It is a mistake to believe that a start-up that is without a clear vision, mission and plan will succeed into the future. It won't! Okay, there may be one or two exceptions to break the rule! Generally, however, a failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Businesses are set up to make money, to employ people and to become an independent income generating machine that will succeed into the future. Charity organisations are similar. Of course, there are other ambitions to simply generating income that involve making a change to the lives of others, animals or the environment. And, of course there are many variations to what a business or charity structure might look like. However, all such variations depend upon a plan for independent success.
Success is based upon the return on investment, whether it be human, financial or other resource. Returns on investment can be quantitative or qualitative, or both.
Quantitative is the return we usually think of - this is where we look at the balance sheet at the end of the financial year and assess whether or not the numbers stack up. Was investment at the level expected? Was the income generated over the period as forecast? Your plan should indicate at what point your business is expected to break even and when profits will be seen.
Qualitative returns on investment are less about the numbers and more about measuring the quality of your organisation, the service you provide, the quality of your products, the interaction you have with your customers and the way they respond and offer recommendations about your organisation to others. There are various research methods used to gather this kind of data.
However, to ensure your organisation achieves the return results you are looking for there has to be planning. A plan about your brand identity, the manner you choose to communicate your brand and the way you want your particular target audience to relate to your brand. And, although you will want to revisit your planning occasionally over time, longevity should surely be a vital consideration.