The Distance from Point A to Point B
Creating what you envison drives most entrepreneurs. Transforming an idea into a successful business however, is a continual process that consists of many stages.
When the Internet was introduced to Nepal in the 1990s, it had an exclusive feel to it. It was something only the young urban crowd related to. Less than a tool for growth and development, it looked like a mere trend. In 1995, Worldlink Communications packaged the Internet as an accessible tool for locals as opposed to how it was being advertised and started catering it to the masses. With varying schemes to suit the varying personalities who would use it, Worldlink made a clear dent in the market.
How did the company make this happen? The answer is vision. It required vision to see how the Internet could revolutionize not just society but the country as a whole. These are the clear steps to break this concept into:
Imagine: Developing a clear vision
The starting point for any venture is that moment when an idea takes shape in your head; standing at Point A and staring at Point B. Getting to point B may not be as simple as simply walking toward it. Sometimes the vision might be a dillusional whim, and the Point B that you are staring at may only be an illusion. Before you start your venture it is important to establish clarity; understanding the business, the industry and the market, identifying its different components, understanding the value that you intend to create and the overall feasibility of the business. After you are done looking at the details of that vision and have established clarity, and if you still like what you see, maybe then you have something.
Speak: Communicating your vision
The purpose of establishing a clear vision is not only to secure your faith in your vision. Establishing clarity is a process that leads to increased capacity to describe what your business is all about with conviction. Getting to Point B from Point A requires a strong team, a team that can envision the end goal like you. To form such a team, you need to have a clear image of your idea, to be able to inspire your team with it. Every intention to lead requires a vision and to convert the vision into reality the leader must be able to communicate it and instill it in the minds of his team.
Listen: Feedback and Improvisation
The path from point A to B is most definitely not a fixed one. With the changing times and business environment, our path towards the vision may need to be reconsidered from time to time. At times your original vision can take a new shape with these changes. To recognize these adjustments, entrepreneurs need to start listening. Firstly, from the customers. What the end user has to say about your service is not just a rating mechanism but possibly also guidelines for future decisions. Secondly, employee feedback can help widen your perspective. Promoting feedback from employees also enhances a culture of trust in the organization, as well as a sense of ownership amongst the team members.
Vision to Reality
The transformation of one’s vision to reality is a continued process, which never ends in most cases. As we establish our eventual objective, it’s a cyclical process through the previous mentioned steps. With every cycle, you get closer to transforming that vision into reality. In some cases, your vision maybe something that does not require being reached or achieved, but a distant point B for you to constantly aim at.
“It is not only in business ventures that we need a clear vision; vision instigates leadership. Without having a clear idea of what it is that you are trying to achieve, you cannot lead,” Dileep Agarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of World Link says, when asked how important is it to have a vision before starting off a venture. The uncompromisable position that it holds in our lives today was probably not forseeable to most in 1995. Today, the distance between WorldLink and its vision of “connecting everyone, everwhere, all the time” is only getting shorter.
When Dileep Agarwal started his journey to create Worldlink, the company started with providing store-and-forward e-mail services over a dial-up link. Mercantile was the first to introduce email services in Nepal in 1994, a year later World Link followed suit. Back then e-mail was largely unheard of in our society; even Hotmail was nonexistent. At such a time, Agarwal had to convince his peers that there is an illimitable future for such a technology. Having a clear vision of what he aimed to achieve, he was able to communicate his vision to his team and various stakeholders, and make them believe in his vision, and collaborate their efforts towards a common goal. Today WorldLink is the largest privately owned Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Nepal, and as for e-mails, no one pays for just emails anymore.
“It is a team effort; and without input from all members, the team can not actively participate towards the company’s vision. These inputs provide the necessary guidelines for planning and decision making, and sometimes they can even bring about changes to the original vision,” says Agarwal.
“The vision of our company is ‘Connecting everyone, anywhere, all the time’, which probably is not possible in Nepal for sometime to come. Despite the limitations, we all share this vision and it is the company’s driving force. Ultimately, all our efforts are directed towards this vision.”