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Visionary Entrepreneur: The Importance of a Clear Vision when Working with Co-Founders and Legal Team
22 February 2023
All you dream about is starting your own business. There is a big idea in your head and on your heart and you just know it can be successful. It is exciting being a visionary entrepreneur but also challenging and sometimes overwhelming. Overwhelm can sometimes occur when you think about where you want your business to be in the future to be but don’t reflect this anywhere, including in your legal work. So it is important to get that vision out of your head and articulate it, This will prevent confusion when working with a co-founder and your legal team. But articulating your vision is more than that.
A clear vision is how you interpret the direction the future of the world is going in and how your startup fits in.
For example, articulating your vision involves asking yourself:
- What makes you passionate?
- How will your business fulfil people’s wants or needs?
- How are you going to structure the price for your goods or services?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the goals for the first three months?
- What do you need to achieve in the first year?
- What does business success look like in three years?
It is also a clear statement on why your startup is different, what makes it stand out. While it is crucial to get this right from the beginning do not let this paralyse you from making a start on articulating your vision. Your strategies to achieve your vision may change and so they should as your business grows and has access to more resources. While your vision will not change, the path to success can change when you take feedback onboard from your inner circle and advisors and try different things, and in response to economic pressures.
Working with a co-founder
Deciding to work with a co-founder can be hard unless you have a shared vision. This is why you need to clearly articulate your vision both verbally and into a statement so you are both working towards the same outcome. You may both think you understand the vision and are working from the same page but this can cause confusion and disagreements without putting it in writing. Disagreements and confusion can stem from having different ideas about running the business or who is responsible for different parts of the business. Having a different vision with your co-founder can be a reason to part ways unless you write down the vision. Once it is in writing, it makes easier for you both to make good business decisions. You also have something concrete to share with employees, potential investors and your legal advisor.
Working with your legal team
Your vision is important when working with your legal team. Why? Because you want your legal documents to reflect your vision, what outcomes you want to see from your venture, and the footprint you want to leave in the world. So you need a clear vision about what you want to achieve for your legal team to prepare legal documents that mirror it. For example, you may have a vision for a business run with sustainability as the focus. In this case, your legals and the way you work internally should be consistent with this vision.
Your legal team can draft policies to deal with how you will source various materials sustainably and practices to make sure you leave a carbon neutral footprint. Your lawyer will always guide you on the best ways and legal documents to reflect your vision. This will ensure that your team and external stakeholders understand it and that their contributions align with your business.
Carry the vision for your business into all your relationships and agreements with stakeholders. For example, it might be that you articulate your vision in supplier agreements, policies, shareholder agreements, and each facet of your business that involves a legal relationship.
Vital communication tool
A clear vision is not just for you as a visionary entrepreneur, or your co-founder and legal team. It is a vital communication tool to get your message out to the world. More than ever before, consumers look into the companies behind the goods and services they purchase. The want to support businesses that are compatible with their values. So having a clear vision statement tells potential customers the purpose of your business and the motivation behind it. This will help you to attract your target audience, and earn their trust and loyalty.
Articulating your vision
A clear vision gives you direction so you can focus on what is important. It helps you prioritise what you need to do to breathe life into your startup. This will help you when making the tough decisions. So how do you articulate your vision?
Articulate your vision by writing it down in a statement. This should be the starting point of everything you do. Make your vision statement short and meaningful. Consider the following when writing it:
- Why. Why are you starting the business? What is its purpose? What problem does it solve or why is it important? Who is your target audience?
- What. What do you offer? What do you want to achieve?
Here are a few vision statements of well-known companies to give you a little more insight:
- Microsoft. To help people and businesses throughout the world realise their full potential.
- Coca-Cola. To craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love.
- Nike. Do everything possible to expand human potential.
You can see how unique each one is. Now you need to create your own. Here are four steps to help you:
- If you have a co-founder or a business mentor, sit down together and brainstorm ideas.
- Start with the purpose of your business and why your products or services matter to your target audience.
- Now think about what the business does. What are the products or services you offer?
- Once you have written all this down, summarise it into a single statement of one or two sentences. It should be clear and concise so that anyone outside of your business can understand it easily.
Now you have your vision statement shout it out to the world.
A well thought out vision is the key to success. It helps you and your co-founder work towards a shared vision and to avoid disagreements. Writing a vision statement articulates the purpose of your business and what you offer so that your legal team can draft legal documents that reflect the business. It also lets the world know what your business wants to achieve.
So it is important to take the time to articulate your vision in writing.
As always, if you have questions or need clarifications, reach out for advice.