Entrepreneurs need vision–vision like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The New Yorker put out an article on Amazon that included this story from Amazon’s first exposure to the public:
In 1995, in Chicago, Bezos manned an Amazon booth at the annual conclave of the publishing industry, which is now called BookExpo America. Roger Doeren, from a Kansas City store called Rainy Day Books, was stopped short by Amazon’s sign: “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” Approaching Bezos, he asked, “Where is Earth’s biggest bookstore?”
“Cyberspace,” Bezos replied.
“We started a Web site last year. Who are your suppliers?”
“Ingram, and Baker & Taylor.”
“Ours, too. What’s your database?”
“ ‘Books in Print.’ ”
“Ours, too. So what makes you Earth’s biggest?”
“We have the most affiliate links”—a form of online advertising.
Doeren considered this, then asked, “What’s your business model?”
Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers.
This “business model” that isn’t anything near what a legitimate business should have as a plan. What Bezos had was a vision statement: a statement that focuses the inherent potential of the company’s future. Bezos was taking a brick and mortar store, solving the problem of limited space and huge amount of in and out of print books, and using the opportunity of the internet boom. He hit all qualities of a qualified business, but it was vision that turned it into a global brand.
The current vision of Amazon.com is “to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” This is how Amazon didn’t settle for a limited life as a dusty book store. They now are the only place to go for wedding registries, streaming video, wine, self-publishing, and e-book and music downloads. Amazon’s vision is limitless!
For you, I recommend a focused and ambitious goal for your company. My newest venture is a home and commercial cleaning business. I hired a young woman to handle scheduling and run the basics of the business. My hope for her is that she will share in our success and become the operator of the business. So I put a picture above her phone of a fleet of our competitor’s vehicles.
They have five cars; we have one…for now. I told her that in two years, I want to have five cars lined up outside of my office and her managing ten employees. It gives her a vision for the future. Vision gets her through the day. Vision motivates her to get new business. Vision is what we share.
Does your business have a vision statement? It should be different than your mission statement that includes your core values and competitive edge. The vision statement is a short sentence that you use inside the company to motivate yourself and your staff. It should be a big dream for the future that brings out the best in the team. Take time today to craft your vision statement. If you already have one, ask yourself, “Am I living up to this vision for this company?” Find one task, service, or marketing project you can enact tomorrow morning towards achieving this vision. Dream big!