Vision. The most important part of any startup. Not the product, not the founder, not the super-smart team, nor any Sand Hill Road VCs backing them.
What a vision is not: a mission statement. (Pause for the eye roll). Sounds trivial, but this point is one I make with founders constantly. In a recent meeting a founder told me his new mission statement: “At company X we strive to create an experience that please our customers while creating opportunities and empowering all stakeholders ultimately leading to success.” (vomit) This statement says nothing, wastes time, and inspires no one.
Here’s a simple rule, unless you are planning to go public in the next 12 months, you don’t need a mission statement. You need a vision statement.
The vision is the core on which the entire company is built. It does not matter if you are a tech startup wanting to dominate an industry, a non-profit, or even a lifestyle business, the vision is the foundation that allows you to build a great business.
A core attribute of the vision statement is inspiration. Regardless of the stakeholder, you must create awe and a feeling of action. A long-term goal that propels you forward by default. It should excite new customers to change their buying habits and inspire employees to leave their job and come work for you. If you don’t get goose-bumps from your own vision statement, how are you going to inspire anyone else?
What’s my vision? To make every startup I work with a sustainable billion-dollar business.
Now stop wandering and find that north star!