- Innovation: Better businesses tend to be more willing to innovate and try new things.
- The team: When VCs invest in a startup, one of the most critical things they look at is the quality of the management team. Good ideas with a great team have a greater likelihood of getting funding than a great idea with a good team.
But probably the most important thing when it comes to going from good to great, or small to big, is this: Vision. The best businesses, big and small alike actually, are businesses that have a “Big Vision”.
In the video below, I sat down with some great small business owners who had some very specific ideas of what they wanted their business to accomplish this year. While I spoke with them around the first of the year and so their plans necessarily took the form of a New Year’s resolution, what was equally clear is that they had ongoing resolutions for their business. Their vision necessitated it. And the same should be true for you.
Consider this: When he died, Joe Wilson, founder of Xerox (a company that was started with two people), was found with a small blue index card that he apparently had kept in his wallet. It said, in part, “To attain serenity through the leadership of a business which brings happiness to its workers, serves its customers and brings prosperity to its owners.”
That is one impressive corporate vision.
Or this: In 1945, Masaru Ibuka started a new company with $1,600 in the bombed-out basement of a department store in Tokyo – as bad a place and time to start a business as possible. Yet Ibuka quickly created a vision for his nascent company. Sony would be a place:
- “Where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation.”
- That would “pursue dynamic activities . . . for the reconstruction of Japan.”
- That would “welcome technical difficulties.”
So having a vision about what you want your business to be is a necessary first step in creating the sort of business you really want. That said, and as we all know, business success takes a lot more than just having a grand vision.
The real key is that you need to have specific, realistic goals and steps to carry out that vision. After all, waxing rhapsodic about your dreams and grand plans is all well and good, but if that doesn’t relate to the actual day-to-day, nitty-gritty of running your business, then it really is all for naught.
And to do that, you need to make some real-world resolutions. Resolutions are the compass that guide your business towards your vision.
If you are looking to create an exceptional business – one that makes a good profit and makes a big difference (however defined), then you need to have your own vision, and resolutions will allow you to head in the direction of that vision.
The good news is that it is never too late to come up with your own resolutions. Take a look at the video and see what sorts of goals these small business owners have for their business. Hopefully it will give you some ideas and prompt you to make your resolutions for your business.
Do that, and you are well on your way to having the business you long envisioned.
About Steve Strauss
Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.