Your vision statement captures and communicates the direction your business is taking. Here, we discuss how to start one, along with examples of successful companies.
Having a clear vision of the future is powerful. It guides your decisions, focuses your energy, and gives you a picture of a future to look forward to if you do what you have to do today.
In business, you don’t start a business without a plan or launch a product without a go-to-market strategy. There’s usually an aspiration – a vision, if you will – behind every endeavor worth investing your time and energy into.
And while the importance of a work vision is crucial to success, it’s equally important to capture and formalize that vision in a way that clarifies, inspires, and inspires your employees to action.
This is where the vision statement comes in.
Presentation: what is a vision statement?
An organization’s vision statement is a statement that describes your company’s goals and where you expect it to be in five or ten years. This is an essential part of any strategic plan and describes where your business is going and what this place looks like.
A strong vision statement is brief, clear, future-focused, challenging, inspiring, sets a desirable goal, and sets your business apart.
The best vision statements are neither too long nor too short. They are easy to communicate and remember. On average, vision statements are about two to three sentences long, which is long enough to summarize the company’s vision but not too long to forget about it.
Types of vision statements
Vision statements can be categorized as quantitative or superlative.
Quantitative Vision Statements
Your vision statement is quantitative if it includes a number, such as financial projections or any number. An example is Save the Children’s vision statement: A world in which every child achieves the right to survival, protection, development and participation.
Superlative Vision Statements
A superlative vision statement talks about being #1 in your field, the best in the market, etc. Essentially, it uses superlative adjectives to articulate where you see your business going in the future.
Here is an example from McDonald’s: “To be the best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing exceptional quality, service, cleanliness and value, to put a smile on every customer’s face in every restaurant.
Vision Statement and Mission Statement: What’s the Difference?
Vision and mission statements are essential to strategic planning. They complement each other, but they are not interchangeable.
A vision statement captures your future aspirations for the organization, while a mission statement clarifies what you are doing to get there. In other words, the vision statement talks about the future, while the mission statement talks about the here and now – specifically what is being done now to move towards the future.
Why should your small business have a vision statement?
Being able to capture your organization’s vision for the future in a clear and succinct statement offers a range of benefits.
1. Serves as a “north star” for your business
Your North Star is your beacon, your beacon of inspiration and hope. Your vision statement works much the same way. It guides and helps in decision-making. It keeps you focused and helps you regroup quickly in case you get lost.
2. Increases employee engagement
A good vision statement unifies employees. This encourages them to work together towards the same goals and objectives. This drives engagement as people get more invested in their work. In other words, it greatly facilitates the management of employees.
3. Attracts top talent
An inspiring vision statement has the ability to attract top talent because top talent seeks to work in organizations that align with their values and goals.
4. Defines company culture
Your company’s vision statement embodies what you stand for, which ultimately guides how employees interact with each other, as well as how they treat your customers.
How to write your own vision statement
Writing a vision statement that will inspire and motivate employees, and that they will believe in, requires a certain level of collaboration. Get as much feedback as possible from stakeholders and use collaboration tools like project management software to capture their ideas.
There is no “right” way to write a vision statement, but here are some general guidelines and best practices.
Keep your vision aligned with organizational goals
When writing your company’s vision statement, start with what you already have. Your organization’s goals guide decisions, actions and processes. Incorporate them into your vision statement.
Extrapolate key information from your mission statement
Your mission statement defines what you do and why you exist as a company. Use the information it contains to visualize where your business will be years from now.
Mention your competitors or draw an analogy
If you are a relatively new company, mention a brand that your employees can easily recognize or relate to. For example: “Become the eBay of the agricultural sector.
Your vision statement should be short and concise – ideally no more than one to three sentences. You want your employees to easily understand and remember it. But sometimes a few sentences won’t be enough to articulate your company’s vision. So feel free to write a much longer one, but keep this version for organizational use only.
Make the vision bold but achievable
Your vision statement should inspire your employees and your organization to improve. However, that doesn’t mean the vision has to be out of reach. It must be achievable, but not an easy target. It should give everyone a sense of accomplishment when achieved.
Examples of Popular Vision Statements
Reviewing several sample vision statements from popular companies may inspire you to create your own. So here’s a list, in no particular order, of when you’re ready to sit down and write your own vision statement.
To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where customers can find and experience anything they want to buy online.
Bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)
To be the company that best understands and satisfies the products, services and fulfillment needs of women – globally.
A world without Alzheimer’s disease.
Creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Connect with your friends and the world around you on Facebook.
We believe we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that doesn’t change.
To establish Starbucks as the premier provider of the best coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow.
Create the most compelling automotive company of the 21st century by driving the global transition to electric vehicles.
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use businesses to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Improve commerce for everyone, so businesses can focus on what they do best: creating and selling their products.
Capture your company’s vision of the future with an impactful statement that inspires
There’s a long list of things you need to do to start a new business, like starting an online store, for example. And if you’re not careful, your enthusiasm can quickly overwhelm you.
This is exactly why one of the first things you need to work on is your vision statement. Done right, it’s sure to keep you inspired even when the going gets tough.