How to Write a Vision Statement that Works
At the end of the day, every business owner wants their company to be profitable. However, this measurable success doesn’t come out of the blue. Strategic planning is a must for unlocking the full potential of your business — and the process starts with creating a strong vision statement that can lead you to success.
Whether you own a small business or lead a global corporation, your company likely has dozens or even hundreds of competitors. Standing out requires you to have a clear picture of where you’re headed as you write a business plan, summed up into one inspiring vision statement.
This article will show you how to write a vision statement that proves your business will impact your customers’ lives. We’ll also compare vision statements to mission and purpose statements, so you know how each contributes to the future of your business.
What Is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement describes the direction that you want to take your company in. Rather than telling your employees and target audience about what you currently do, a good vision statement will inform them about how your business will impact the world in the long run. It’s essentially a thesis statement that tells your audience your vision of the future, making the name extremely fitting.
Writing out your vision will help you make decisions that will truly lead you to your desired outcome. Your team members will be fully aligned on the same big picture goal. As your team problem-solves with a shared mindset, you’ll form and execute strategic plans faster than ever, increasing the productivity of your organization as a whole.
Vision Statement vs. Mission Statement vs. Purpose Statement
Vision, mission, and purpose are three of the most commonly confused terms in strategic planning. While they are related, each type of statement plays a distinct role in building the framework for your business.
Whereas a vision statement defines where you want to take your company in the future, your mission statement defines how you’re going to get there. Your company’s mission outlines what type of work you do, who you serve, and how you’re presently reaching your objectives. This actionable statement acts as a roadmap for accomplishing your company’s vision, which is more about long-term goals and aspirations — all the big picture stuff.
So where does a statement of purpose fit into your business plan? An effective purpose statement tells your audience about your organization’s current impact. Think about what value your business provides and how it improves your customers’ lives, all while you’re working to achieve your mission and vision. A good purpose statement is really all about why you exist in the first place.
To break it down simply from a team perspective, your vision statement inspires employees to move forward, while your mission statement leads to immediate action. Your company’s purpose defines why their work matters and helps you gain the competitive advantage.
How to Write an Effective Vision Statement
The majority of vision statements are concise phrases — often not even full sentences — that bring instant inspiration to anyone who reads it. For the sake of clarity, your final statement shouldn’t be written at any higher than a middle school reading level.
As you begin to brainstorm for your vision statement, think about what legacy you want to leave behind. If you already have a purpose statement, consider how your present impact will translate over a long time frame. For example, if your purpose is to help people in the United States meet their basic needs, the long-term outcome of this may be economic growth in the country. This can be the premise of your vision statement.
Overall, your vision statement should summarize your hopes for the future — though it shouldn’t be focused solely on your business. This statement should clue your audience in on why you provide the best product or service, as well as how you implement solutions to change people’s lives.
3 Great Vision Statement Examples
Having great examples of vision statements from successful companies can help you start brainstorming and get creative. As you read through the three high-quality examples that we’ve listed below, think about some keywords, writing styles, and other characteristics that you want to implement in your own vision statement.
“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
This vision statement example is a great representation of the impact that LinkedIn can create in the future. While the professional platform can be used for many different purposes, this vision makes it clear what the brand stands for and clearly shows they can help the greater community.
Consider this vision statement with LinkedIn’s mission: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” You can easily see how the present-day mission can lead them toward the fulfillment of their vision for the future.
“To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
IKEA’s vision statement is noticeably general, especially when compared to LinkedIn’s. It could apply to just about any industry, but it still acts as a clear goal for the business to achieve. Once paired with the company’s mission statement, which they call their business idea, you get a vivid picture of how IKEA can transform your life:
“To offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
This is a great example of how mission and vision statements can work together to help you achieve big goals.
3. Alzheimer’s Association
“A world without Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Alzheimer’s Association’s vision is one of the shortest you can find, but creates an extremely clear picture of where they hope to take the organization. The fact that it’s so bold actually emphasizes its power, showing that the group is here to completely eliminate Alzheimer’s, even if it’s currently in the research and prevention stages of doing so.
This vision statement also shows how nonprofit business entities can benefit from strategic planning. No matter what type of company you own, a vision statement can inspire your audience to take action, whether that action is donating or making a purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nailing down your vision statement, as well as your business purpose and mission statements, can help you build a customer-centric company that’s trusted and loved. Here are our answers to common questions, which may help you out as you’re forming your company vision:
1. Do I still need company values if I have a vision statement?
Absolutely. Core values — typically 5-10 words forming short phrases that define your company’s beliefs — play an important role in supporting your vision statement. While your vision offers a large end goal for you to achieve, your company values help you stay the course and continue to be the brand your customers know and love. They act as additional guidelines for your decision-making process and can shape your internal work culture even more than your vision does.
2. Do I need to share my vision statement publicly?
It’s not required to share your vision statement with the world. Many businesses only share their vision internally to keep their team members on the same page. Some might extend this to potential investors who want to know where the company is going. However, your vision can be a huge selling point for customers, so don’t underestimate the power of spreading the word about your end goal.
3. Is there a maximum length for a vision statement?
We recommend writing a vision statement that’s no longer than two sentences. However, as mentioned above, you’ll most often find vision statements are short phrases, so try to keep your vision as condensed as possible.
Communicate your future goals
In order for you, your leadership team, and your employees to take your business in the right direction, you need to be fully aligned on where you should go. Having a vision statement in place can help your team make the best decisions and remind them why the work they’re doing matters. When your customers know your vision, too, they may be more inspired to make a purchase.
Once you have your vision, mission, and purpose statements down, you can complete your entire business plan wisely. Grab our business plan examples for guidance during the process.