It’s well-known that when Howard Schultz bought Starbucks in the 1980s, he had a vision to create a “third place” for Americans, beyond home and work. It’s safe to say he realized that vision, and more.
By envisioning that third place, Howard imbued Starbucks with an inspired view of the future, enabling their people to build something so big that it changed American culture. Consider just a few examples:
- People increasingly seek to “have a coffee” with others, rather than “have a meeting” at their offices.
- Loyal customers, in addition to referring to Starbucks as a place, now refer to it as a thing: “I’m going to get my Starbucks.”
- Today, most Starbucks are filled morning until night with students, freelancers, web surfers, and working professionals. For some, it’s not their third place, but their second place.
I’ve noticed that more and more entrepreneurs today lack vision, which is the founders’ view of their startup in the future…what they want the company to be.
Some naively expect to hit the jackpot in a few years and don’t care about building something for the long-haul. Others, like those who are simply building an app, have a vision for a product and not a company. And even others state that their vision is to “disrupt our industry” or “revolutionize the way ____ is done” or “be the next Facebook”. Those aren’t visions, they’re meaningless propaganda.
Real leaders have real vision. They see something that the rest of us can’t and they pursue it doggedly. They find people who share that vision, who can see it, and who want to build something so big that it changes the world around us.
Those are the kinds of entrepreneurs I love to be with. Those are the kinds of entrepreneurs who I want to have a coffee with.