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Au’Guest’ Blog Post – Five things we learned about developing a company vision

Written by Claire Eden, Director of Trackpal as part of the Wired Sussex guest blog month

Being a start-up is a tricky business. Firstly, you need to have a great product or service. An original idea helps, and so does time, effort and a lot of creativity. And, of course, you need to find a way to fund your idea in order to get it off the ground.

(For expert advice about funding, read Steve Penfold’s post about ways to raise cash.)

If it goes well, then soon you don’t just have a great idea you have a business, complete with customers. And either straight away or a little further down the line, you might have a team of people working for you as well.

And then what? That’s two groups of people – clients and staff - who, sooner or later, will ask where your business is heading. Your bank or your investors might be interested in the answer as well! But what’s the story you want to tell them? In other words, what’s your vision for your business?

As a start-up company, learning as we go along, it soon became clear that we needed to have a vision for Trackpal - to give our people a sense of shared purpose and our clients a clear sense of our ambition and the journey they could go on with us. But first of all we knew that, as a product-based company, we had to clearly understand what our product was trying to achieve and define its purpose (for us it’s all about helping digital professionals make their reporting more profitable). Then we could move on to defining our vision for the company.

A company vision needs to chime with everyone in the business. If every member of your team can identify with, and feel motivated by the company vision then you’re onto a winner.

As we developed our vision we also learned a few things along the way.

1. Creating a vision is hard work
So much so in fact that it’s something that often gets put on the backburner by start-up businesses grappling with more ‘real’ issues like customer requests and cash flow. And then, for the same reasons, there’s the risk that a vision gets forgotten about by everyone on the team. Sometimes, it can be just as hard to remember, and refer to, the vision as create it in the first place. But remember it you must.

2. A collaborative process creates buy-in
Whilst the directors had a strong vision for what we wanted Trackpal to be like, in order to get this out of our heads and onto paper it helped to start by discussing things as a team. We found that the views of others really helped us to refine our ideas and decide what to focus on.

What’s more, working together as a team ensured that everyone was on the same wavelength. At this point you will quickly learn whether there are any conflicting voices and ideas! Thankfully, everyone in the Trackpal team shared a similar outlook.

3. Turn the vision into something tangible
Once we’d worked out what our core values were, we needed to turn this into something tangible. We had a list of words and ideas (such as honesty, democracy, work/life balance, teamwork, personal development) which needed some order and meaning.

To do this we split the ideas into the following sections: the overall internal vision (the company we want to create), the supporting values and behaviours (for the whole team to refer to and aim towards on a daily basis), and actionable initiatives to ensure we hold to our values (such as regular 1-2-1s, training, birthday lie-ins, holiday allowance etc.)

4. Create an internal and external vision
As our business grew two separate stories began to unfold – firstly for our clients and then for our own people. This is when we realised we actually needed to create both an external and internal vision for the company. One can’t work without the other. Whilst our external vision is created to publicly proclaim what we want our business to achieve, it can’t address our internal working ‘culture’, or how we should look after our team of people. So we created a separate – for our eyes only - internal vision to do just that.

5. Hire with your vision in mind
If you’re a small but growing company it really helps if new employees can quickly grasp and get behind your vision. Someone might have all the right qualifications but lack the core values and motivations that you need to move your business forward. Hire people who are as excited about your business as you are with these great tips.

Of course, we don’t claim to have it all worked out, and our vision is definitely a work in progress. We’ll test it and change it if necessary. But we do definitely believe that making the effort to create a clear vision for Trackpal will really help us succeed in the long run.

If you’ve been through a similar process and have further tips to share then we’d love to hear them.


Inspirational Visions 

We like to take inspiration from other companies who are doing it right. Here are some of our favourite company vision statements from large tech companies:

  • Since the 80s IBM have worked silently behind the scenes with the statement "We strive to lead the invention, development and manufacture in the industry's most advanced information technologies"


  • While people think that Google's vision is “Don't Be Evil” (ahem), their real mission statement is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." Which they have done very well indeed.
  • Microsoft's is "To help people and businesses throughout the world realise their full potential". We’re also inspired by their achievements through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose statement is "We believe every person deserves the chance to live a healthy, productive life." Can't really argue with that!

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