Transforming Your Business Vision

One of the most difficult tasks as a business owner is establishing and maintaining a company vision. Having this vision is essential because you can use it as a compass for each decision made along the way. When we were just starting out at firstPRO, our mission was to be all things to all people, but we quickly learned that this is an impossible task and a formula that will never result in a profitable business.

Step one is to make a list of how you would like your clients, employees and even your competition to describe you. Then add the issues that are important to you as the leader. Determine where you want the company to be five years down the road, and backtrack what needs to be in place to get there. Use all of this information to not only form a concise mission statement, but also to create several paragraphs or more describing your goals and identity in more detail. The lengthier version will be used by upper management as a compass to keep you on track.

I have found that it is necessary in my own business to evaluate our game plan, mission and overall image about once every five years to ensure we are keeping up with the changes in technology, business and philosophies. When I began in the employment business over 25 years ago, we used terms like “headhunters” and “temporary workers.” Over the years, terminology has changed and we have adopted words like “staffing,” “workforce management” and “talent acquisition” to describe what we do, requiring continual revamping of our marketing materials.

As firstPRO has grown, we have had the luxury of redefining the skill levels and type of business we are after, allowing us to upgrade the disciplines we service and the coinciding profit margins.

You may find that it is necessary to change a few things to keep looking fresh in the current market, but rarely will you change the basic bones of your business ideals. If you begin committed to customer satisfaction, strong integrity and creating opportunities for young employees, it is likely that those things will remain important. Changing the true culture of the company can be difficult, and more often than not, will result in high turnover of your client base and staff.

The best time to evaluate your company is when you experience a lack of growth or downturn in business. Go back to the basics, determine where you have gone off track and brainstorm what needs to be changed and how.

Most importantly, you need to pay attention to overall business trends and the market fluctuation in your specific industry. Subscribe to respected trade publications and attend industry associations. Pay attention to your competition and what the leaders in your industry are doing. Communicate with your staff and client base, and ask questions about problems they are up against or things they were like to see. Timely information is invaluable and should always be included as part of your evaluation process.

I am not sure exactly what our company will look like in ten years. Technological advances have certainly changed the way in which we have operated our business in the past, but the emphasis that we have put on professionalism, creating win/win situations and our entrepreneurial environment has remained the same and will continue. Most importantly, we are open and receptive to the idea that change needs to happen.

By April Fawcett Nagel

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