This article was written by Taylor Wescoatt, one of Seedcamp’s Experts-in-Residence. Follow Taylor on Twitter @twescoatt.
“I have the vision in my head, but I don’t know how to get it into the heads of my growing team so they can execute what and how I want them to” — Startup Founder
I have heard this a lot (spoken or unspoken) in startups. It stresses out the Founder, it frustrates the new marketing or UX person who wants to show they can make a difference, but aren’t quite sure how to.
Rallying around a five-year Vision Statement is fine, but what exactly should your team be doing TODAY to make that come true? I like to use a breakdown of the Five Year Vision I call “The Vision Roadmap” that I started developing at eBay and found well received later at Time Out and Emoov. By expressing your Vision in progressive steps, by customer segment, in the customer’s own language, you can;
- Save time, repetition, and confusion for you and your teams across the organisation.
- Convince potential investors that you know how to achieve your Vision.
- Begin to extract your Vision into actionable deliverables.
Make the Vision Actionable
“Who Are We?” – good question, but you need to answer it on many levels. Answer this for each of your customer segments (e.g. early adopters, followers, and service providers or suppliers), and identify how this changes over time. Collectively, and cumulatively, these eventually lead to the full realisation of your Five Year Vision.
The goal of this format is to allow you to render the roadmap between now and fully realising your vision. You recognise that your business will transform in stages over time, and this helps you focus on achieving those stages.
“This works nicely in an agile world where the lighthouse stays the same, but the tactics evolve as we build, test, and iterate toward the vision” — Bill Watt, Product Director, GoDaddy
The CarSparkle Vision Roadmap
So, for example, let’s say you’re building a mobile app for at-home car-washes & services, “CarSparkle”, and your Vision is “Car washing, servicing, and overall management all from your phone”
Each entry is called a User Proposition, that is, what you mean to them. How does this help?
- You’ve set a customer-oriented tone to your vision, which includes and activates your team to come up with tactics.
- You can actually validate each of these with your customers. Do they perceive you this way?
- You have communicated to your team a strong sense of focus on what they need to think about and when.
- First build out Central London, market to busy professionals, focus on washing
- Later market to families where our good washers live outside of London
- Then expand services and geography opportunistically
- You can talk to Partners (e.g. in a B2B or supplier context) specifically about how your relationship with them grows over time
- Investors now think, “Wow, this Founder really has a handle on how to get there”
“I liked the proposition approach to (1) diverge vision from product development, and an evolving sales strategy, and (2) a way to manage customers’ expectations” — Didier Vermeiren, Founder, Rial.to
This doesn’t take long to do. You and your Co-Founder can rip it out in an hour or so. If it takes longer than that, all the better because you’ve identified what must be a serious hurdle in realising your Vision. Your team will thank you as they dive back into work re-energised with a clearer sense of purpose and strong connection to the Vision. Follow it up by asking them to give you a revised execution plan. Drop it into your deck, it will be a nice touch to drive that next investor meeting in the right direction.
Once you have this sorted out – you may want to move on to the Customer Journey.
This is an updated version of an older post which is no longer live.
For a list of all my articles: http://seedcamp.com/eir-product-articles/