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Startup Guide: Perfecting your Vision, Mission, and Reasons to Believe

Vikrant Duggal
Vikrant Duggal
• 3 min read

A few months ago Amanda, a first time founder, was as shocked as anyone. While she and her co-founder had great backgrounds and a list of impressive accomplishments, her current B2B SaaS startup just wasn't hitting the mark for investors.

The Amanda that you'll meet today, running the same B2B SaaS startup was now beaming with pride. Her fundraise is under her belt (it was oversubscribed), top talent wants to come work for her, and the pipeline of companies interested grows weekly. She's feeling great.

As I sat down with Amanda we aligned around an important part of growing a business. I said to her, "I've observed two ways of proceeding from here: the easy way, or the hard way. Which do you prefer?"

She replied, "the easy way."

Ok, "then let's be honest with one another going forward."

"Agreed," she said.

"So, what's on your mind?" I asked.

"What do I do next?" she asked back.

What does a founder do next? As I reflected on what I had learned, I knew exactly where to start. And while there is a series of steps I offered Amanda, I want to focus this piece on one of those steps.

Creating a vibrant vision of the future, crafting a meaningful mission, and building a set of reasons to believe that will resonate with customers is critical to helping you build momentum forward.

Impact-driven founders are the most successful. [1]

Step 1: Clarify your Vision

A VC-backed startup must have a grand ambition. It's not enough that this vision live inside the founders head. It must be out in the open and repeated at every opportunity. This is your north star after all and if doesn't sound (a lot) crazy then it's not grand enough.

Gates saw a computer on every desk and in every room. Patrick Henry proclaimed, "Give me liberty or give me death." Bezos relentlessly sold everything online, and JFK put us on the path to put a man on the moon by the end of a decade. [2]

Boldness and ambition required.

Key Action: Practice, clarify, practice, and clarify.

Step 2: Clarify your Mission

While the vision is grand, there's a mission that you're on day in and day out that people who are living in the now must want to help you champion. This helps you drive purpose for each individual connected to your organization.

It's a strong foundation that focuses energy and attention, sparks new ideas, and shapes the culture of your startup. [3]

You want your team to be drumming to the same beat on your path to a billion dollar business. [4]

Key Action: Practice, clarify, practice, and clarify.

Step 3: Reasons to Believe

Why should your customer believe you and believe in you? What makes your promise credible and trustworthy?

As you speak with customers they will tell you why they believe in you. If they are not, then please ask them. Your company's life depends on you listening, and incorporating this feedback in a top three to five reasons customers believe in you. [5]

Key Action: Practice, clarify, practice, and clarify.

Next Steps

Find a partner, a consultant, a board member who will hold you accountable to discussing these three elements with you on a weekly basis. Record it, listen to it. Clarify it.

Use each and every opportunity to share it: a team meeting, a meeting with your co-founder, a board call, a meeting with a prospective vendor, or partner, a sales call.

Use your free time to clarify. Block 30-45 minutes each week to reflect.

The Result

Most founder have some of this in their heads (or in some notes document slmewhere), but no one knows you or your startup. The impact of repeating this over and over again will start to reveal itself in 12-14 months. The compounding effect of the repetition is what will help you overcome inertia and propel you toward the desired dent you are looking to make in the universe.

Onward.

Blog Sources:

[1] 40 Staggering Startup Statistics Everyone Should Know in 2021

[2] The power of a clear, concise vision by Tim Goshert

[3] What is a company mission statement and why is it important

[4] 30 Inspiring Mission Statements of Startup Companies That Went on to Earn a Billion Dollars

[5] Let's Talk about Brand Benefits and a Reason to Believe

[6] How to Define a Mission and Vision for Your Startup (and why they're so damn important.)

Video Sources:

Simon Sinek has a couple great videos that are worth watching and reflecting on. I've linked them below.

SaaS