May 28, 2013 | 4-minute read (697 words)
Originally published in KillerStartups
How do you go about clearly communicating your startup vision to your team so that each person in the company moves in unison towards executing that vision?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Run a Campaign
“Help everyone envision the future with aspirational magazine articles describing your company one year from now. Discuss business alternatives in light of what brings the company closer to that vision. Explain why your vision is a preferred future for the team. If you have not grown tired of hearing yourself share the vision, you haven’t shared it enough!”
- Kevon Saber, Fig
2. Start in the Hiring Process
“In order to make sure that everyone is moving in unison toward executing a clear vision, make sure they know that vision before they’re hired. If you only hire people who are aligned with the vision, they are much more likely to support that vision in the long run. Many business owners fail to do this and are stuck with people who don’t support the vision, so set the expectation from the start."
- Louis Lautman, Supreme Outsourcing
3. Share Your Painted Picture
“I love Cameron Herold’s book “Double Double” and his exercise called “The Painted Picture.” You can write out how you want your company to look, feel and operate. Then, it’s just a matter of having people in your company read the painted picture you’ve created and help you make it happen.”
- Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool
4. Don’t Deviate From the Message
“If you want your team working in unison, you need to clarify what the vision is — for yourself and for your team — and then stay on-point with this one clear message. Do not deviate. All of your actions and communications should be in line with your core message. “
- David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
5. Appeal to Emotions
“The vision should be ideological and purposeful, not financial. It should motivate and move people emotionally. It needs to be a purpose-driven vision, not a revenue-driven vision. Every three years, we publish a company “Vision Document” that describes exactly what our company will look like three years from now. We then talk about the vision daily, asking if we’re moving in the right direction.”
- Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk
6. Use the Buddy System
“We developed interoffice “how-tos” for each department in order to streamline the training of new hires. People from each department take their on-the-job knowledge and use it to formulate short, informative “decks” that are then uploaded to our company website. That way, new staff members get an overarching view of the company vision and an insider look at their roles from seasoned peers.”
- Alex Lorton, Cater2.me
7. Focus on “One Simple Thing”
“It’s the OST (One Simple Thing). What you do should be able to be broken down into an easy-to-understand, emotional, easy-to-remember phrase. At Kenai, “we’re saving the planet.” It’s a rally cry and mantra for everything we do — and my team is constantly repeating it. When you make your values known, and wear them on your sleeve (literally, for us), it’s hard for anyone to forget.”
- Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports, LLC
8. Keep Everyone in the Know
“At Astonish, we have weekly meetings with the executive team, monthly one-on-ones with those on the executive team and monthly company-wide meetings. Meeting with the entire company, sharing presentations and holding webinars is the way we all stay linked and “in the know” about what is going on inside the company. When you all get together, you can see it, taste it and feel it.”
- Adam DeGraide, Astonish
How do you internally communicate your startup vision? Tell us in comments below.