52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday throughout 2011.
When I came up with the idea of 52 Fridays after my November 2010 horse expo presentation, I wanted to do the series as a way to continue my mission of helping equine businesses be more successful through improved marketing efforts. Many things have changed since I first started writing about horse industry marketing in early 2005 (yikes, how does SEVEN years go by so quickly?!), but one thing is still the same – my vision. As we reach the end of the year, here are a few thoughts about using your vision to pull you forward, even when you face challenges and have days when you feel like giving up.
I’ve been thinking for a while about how to wrap up this series of blog posts. What would be of the most value and benefit to readers? What’s missing from the information I’ve already shared? And what has kept coming back is this idea of ‘vision,’ and the process of bringing it forth into the world despite sometimes overwhelming odds.
Have you heard the old joke about making a small fortune in the horse industry by starting with a large one? Most horsefolk don’t get into the business to strike it rich. So why not go into something like pharmaceuticals or banking or insurance to make one’s bread and butter, and keep horsey activities for free time? I believe the reason many don’t take that approach starts with their love for the horse, and having a vision for a life that revolves around them.
It’s that vision that can inspire us during challenging times. But sometimes in the day-to-day of life we forget about our vision, so it’s helpful to develop a vision statement to remind us of where we want to go.
A vision statement is different from a mission statement, which is about why a company exists. A vision statement is the description of where you’re headed, encapsulating what you aspire the business to be. While a mission statement is typically a public document and often shared on a website, a vision statement is usually something that’s just for you and the people within your business.
Here’s one definition of vision statement from BusinessDictionary.com:
An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
I like this 3-step process for writing your own vision statement from the Small Business Canada About.com site. However the article does list a fourth step; that you must commit to your vision statement. I’d add that the vision must be the life breathed into every action you take for your business. By doing that, you eliminate at least some of the potential for missteps along the path because the vision statement becomes the guiding light for making decisions.
Sometimes it can be hard to articulate a vision and develop a vision statement, so here’s an A-to-Z list of vision statements for many large corporations we’re all familiar with, making it easier to see the link between vision statement and doing business. In particular, I like the vision statements for Bimbo (a baking company), Nike, Volkswagon, and Zappos. Clear, understandable, and to the point.
The world is facing a lot of change right now, including economic and leadership troubles. The horse world is facing a lot too, including rising costs for everything from fuel to feed, loss of land for equestrian activities, and shifts in target markets and audiences; all of this must be taken into account, certainly. But the vision statement will guide how YOUR horsebiz moves forward, and will be different from how any other horsebiz moves forward in the same landscape.
Clarifying a vision and crafting your vision statement can help you make better business and marketing decisions moving forward; as we wrap up one year and head into a new one, it’s a great time to create or fine-tune your own horsebiz vision statement.
What’s YOUR vision for your horse business? Use the Comments link below to share your thoughts, and if you liked this article, you can easily tell others about it via Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, and even by email with the Share button belo. Pssst, pass it along, and see you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #49!
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