Identifying your purpose gives direction, clarity and motivation to your organisation. It helps you to make informed decisions about how to set your goals, and how to allocate your resources to meet them.

This lesson will help you to identify your business's vision and goals for the future, and start creating a clear business strategy.

Did you know?

Companies that develop a formal business plan are 16% more likely to achieve their goals and objectives.

Data from J. Greene, Christian Hopp

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Craft your vision, mission and business goals
  • Develop your customer personas
  • Identify your unique selling point and how this translates into your brand

Read time:

14 mins

Chapter 1

Create your vision and mission

Read time:

4 mins

Writing your vision

What is a vision?

A short statement that communicates the long-term purpose of your business.

It describes the desired future state for your business, the impact it aims to make on the world, and what it hopes to achieve.

A good vision should be clear, concise and memorable. It should capture the essence of what your business is aiming to achieve.

 

What should you consider when writing your vision?

  • Ambition – Where your business wants to be if it achieved all its goals. This should be challenging and inspiring
  • Your focus area – Make sure your vision is really relevant to the market or markets you work in
  • Customers – Who are your target customers and what do they want or need from your product or service?
  • What makes you unique – What makes your business stand out from its competitors?
  • Purpose/Impact – The positive change that your business wants to make

 

Three top tips for your vision

  1. Think long term – Your vision should be ambitious. Think about where you want your business to be in 5-10 years
  2. Be optimistic – Your vision should be realistic, but detail what would happen if you achieved all your goals
  3. Keep it simple – Write in plain, simple language. This will make it easier to remember and share with others

Activity

The next few sections will help you to start writing your own vision.

Don’t worry if you don’t finish it now, you can come back to it later and speak to other people to get feedback.

Start by answering these questions:

  • Purpose – Why was your business set up? What does it aim to achieve?
  • Ambition – If your business achieved all its goals, what would happen?
  • Your focus area – What market or markets are you working in?
  • Customers – Who are your target customers and what do they want from your product or service?
  • What makes you unique – What makes your business stand out from its competitors?
  • Purpose/Impact – What positive change does your business want to make in society?

 

Craft your vision

Thinking about your answers to these questions, what stands out to you?

Take 5 minutes to reflect and attempt to write down your vision. Don’t worry about this being perfect. Allow yourself to be creative. This should give you plenty of different options and you might see some common themes.

You can use this list later to work with others and create your final vision.

If you’re finding this hard, we’ve included a set of example visions from well-known brands. You can use these to inspire you.

 

Example company visions:

  • Google – “To provide access to the world's information in one click.”
  • Tesla – “To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.”
  • Microsoft – “To empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”

 

Writing your mission

What is a mission?

Your vision is all about your future. It answers the questions of where you want to be and why.

Your mission should say what your purpose is right now. It answers the questions of what you do now and why you do it.

Your mission is how you’ll achieve your long-term vision.

 

For example:

  • Vision Statement – “To become the world's leading provider of sustainable energy solutions.”
  • Mission Statement – “To create high-quality solar panels that allow our customers to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve energy independence.”

Activity

Now it’s time to try writing your own mission. Ask yourself - what do you do daily to achieve your vision? Take 5 minutes now to start writing out your list of activities. This will help you define your goals in chapter 3.

Once you have a list, look at what these things have in common. You need to work out the essence of what your business does. We also suggest looking back at your answers to the vision questions too.

Again, don’t worry about this being final. You can work with others to complete this later. The ideas you write here will help you start. Feel free to spend longer on this activity if it helps.

Chapter 2

Consider what you offer your customers

Read time:

4 mins

Your unique selling point (USP)

What is a USP?

Your business can have one or many USPs. A USP is a benefit that sets you apart from other businesses in your market.

It might be a feature of a product, or a part of how you operate or your brand. The key point is that it acts as a reason for a customer to select you over another business. Compare yourself to other businesses that work in your target market or markets. These are your competitors.

Why have a USP?

Being clear on what unique benefits you can bring to your customer helps you to stand out.

You can use your USPs to make business decisions.

You should aim to make choices that protect and market your USP. This means creating a marketing and sales strategy that uses your USPs to appeal to your target market.

 

What aspects of your products and services can be a USP:

  • The price
  • The quality
  • How easy it is to purchase and use them
  • How innovative their features are
  • The customer service you offer

 

Create USPs for your target customer

There are two factors that contribute to an effective USP. The first we have covered – being unique. The second is your ability to sell your target customer what they want, the way they want it.

To make sure you are set up to do this, we’ll next help you define your target market. You can do this using ‘personas’. These are fictional depictions of the types of customer you are trying to sell to.

Personas will help you focus on your customer’s needs. You can then start to narrow down what you can offer them that’s unique.

 

To build your personas, write down:

  • Basic details about your customers – This might include their age, where they live, what their income is, and any relevant views or beliefs
  • What kind of lifestyle do they lead? – Is your service aimed at food lovers, thrill seekers, busy parents, office workers? When are they typically online, or how do they use technology throughout their day?
  • What do they enjoy and do? – What are their interests, and how do they connect to your business?
  • How do they want to connect with you and others? – Are you talking to them on a channel that works for them?

 

Tips:

  • You may have more than one persona – You can do this activity as many times as you need to cover the different types of people you want to target
  • Use analytics and data – This helps to get a clearer idea of who visits your pages and sites, and what they like

 

Turn this into your USPs

Once you’ve put these personas together, you should have a better idea of how you can meet their needs. For each of the personas you create, think about how your business might do this.

 

Once you’ve done this, you should:

Do competitor and market research

Use your insights to outline your USP

Think about how you’ll use it

Do competitor and market research

This kind of research helps you better understand your unique place in the market.

Take time to look at how other businesses like you position themselves in the market. What do they offer their customers? Try to write down their strengths, weaknesses and unique selling points.

Use your insights to outline your USP

Take your market and competitor research and compare it with the list of ways you meet your customers’ needs. Look for ways in which you are already unique. Then think about potential opportunities to do things in a unique way, by slightly tweaking the way you do things now.

These are your unique selling points. They’re the ways you support your customers’ needs in a way that others don’t.

Think about how you’ll use it

Once you have your USP, it’s time to use it to your advantage. Consider how your marketing and sales strategy can use it. Make sure you share it with everyone in your business so they can use it in messages and when making decisions.

Chapter 3

Set your goals

Read time:

3 mins

How to start setting your goals

Why set business goals?

Setting goals is key to business success, as they create direction and purpose. Once you have goals, you can measure your progress against them. This can help to motivate your team, and allows you to make decisions based on how things really are.

Clear and achievable goals inspire and create a sense of accomplishment. They serve as a benchmark to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

By setting goals, your business can prioritise its time, money and efforts. This can help you focus on the things that matter most to your business and customer.

Goals should be SMART

SMART is an acronym that gives you a framework for setting and achieving goals. SMART gives you a clear idea of what goals should look like, so your goals can be more consistent and effective.

 

SMART stands for:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

 

Let's take a closer look at what each of these mean. Select each one to find out more.

  • Goals should be clear and ideally focus on one area. They should set out a specific action you are going to take. For example - Increase sales.

  • You must be able to measure the success of your goal. This means setting targets to track progress. For example - Increase sales by 50%. You can then say without doubt whether or not you have achieved this, using data.

  • It's good to stretch your business to be better. At the same time, goals should be realistic. They should reflect the resources, skills and time you have or can get.

    For example - You might lower your target to 25% after reflecting on how hard 50% would be for your business to achieve. It can be helpful to look at your track record. If you've only been increasing sales by 10% each year, how realistic is it to expect 50% with extra focus?

  • Goals should always align with your overall mission. This ensures that everything you do helps you get closer to your long-term vision.

    Always consider if there's anything you can add to a goal to help achieve your long-term goal. If you're increasing your sales, how can you do so safely, sustainably, or in other ways that better reflect your purpose.

  • Goals should have a specific deadline. For example - Increase sales by 25% by the end of the year, without lowering our customer experience score.

To start, you should:

  1. Review your values, mission and vision – This will ensure your goals help your long-term purpose
  2. Set your short-term goals - Make sure your goals are SMART and help your vision and mission
  3. Set your medium and long-term goals - Remember to be SMART, focus on the future, and align to your vision

Chapter 4

Turn your purpose into a brand

Read time:

2 mins

Creating a purposeful business

What is a brand?

Your brand is everything that makes up your business. It’s your identity. It is everything that you do and how you present yourself, from your logo and colours, to the way you interact with customers. Done right, your brand can make you stand out from other businesses. So in fact, your brand itself can be a unique selling point.

Creating a unique and consistent brand

By using the same messaging, visuals and tone of voice across all your channels and materials, you can create a strong and distinctive brand.

Your brand should always reflect your purpose. Being a purpose-driven organisation can help to build trust and customer loyalty. Strong branding means customers can quickly recognise the business's values and offerings, and identify why they should shop with you over other businesses.

 

The main elements of a brand

  1. Brand identity – The visual aspects of the brand, such as the logo, colours and pictures
  2. Brand messaging – The language and tone used to share your brand's story
  3. Brand experience – The overall value you bring to your customers, including your service and product

 

Turn your purpose into a brand

  1. Clearly explain your USP
  2. Create a visual brand identity
  3. Write brand guidelines
  4. Consistently apply your brand
  5. Build brand awareness

 

Clearly explain your USP

Reflecting your USPs in your brand helps your customer understand why they should shop with you. No matter how the customer interacts with you, it should be clear what your business can offer that others can’t.

Create a visual brand identity

Create a visual identity for your brand that aligns with your USP. This might include a logo, colour palette, fonts and other design elements that communicate your brand's personality and values.

If you don’t have these skills, consider hiring or working with a designer.

Write brand guidelines

Develop a set of guidelines for how your brand should be applied across all channels. This should include advice on how to use all your visual identity elements.

There are lots of brand guidelines online to use as inspiration. If you’re not sure, consider asking or working with a designer.

Consistently apply your brand

Your brand should be consistent across all your channels and marketing materials. This ensures that, no matter where your customers come from, they have the best impression of your business.

Build brand awareness

Once you have built your brand, it’s time to start sharing it. If you have a strong, purposeful brand, it’s easier to get brand recognition. This means your marketing campaigns tell your customers exactly what they’ll gain by buying from you.

Chapter 5

Key takeaways

Read time:

1 min

In this lesson, you learned how to:

  • Craft your vision, mission and goals
  • Develop your customer personas
  • Find one or more USPs
  • Turn your purpose into a brand identity

 

If you haven’t already, you should take some time to create:

  • Your vision
  • Your mission
  • One or more USPs
  • Short, medium and long-term goals
  • Your purpose-led brand identity

 

Creating an online brand

If you’d like to know more about creating an online brand, you can access our ‘Creating your online brand’ lesson.

 

Lloyds Bank Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Lloyds Bank does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 21st April 2023.