What spark initiated the creation of your business?
It might have started with the realization that the hobby you enjoy can actually make you money. The necklaces you make as gifts? The hipster mom at the Farmers Market will throw her money at your for one. The fantastic design skills you’ve honed over the years? That local business needs new branding. That blog you’ve started just for fun? Thousands of people now hang on your every word.
But things change when you decide to turn a hobby or idea into a business. While your dreams and ideas fuel the concept of your business, without building a solid foundation, your business can go a million different directions. None of which might be up towards the success you want. To build that strong foundation you want to start with a business plan.
I can hear you groan.
Business plans don’t have to be ten pages long and super technical. But before we get to building your business plan, we’re going to start with crafting three different statements. These three statements will give you the focus and inspiration you need to develop your business plan and grow the successful business I know you’re capable of.
What are these three statements?
Passion + Vision + Mission
These three statements will force you to really focus not only on what your business actually is, but where you want it to go. Without them, you can find yourself trying to accomplish 20 different things, with only maybe 5 of those things actually pushing your business forward. They help guide your business decisions and determine if your choices are going to help you reach your goals.
So what are these statements and where do I start?
It is the passion you held when starting your business that will power it for success and influence your decisions. But it can only help you if you formulate that motivation into a statement that clearly defines how your passion defines your business. A passion statement uses up to a paragraph to distinguish who you help, what you help them with, and why you want to help them. This isn’t included in a traditional business plan, but it deserves attention. A passion statement will help you focus on your mission and vision, it will also help keep the fire burning when when you’re overwhelmed with the responsibility of running a business.
Answer the following questions to formulate your passion statement:
Why do you want to run this business?
What am I providing people?
Why is this important to me?
Why would it be important to my clients/customers?
Example from Winn Creative Co.:
I’ve established Winn Creative Co. as my outlet to use my social media and marketing skills to help small business owners and creative entrepreneurs succeed. I firmly believe in shopping local and small business, and after years in the marketing world, I feel it’s time to use my skills to help small businesses grow by enhancing their web presence through marketing and social media.
A mission statement uses 1-2 sentences to state how you will uniquely accomplish your business purpose. It is important because it keeps your main goal in mind. When you are making your decisions on new products or planning new marketing efforts, you always want to ask if it is in line with and supportive of your mission. Keep your passion in mind and how you help people when forming this statement.
Answer the following questions to formulate your mission statement:
What is my true goal for my business? What is the key thing I do for customers/clients?
How is what I do different from others?
How does my passion for my product/service differentiate me?
Example from The Circumsolar Herbals:
The Circumsolar Herbals mission is to empower people with the ability to cultivate their own Holistic Wellness by developing positive, intimate relationships with our human, plant & animal neighbors in our dynamic web of life. We believe these relationships originate in Herbalism, Local Cultivation, and Ecocentric Living. We strive to be good to the Earth in all areas of life and to develop a legacy of harmony for generations to come.
A vision statement uses up to a paragraph to clarify why your business exists, who you serve, and where you want your business to go in the future. It is important because it gives you a line to follow for growth. When you’re working in the day to day trying to get keep your business going, your vision statement reminds you of the bigger picture and helps you make the right decisions to reach your plans for the future. In business there are always money making trends. Just think about it, webinars are everywhere now, aren’t they? And before that there were ebooks, ecourses, affiliate income. There are always going to be new trends. Your vision statement (along with your mission and passion) will help you really assess whether a new trend is worth your focus.
Answer these questions to formulate your Vision Statement:
Who do I serve?
Why does this business exist?
Where does this go in the future?
Example from Something Winnderful:
Something Winnderful exists to share my lessons learned in working towards living a more eco friendly, minimalist life in the happiest and simplest way. My vision for Something Winnderful is for it to become a resource for individuals (particularly women with children) to dive into a more sustainable life by providing education through ebooks, challenges, and community groups and courses as well as an archive of content. I would also like Something Winnderful as a platform to build authority for serving my local community in educating and creating a more sustainable city.
Get Your Free Workbook!
That’s a lot of questions to answering! I’ve taken the liberty of creating a pretty little workbook you can download to answer all the questions and formulate your statements. The workbook is perfect to keep on hand as a reminder of why you started your business. Being able to reference these statements will make big decisions easier and hopefully help you find motivation on the days it escapes you.
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