A vision statement reflects why your company exists, what value it seeks to bring and its core values. They offer tremendous insight into the company’s goals and what it wants to be and as a direct effect, help individual employees contribute in meaningful and effective ways. Companies that lack vision are like a ship without a rudder. Unfortunately, many small and mid-size software businesses tend to ignore this first step to success. Consequently, they are constantly moving back and forth between various tasks without really knowing if or how, their tasks are taking the company forward at all. In short, they are meandering aimlessly, causing a huge loss of employee time and company resources.
Vision statements are the cornerstones of a company. An articulate vision statement sets the stage for everything that the company does or is planning to do. Smart ISVs don’t work on a vague hit or miss basis; instead, they passionately strategize their actions based on their vision. Setting down a clear vision helps them visualize the ultimate goal of the company, which in turn, provides direction for crafting a business strategy that will help lead the decision making process in developing an effective plan of action for the company.
Successful software companies don’t just have a very straightforward goal but they also articulate it in simple language so that every member of the company is able to understand it, imbibe it and work solely towards it. The reason this is important is because a lot of startups and small companies get bogged down with adjectives and adopt sweeping statements such as “I want to be the best”, “I want to lead the industry” as their vision statements. Well, the question, really is, what do you think makes you the best in your industry? Do you want to be known for having the best product or the best employee engagement system or the highest profits? What defines ‘best’ for you has to be made clear because that affects all your day-to-day operations and how you are perceived by your employees as well as others. A vision governs your goals, actions and even your measurement criteria. Projects and tasks taken up are measured and analyzed by keenly studying their contribution to the company’s progress towards the vision. Successful companies make it a habit to ensure that every activity and project is planned in such a way as to bring them closer towards their ultimate goal. They understand the importance of developing comprehensive plans and execute the ‘Six P’ method which is “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Perfomance” in order to achieve desired business outcomes.
Here’s a look at the Apple vision statement:
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”- Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc (quoted from an Interview with Tim Cook).
This vision statement from Apple immediately reflects Apple’s core values, which are innovation and excellence. A quick glimpse at Apple’s products and their tremendous success are ample proof of how this vision guides the company, despite the change in principal management.
The question that will determine your company’s future is this: Assuming everything else is in place, how would you like your company to be perceived by others now and in the coming years? When you have answered this question and crafted a vision statement for your ISV based on that answer, you should ensure that it is being lived and practiced by every single employee you have and those you plan to hire in the future. Your vision statement should motivate and inspire your organization. As an ISV owner, you should ensure that your vision statement is communicated with every team and department. Your vision statement should be reflected in the actions and day-to-day activities of your employees, company-wide strategies and your company branding.