The entrepreneurial journey is full of distractions. Entrepreneurs are optimists and see opportunity everywhere. These opportunities are beautiful shiny objects and, if pursued, they take the entrepreneur on a path to profitability or they derail them from it. When you are clear about your vision, mission, and the business opportunity, decision-making is easy.
Suppose you are traveling 100 yards. What happens if you veer off by one degree? You miss your target by 5.2 feet. In contrast, if you were to travel to the sun and you veer off by one degree, you will miss it by 1.6 million miles. If your starting point is close to your desired target point, one degree of difference may be insignificant. However, if you are far from your target, that one degree can make all the difference.
What does this teach us? First, before you begin a journey, know where you are going and why (Vision and Mission). Having determined the destination, you need to consistently check to see if you are on course. Pilots don’t just set their trajectory and continue on blindly. In response to changing winds and weather patterns, they constantly course correct along the way. It is important to prepare for and adjust to variance. To engage in an effective planning process means regularly checking in to make sure you are on track.
High performers bring focus and discipline to their business by clearly articulating their vision, mission, and business opportunity. They’re constantly measuring to determine what works and refining their planning process accordingly. Regardless of domain, most entrepreneurs exist in spaces of high competition and limited resources. Their task is to quickly find a path to success, which usually translates to a path towards profitability. Companies that fail are unable to achieve market fit or unclear about their business opportunity.
Defining your business by articulating your mission, vision, and business opportunity serves two objectives:
1. It sets the stage for decision-making.
2. It helps calibrate the organization.
Taking the time to define your business is about degrees of difference. The further along you are in the entrepreneurial journey, the greater the difference one degree can make in achieving your desired objectives. Deciding when to pursue an opportunity should be driven by the alignment of what you are trying to achieve (Vision and Mission) and the revenue it will generate (Business Opportunity). Taking the time to articulate traditional business planning notions like vision, mission, and the business opportunity is not a waste of time. Instead, each helps to calibrate your organization so that you are better able to achieve the difference you set out to make.