Taking Stock: write your vision statement

Bags for boys at Mee a Bee - a definite strength - being free to make cute stuff for boys

Bags for boys at Mee a Bee - a definite strength - being free to make cute stuff for boys

The other day I wrote about how hard it is to write a VISION statement when you've never done one before. Instead I suggested TAKING STOCK as a way of getting started.

I asked these questions:

  1. Start by writing down what you do or make. 
  2. Think about why you enjoy doing it.
  3. Recall the first instance when you thought you might be able to sell your service or creation.
  4. Make a list of sales you have made.
  5. List your online or offline 'property'.
  6. List your accomplishments related to your products / business. 
  7. Anything else.

With this list of answers fresh in your mind try to divide up your answers into strengths and weaknesses / opportunities and threats. Then turn these statements into positive ideas about the future. SWOT is an abbreviation: strengths and weaknesses / opportunities and threats 

Your vision statement will start to take shape quickly and you'll realise that it's underpinned by your core values. What you do and why are the most important questions.

In regular text is a statement of fact, what is true now.

In bold italics is that same statement changed to future tense to serve as my guiding principles. Voila, a vision statement. I hope this helps you get started. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just try to be honest about what you do and why you think it's great, special or enjoyable. This is what endears people to your product - your feelings about it.

 

Mee a Bee - partial SWOT analysis

Strengths / Opportunities

I make bags for children ->

My bags will always be handmade.

I am passionate about uniqueness.

I will always stay passionate about making a unique product.

Enjoy making custom-designs and incorporating elements that are not seen in mass-produced bags. ->

I will embrace the fact that my bags are seen as superior because they are not mass-produced.

I will cherish the direct contact with buyers. And try to remember that the story behind the bags creates value in the customer's minds. They enjoy knowing where their bags came from.

I enjoy hearing where the bags will be going. ->

What a privilege it is to be a global business with bags going to many different countries, I hope to expand the geographic spread.

High-quality craftsmanship is non-negotiable.

Super-fast delivery and great customer service will remain high priorities.

I will continue to build and maintain my reputation for being honest about the source of materials and their suitability for children.

I'm committed to producing bags by hand in Japan using locally sourced fabrics. As much as possible I will use natural fabrics with non-toxic, child-safe dyes and production processes.

I will never sell commercial-character items and hope to always choose fabrics that support children's growing imaginations, sense of adventure and curiosity about the world.

I hope parents will embrace the early years and recognise their roles as first teachers. Through the bags, the experiences and the conversations they spark I hope to enrich children's lives.

Weaknesses / Threats

Each bag is handmade so quality control is difficult - there's a degree of error in every bag. ->

I will strive to improve my craft to reduce variations.

Cost of postage from Japan. Packaging materials.

Handmade bags - labor-intensive with high cost of inputs.

At the mercy of exchange rates since almost all sales go overseas.

I will price the bags appropriately to take into account high costs of production and fluctuations in the money-markets. With good branding and positioning in the market these factors are less of an issue since a higher price can be gained.

Being a child's product I need to constantly try to add new prospective customers to the fanbase as the kids 'age out' of the product within a few years. ->

I will need to stay on top of marketing and work to keep the brand fresh, exciting and current.