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Whether or not a business is profitable largely depends on whether the business owners are planning to be profitable. I know that, in a general sense, every business owner wants their business to be a huge success and that they dream of money raining down on their heads from the sales of their goods and services. Surprisingly, sales success alone does not guarantee profitability. Profitability requires a consistent focus on continuous improvement and diligence in monitoring key performance areas. We look at one of the key profitability focus areas - the impact a shared business vision has on small business profitability. Given that profitability is a measure relying heavily on number crunching, it might seem a tad strange that a key profitability focus area is a one that could be considered as subjective. However, studies have shown that companies that have created a shared vision that resonates with each of its stakeholders (i.e. shareholders, clients, employees and suppliers) are more likely to experience exponential rather than incremental growth. If you doubt the power of creating a shared vision, take a look at the results of a four year study by Professors John Kotter and James Heskitt examining 10 businesses in each of 20 industry categories, focusing on Corporate Culture and Performance. This study showed that those businesses with a shared vision experienced revenue increases of 682% while those without a shared vision only experienced 166% growth. When it comes to workforce increases those with a shared vision experienced 282% while those without experienced 36% increase on average. Stock prices for companies with a shared vision went up by 901% on average compared to only 74%. Notably, Net Income for those with a shared business vision increased by a whopping 756% compared to a paltry 1% on average for those without. Which would you rather? The value of developing a vision or mission for a corporate business has benefits that a small business can harness to assist in its growth and development. The bonus being that it will cost you nothing but time and a commitment to putting the vision at the heart of your business. You can do it yourself with the active participation of shareholders, employees, suppliers and clients. A shared business vision creates a focus for each of your stakeholders and has them operating in concert with the shared vision. Combined with an appropriately aligned mission statement and goals and you have an effective framework for all decisions within the business, the end result is that all stakeholders are moving forward in unison and reaching your goals and fulfilling your strategic intent that much faster.

Karen L. Paiyo is an Australian Small Business Counselor, supporting and nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Asia Pacific Region. Karen empowers small business owners by transferring to them the skills and expertise needed to help them take their business ideas from creative concept to profitable reality, faster and with less risk. For more small business articles, news, tips and business advice, check out her website at Subscribe to The Sure Entrepreneur Newsletter today, and benefit from the complementary Key Australian Business Dates Reminder Service. It is like having your own personal small business coach in your inbox.

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Here's What I Know About Planning for Profit  

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