What Is a Vision Statement?
Don’t be afraid to dream big once you gather all the information and get down to writing. Don’t worry about practicality for now – what initially looks impossible could be achieved down the road with the right team and technologies. Work on shaping a vision statement that reflects the specific nature of your business and its aspirations.
How To Write A Vision Statement: Your Go-to Guide
If you can’t answer these questions, your organization is missing a critical foundational element: a vision statement. There’s a compelling case to be made that organizations that adopt a future vision—a shared goal or objective that extends beyond financial performance—outperform their competitors. If you haven’t already defined your own company’s vision, you could be hampering forward progress, or even worse, simply moving in circles.
But it’s never too late to develop a vision statement, and we’re here to help you get started. Below, we’ve outlined six steps for how to write a vision statement—and, more importantly, what to do with your vision statement once it’s complete.
Craft and carry out your unique vision and strategy with the help of our Strategy Execution Toolkit.
What is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?
Before determining your vision statement, you need to understand what it is not. It should not be confused with a mission statement. Those statements are based in the present and designed to convey why the business exists to both members of the company and the external community.
“The vision is about your goals for the future and how you will get there, whereas the mission is about where you are now and why you exist,” said Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global strategic marketing consulting firm. “The vision should motivate the team to make a difference and be part of something bigger than themselves.”
“While a mission statement focuses on the purpose of the brand, the vision statement looks to the fulfillment of that purpose,” added Jessica Honard, co-owner of North Star Messaging + Strategy, a copywriting and messaging firm that serves entrepreneurs.
Who shapes your vision?
The first step in writing a vision statement is determining who will play a role in crafting it. In a small business, it is simple enough to gather the insight of every member of the organization. In a larger operation, you may need to be more selective while still ensuring that you capture a range of employee voices.
To accomplish this, Brandon Shockley, director of research at branding and marketing firm 160over90, recommends hosting a series of workshops with key stakeholders who represent a cross-section of your organization. You can assemble teams to create alternate versions of the statement and receive feedback from the rest of the company.
Falkowski also suggests individual stakeholder interviews as an effective way to encourage candor among all invested parties and to gather real and honest feedback. Employees can identify common themes and describe the organization’s future in words or pictures as a basis for a vision statement.
Key Takeaway: The first step in writing a vision statement is determining who will play a role in crafting it.
Vision statement examples
Some vision statements are based on concepts of what the company hopes to be or achieve in the future. This can be a general statement focused on customers, or a position the company wants to hold within the industry. Below are a few examples of concept-based vision statements:
- BBC: “To be the most creative organization in the world”
- Disney: “To make people happy.”
- Google: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click”
- IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people”
- Instagram: “Capture and share the world’s moments”
- LinkedIn: “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce”
- Microsoft: “To help people throughout the world realize their full potential”
- Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”
- Oxfam: “A just world without poverty”
- Shopify: “To make commerce better for everyone”
- Sony: “To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
- TED: “Spread ideas”
- Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”
- Uber: “We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion”
- Whole Foods : “To nourish people and the planet.”
Quality-based vision statements
Other common vision statements are focused on internal goals. These include the type of products and services the company hopes to provide as they grow. Quality-based vision statements can also relate to company culture and operations. The following are some examples from actual United States companies in different industries:
- Amazon: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Avon: “ To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally.”
- Ben & Jerry’s: “Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way”
- Ford: “People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people’s lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.”
- IBM: “To be the world’s most successful and important information technology company. Successful in helping our customers apply technology to solve their problems. Successful in introducing this extraordinary technology to new customers. Important because we will continue to be the basic resource of much of what is invested in this industry.”
- McDonald’s: “To move with velocity to drive profitable growth and become an even better McDonald’s serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.”
- Nordstrom: “To serve our customers better, to always be relevant in their lives, and to form lifelong relationships”
- Starbucks: “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
- Warby Parker: “We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket. We also believe that everyone has the right to see.”
- Zappos: “To provide the best customer service possible. Deliver ‘WOW’ through service”