A vision statement is a crucial foundational component of any business as
It clearly describes the company’s direction by outlining the objectives and goals for the near future. It’s similar to a list of resolutions, but at a company level.
A vision statement also helps employees and business partners understand the business’ actions, making the work everyone does much more meaningful.
Vision statements are important because they improve employee engagement by providing meaning to their work. It also causes a more positive community response, as the employees will become ambassadors of the organization, and the community will become more engaged, ultimately leading to tremendous success.
Vision Statement vs. Mission Statement
A vision statement is quite different from a company’s mission statement. A mission statement is focused more on the present, describing everyday operations and giving a purpose to the company. The mission statement explains why the company or organization exists.
However, a vision statement focuses on the future by outlining the goals the business hopes to achieve. The vision statement should explain how the organization will be fulfilling its purpose. It should inspire both employees and community members to take action and accomplish their goals.
While the two concepts may be connected, a vision statement is a vision describing how the company will look in the future. If a company has a mission (a purpose), it should also have a vision of how it will serve that purpose. These concepts are essential to any successful business, but the vision statement should function as the North Star, guiding the organization to success.
How to Craft a Vision Statement
Crafting a vision statement isn’t as complicated as it seems. It just takes a few steps and some reflection. The best thing to do is to get together a team of individuals within the business who will represent all the different aspects of the company.
Then, you can include the following steps in the drafting process:
Identify your organization’s goals
The first step in writing a vision statement is to identify your company’s goals and ambitions. You should think about what, specifically, you would like to achieve. Think of the larger goals your organization has, not just small ones. You want to concisely describe your overarching goals as a company and what you would like to achieve. Next, speak with your team members to determine what you and your team would like to accomplish.
Project five to ten years into the future
Think about what you would like your business to look like in five or ten years and what that would entail. For example, if you would like your company to have twice the profits, you should think about how you could get there. Maybe this means you could be selling a different product or offering your services to a different area.
A common way to calculate your projections is by doing a gap analysis. In other words, compare your current state to the desired state of affairs. This type of analysis helps give you a more solid idea of how much work needs to be done, thus allowing your company to have a more precise vision statement overall.
Determine your purpose and position
To determine your purpose and position, you should consider three main elements: objective, advantage, and scope (OAS). Your company’s objective should answer the question, “Why does this organization exist?“. The objective should be the purpose of your company or business.
To know your company’s advantage, ask yourself, “What sets this company apart from the rest?” and “How does this company do things better than others?“. These two questions combined will give you an idea of your advantage over other companies.
Finally, the scope of your company tells you exactly what services you should and shouldn’t provide. Raise the question, “What should/shouldn’t we do to achieve our goals?“. By answering these questions, the OAS will allow you to define the purpose and position of your organization more concretely.
Describe what success looks like
You should be able to describe what success should look like for your business concisely. For example, finish the statement, “I will be successful if …“. This statement should be short and precise, outlining what makes you different from others. By doing this, you’ll be able to make sure that everyone on your team is working towards the same goal.
Since having a vision statement is to inspire your employees, it’s essential to gain their feedback on these goals. By reaching out to your team for feedback, they’ll be more motivated by being involved in the process, and they’ll be able to give you helpful insight that you may not have considered.
Research others’ statements
It will help research other businesses ‘ statements inside and outside your industry. This will give you a better idea of a successful vision statement. Additionally, by checking out the statements from other companies in your industry, you’ll be able to draft one that stands out from the competition.
Describe a specific vision
Your final vision statement should be a particular and concise goal or objective that you wish to accomplish. Many companies prefer using a “to be” statement that explains exactly what they hope to do.
For example, a tech company may choose to write,
“To innovate our community’s ability to have equal access to information”.
This makes the statement very clear and precise.
Examples From The Professionals
Here are some vision statements from well-known organizations to inspire you in the writing process:
Together, we fight inequality to end poverty and injustice.Oxfam
We reimagine the way the world moves for the betterUber
To live and deliver WOWZappos
Using our unlimited passion for technology, content and services to deliver groundbreaking new excitement and entertainment.Sony
Making commerce better for everyoneShopify
To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.Google
To end Alzheimer’s and all other dementiaAlzheimer’s Association
Teach for America
To Address the Social-Emotional Needs of Students and TeachersTeach for America
To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.Microsoft
Australia Department of Health
Develop and deliver policies and programs and advise the Australian Government on health, aged care and sport.Australia Department of Health
Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.LinkedIn
To help build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams.ford
To create a better everyday life for the many people.Ikea
Cradles to Crayons
Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.Cradles to Crayons
We’re In Business To Save Our Home Planet.Patagonia
Become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations.American Express
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.Tesla
To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.Honest Tea
Life is Good
TO SPREAD THE POWER OF OPTIMISMLife is Good
Building healthier communities by connecting people to real foodSweetgreen
Basic Do’s and Don’ts for Writing
To draft an outstanding vision statement for your organization, you should try to follow these best practices:
The Must To-Be-Done
It should be oriented toward the future: It’s crucial to aim your vision statement toward the future. You can do this by imagining the state of your organization five to ten years in the future to determine the impact you want it to have. This gives a clear picture to your employees of what they are striving to achieve.
It should reflect the company’s culture and core values: Just as every company has core values fundamental to the organization, you should also have a vision statement that aligns with those values. Connecting the company’s culture to its vision statement helps ensure that employees stay motivated enough to continue working towards their objectives.
It should inspire others: A vision statement should inspire all those in contact with your organization. Stockholders and lenders should feel a connection with the vision, and it should excite your employees to continue their contributions. Your potential clients or partners are equally as important here; you want them to be motivated to engage with your organization.
It must show that you are unique: This goes back to the importance of researching and reflecting on your company’s core values. By comparing yourself to other companies and reflecting on your values, your vision statement should ultimately be fully aligned. At the same time, however, it’s essential to show why you are different from your competition. Thus, your vision statement should help explain why your organization is better than the rest.
It should aim at bringing benefits and improvements: Your vision statement should express goals and objectives that would bring about improvements to society.
For example, Microsoft’s vision statement is: “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.“.
As you can see, this highly successful vision statement clearly describes the objective and the benefits it would bring to society.
It should define a company’s reason for existence: The vision statement should also clearly identify why your organization exists. It should illustrate your company’s purpose and the directions it’s heading towards. In other words, what is the whole point of all this work you are doing?
Things Should Be Avoided
It should not be too long: You want the vision statement to be short and concise, just one or two sentences. People from inside and outside the company will read this, so it’s better to use engaging and emotional language rather than bland corporate jargon.
Don’t be afraid to dream big: Your vision statement should express how the world will change thanks to your organization, so don’t hold yourself back. Instead, imagine the best for your company and aim high. This is truly your organization’s moment to dream big and imagine what success would look like.
It shouldn’t lack an emotional connection: Your vision statement should be inspiring, so you need to develop a strong emotional connection with your reader. You want your stakeholders to get excited when they read your statement. At the same time, your employees should feel an emotional connection and desire to contribute to your goal.
Finally, creating a connection with your clients helps make them want to support you because they want to help you reach your goals. All of this is done through emotional language, so make sure not to skip this crucial segment.
It shouldn’t be unrealistic and impossible: While it’s good to dream big, you also want to be realistic with your aspirations. In other words, a vision statement that is too easily attainable might not inspire your team or your clients, but, at the same time, one that might seem impossible might seem frustrating to them.
If your team doesn’t see how their work is making considerable contributions to the desired outcome, they might become disillusioned and unwilling to continue working towards an unachievable goal.
It shouldn’t be lacking in aim and purpose: Your vision statement must have a precise aim and purpose that creates a sense of direction. Your employees will feel driven to work towards those goals by listing the specific outcomes you hope to achieve.
Additionally, if your organization’s sense of purpose is clear, your management team will be able to plan how to achieve those goals more efficiently.
Special Considerations for Your Vision Statement
Depending on the type of organization you’re running, you may need to adjust your vision statement accordingly. For example, a nonprofit charity will likely have a different vision statement from a local clothing brand.
Therefore, make sure to keep the following considerations in mind when drafting your vision statement:
Non-profit VS. For-profit organizations
A vision statement for a nonprofit and a for-profit organization will need to be quite different. Generally, nonprofits will describe an ideal world in their vision statement, while a for-profit organization will illustrate its place in the world.
For example, a nonprofit may describe a “just, inclusive society“, whereas a for-profit may want to “empower you to boost your creativity“.
Refer to your competitors
Suppose you are a small company or starting in a new niche. In that case, it may be helpful to reference very well-known organizations in your vision statement to develop a quick understanding of your goals. This allows the reader to comprehend what you’re trying to achieve immediately.
For example, if you are a small company that makes dog accessories, you could say you “want to be the Gucci of canine clothing“.
Tip: By comparing with a world-famous luxury brand, the reader knows what you’re trying to achieve right away.
Include a measurable goal
Including a measurable goal makes it easier to check if you are accomplishing that goal or not.
For example, you could write, “we want to be carbon-free by 2030,” “we want to double our client base by 2025,” or “we want to provide X number of jobs to the community by 2030”.
A clear, numerical goal may help your employees understand exactly what they are working towards.
A vision statement is a crucial part of any business. By detailing your organization’s goals and objectives, you can inspire your team, stockholders, employees, and customers. The vision statement should be aligned with your values and concisely explain what you hope to achieve with your organization.
By thinking carefully about your organization’s vision statement, you’ll be able to engage with everyone connected to it, allowing you to motivate everyone around you to help you achieve your goals.