote a weekend retreat to developing one. Here are some tips to help get you there quickly.
Where do you want to go?
You likely have some goals in mind for your business. Most business owners know where they want to be in three years, but have you communicated your goals to your team? A vision is a clear, efficient way to align your team with those goals so everyone is working toward the same end game.
Start with a rough draft of your vision, clearly articulating where you are and where you want to be. Don’t just focus on what you do, but why you do it. What is your greater purpose? Write in the present tense, as though you have already achieved your goals and your company is exactly where you want it to be.
Be careful to focus on the goals, not the process of getting there — the “how” to the what and the why. A great vision isn’t a top-down edict. It encourages teamwork and collaboration by placing trust in each team member’s abilities and expertise.
So, resist the urge to micro-manage with your vision. The goal is to empower your team, not stifle their abilities.
Polish the message
Once you have a rough draft of your vision, it’s time to fine-tune it. Make it memorable, specific and professional. This is where some business owners run into trouble. They know their goals for their company, but writing it with style and polish might not be their strong suit.
It’s why Herold recommends that business owners partner with professional writers to turn their rough drafts of goals and ideas into compelling vision stories. Your vision then becomes a showpiece, something your entire team can be proud of — and something you won’t mind sharing with customers, too.
Public relations agencies, especially those with experience in the home service industry, are great partners for crafting vision stories. The staff of writing professionals at a PR agency is adept at communicating concepts through concise, compelling statements.
You know the importance of marketing to your customers, but have you considered another audience for your brand message — your own team? Establishing brand identity and strong company culture is vital to growing a team that is on board with your vision and lives that vision in every interaction with your customers.
A public relations agency — especially one with plenty of experience in your industry — can take your vision a step further by developing internal documents such as employee handbooks, training materials and codes of conduct that align with it. They will reinforce your brand identity and continually unite your organization behind your vision.
New year, new vision
Don’t let 2020 slip by without putting strong goals and a solid vision in place for your home service business. The start of a new year — and a new decade — is the perfect time to conceptualize and craft a vision. You’ll be able to start fresh, setting clear timelines and benchmarks. Your team will be primed to accept new initiatives for growth.
Your vision can lift your entire organization out of day-to-day reactive mode and put them in a long-range proactive mode, focusing on the bigger picture to bring everyone success.
Ultimately, your vision is yours, as unique to your business as a fingerprint. But it’s OK, and even advisable, to reach out for help when it comes to communicating your vision story clearly and meaningfully.