Published January 9, 2019
Last week, we addressed the importance of creating a business plan. As a recap, it is important that the business plan be a living, breathing document; one that changes and is consistently being reviewed. As a reminder, the first step to creating a successful business plan is setting the vision for your financial advisory firm.
But, how do you create your strategic vision? It starts with a vision statement.
A good vision statement should represent the following:
- The beacon of light for your firm, which every action you take going forward ultimately contributes to helping the firm reach this beacon.
- A memorable and inspirational summary of your organization—one that will inspire and motivate all of your constituents, including your employees, clients and shareholders.
- An easy-to-understand overview of what the firm is trying to achieve so that third parties can easily grasp what you do and for whom.
- A boundary setter- so you will ask yourself, “will this help us achieve our vision?” and rule out actions that will not.
How to Write a Vision Statement for your Advisory Firm
Now that we have a better understanding of what a strategic vision statement is, let’s embark on creating one for your firm. There are a few common rules you should follow when creating a vision statement for your independent advisory practice. They include:
- Keep it short – you want it to be memorable.
- Be specific – you want to ensure it is something only your firm can deliver.
- Make it simple – don’t use technical jargon, industry metaphors, or professional acronyms.
- Be exciting – make it ambitious and be passionate.
- Align the vision with your own values and values you want others to emulate.
An easy model to follow for creating your own unique vision statement is one that I learned many years ago. I like to call it the vision statement MadLibs. Here is how it works. Fill in the blanks below.
(XYZ Firm) is a (define what your firm is) and delivers (name the specific services you deliver) for (define the ideal client for your firm). We do this by applying our (define your unique twist) and (apply some level of qualification) to ensure our clients can (what is the goal you want your clients to achieve).
While this may seem like an overly simplistic process of creating your vision statement, it will help you open the dialog and brainstorm with your senior team. Once you have your vision statement, it should be incorporated in all of your collateral assets and even in your lunchroom as a daily reminder of what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Examples of Well-Crafted Vision Statements
For some examples of truly exceptional vision statements, I did some research. Here are just a few that stand out in the crowd.
- Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
- Cradles to Crayons: Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.
- Universal Health Services, Inc.: To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.
- JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
- Regions Financial: To help our customers and communities realize their dreams by anticipating, understanding and meeting financial needs.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog where we review the next step of creating a solid business plan; How to Assess Your Current Situation.