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Clarity of Purpose and Vision

One of the biggest challenges for startups and established businesses is having real clarity in their business’s purpose.  Being entrenched in the concept, product or service leaves us vulnerable to not giving ourselves the best possible chance of success. When we get too close to the subject, we cannot always tell weakness from strength, good from bad… the wood from the trees. Allied with clarity of purpose is vision. Many entrepreneurs feel this is a fluffy concept.  However, not knowing the long-term outcomes, positioning or audacious aims for your business  – the vision – can be catastrophic and make your journey to success long and arduous.

How can you detach yourself enough to really examine  purpose and vision?   It takes a bit of intelligence – e.g. research and planning. Here are some hints and tips on how to best translate clarity of purpose into paying clients;  and why vision isn’t fluffy, but an authentic part of keeping your business on-target. Here’s a target to click to.
What’s Your Value Proposition?
The value proposition is typically the trickiest piece of information to glean in the context of business planning.  Many an unsuccessful entrepreneur has tried to be all-things to all-people.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t provide the right results. Headless chicken, Jack of all trades – master of none.  How many idioms are there to describe this trait? It’s why the value proposition is so important.  It’s is the reason people buy from you, and not your competitor.  It’s your business focus; what you’re master of; it’s formed on the basis of your unique selling point, the outcomes you deliver, and evidence of your delivery. 
Focus on your NOSE
Here’s another idiom: cutting off your nose to spite your face. Well if you cut:  Need, Outcomes, Solutions and Evidence, what’s left of your business proposition? If you are well-adjusted to your business, its model, customers and strategy – your proposition should be should be quite straight-forward.  Remember, refining and honing your value proposition is good business… don’t be afraid to attempt a NOSE job!
Mission versus Vision
What’s the difference?  Aligned with a clear grasp of your Value Proposition – a comprehensive understanding of your Mission and your Vision is key.  Your business’s mission is its ‘raison d’être’ – its purpose, objectives and defining key deliverables.  Vision, on the other hand, defines clearly the values of the business – it is cultural in its essence and defines what the business wants to be and where it sees itself.  Without these founding tenets in business, long-term success can evade you in favour of those with more succinct visionary road-maps. 
Speaking of id..idi..idio..idioms
Here’s Beavis and Buttheads take on business planning, value propositions, mission and vision and all that great stuff…

Which one’s Butthead?
If you want to write an eZine for send it to Fionan@smallbusinesscan. Keep it short. Keep it simple. It has to link back to It goes to over 11,000 SMEs. So it has to be helpful to an SME, not just a sales pitch. Oh…and it has to be clean. Only the SBC team is allowed to be rude and bad spellers!

Post by Olwen Dawe, Irish Business intelligence