Having a vision for your company is not the only thing needed to achieve that vision and be a success, but without vision, businesses will wither and die. Jim Collins in his Book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” says that successful companies have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), another way of saying “vision.”

I see companies lacking BHAG or vision happening in the current economy.  While the economy seems to be pulling out of the recession, the recovery will not be as fast as many companies want or need.

Three years ago as the economy began its slide, I changed jobs jumping from the high technology world of financial software to working inside a marketing communications agency. A little over a year later, my major client pulled their work and I was out of a job.  Businesses certainly have to cut back when times get tough in order to survive, but sometimes they may cut back too much.

Cutting all marketing will lead to loss of voice in the market. I have seen this all too often.  If prospects for the solutions your business offer cannot find you (inbound marketing) or know of you (outbound marketing) you may survive for a while, but you will wither and die eventually.

Manufacturing Business Model

All companies start out in the manufacturing model; you make something that someone wants and you sell it to them. Then through word of mouth, a few more want your solution and so it goes until you say, “I need to grow more” and add a sales team.

Sales Business Model

Next comes the sales model. You hire a sales staff, they go out and sell your solution and you continue to grow, until, to reach out further and to increase awareness for your brand, you figure that you had better start to advertise.

Marketing Business Model

Under the marketing model you hire a marketing team. Ads get placed, web sites get built, your brand awareness builds and your sales grow.

The Recession

Then the economy takes a hit and you cut back, what goes first?  The last hired? Well time and time again, study after study, companies that continue to market during economic downturns generally pick up the market share of their competitors that cut back on marketing. Those that have the vision to get through the downturn, come out better and gain market share when the economy rebounds.  Those that don’t, well they may not even make it out to the other side. Study after study has proved this out.

The companies that lack vision and BHAG, or focuses only on survival, generally will not see the other side of the recovery.

Vision is not technology

Now I just had to include the latest Verizon business solutions commercial in this post. Not only is it one of the few commercials I like, but it strikes a responsive chord. After all, practically everyone as a kid had a lemonade stand. So it is something that everyone can relate to.

What is interesting in this TV spot is how Verizon ties technology to helping a small business succeed. Perhaps. I look at it and really if Susie did not have a vision or BHAG for her lemonade stand and then use the technology her father gave to her to use to grow her business idea, the technology would only have the value of a calculator.


We all need vision for our future

If only life could be a simple as a 30 second TV spot. Individuals need to see past the current circumstance to grow. Businesses need a vision and those that wish to grow exceptionally a BHAG, of where they want to go to create new and better solutions for customer and prospects.

So does your company have a vision or BHAG for the future, or are you just in survival mode? Let me know what your company’s vision or BHAG is.