There are two parts to every successful business:
Vision and implementation.
Vision is the why, the purpose, the mission. The grand picture, the ideal customers or clients, and what everything will look like when it’s done. It is about goals, dreams and… vision.
Implementation is where the rubber meets the road, and how the vision happens. It is about turning dreams into objectives, KPIs, check-ins, meetings and more.
Every business needs both to succeed.
Vision and Implementation Skillsets
Vision and implementation are two very different skillsets, and some would argue, two very different personality types.
It is rare to find a business owner who has both.
If we want to stereotype a bit…
Visionaries have their heads in the clouds. They are passionate extroverts or dreamer introverts. They are big picture thinkers. They can get up and inspire audiences, woo investors, be amazing spokespeople and the face of their company.
Implementors are the quiet, back office technician types. They are the integrators who quietly run the company with spreadsheets and databases. They have their finger in the pie and are looking to optimise everything to a ridiculous degree.
Why You Need Both Vision and Implementation
Vision is necessary.
As humans, we are tribal creatures — we need a vision to keep us focused and motivated.
We want to believe.1Some would cynically say that we want to follow.
And in today’s age there is so much stimuli and marketing thrown at us daily… it is the companies with a true vision, brand, and direction that stand out to us and win our business.
Without a vision, a company cannot start up, cannot sell product and cannot succeed in its initial phases.
Implementation is necessary because dreaming alone is not enough.
At some point you have to execute.
And this is where implementation comes in.
There needs to be actual “hard work” and human-hours put into a business — whether that’s coding, client consultations, product design, manufacturing, bookkeeping or administrative paperwork.
If implementation wasn’t necessary, we would all be living in a utopia fuelled by just our wildest dreams and imagination.
The Beginning: When Vision and Implementation Are One and the Same
At the beginning of a non-venture business, vision and implementation are one and the same.2Startups raising venture capital follow a different process.
The founder of the company does everything. They create the vision. They sell it. They do the work. And they drink lots of coffee.
It’s hustle and more hustle and closing sales and doing deals and generating revenue.
At this point in time there’s no need to specialise — founders just identify what needs to be done to bring in money and do as much of it as possible.
Growth and Scale: When Vision and Implementation Diverge
At some point though, vision and implementation start to diverge.
And this is where founders begin to play to their strengths.
For most businesses this is around the $100,000/year range, but it also depends on industry.
This is the point where the business can survive on its own, and needs to start capitalising on specialist skillsets and economies of scale for future growth.
The founder of the business is usually the visionary.
She emerges from the busywork and sells the company vision as its CEO.
She rallies the troops with culture, training, and speeches.
She nails the marketing and sales processes.
She becomes the public face of the company.
The implementor is a general manager, operations manager or COO type. He continues tinkering in the background.
He converts that vision into objectives, KPIs, and metrics.
He makes sure that the company’s systems run like clockwork.
He makes sure that whatever is promised in the vision is delivered on time with Swiss-watch levels of precision.
He builds out the team that is needed to bring the company’s visions to the masses.
How to Separate Vision and Implementation
Some companies are lucky. They start with two founders or a team of founders with different strengths and have both these roles already in-place.
Other companies need help.
Visionary founders need to find an implementor type. It could be a COO, a GM, an OBM or someone like me.
Implementation founders have it harder. They have to learn to become visionary — after all, no one knows the company better than its founder. And if they are able to do this, they then need to find an implementor type to run the day-to-day.
What To Do Next
If your business is starting to grow and you need help with the implementation side — let’s talk.
- Some would cynically say that we want to follow.
- Startups raising venture capital follow a different process.