Creating strategies for your business takes time and dedication. As a business owner with many responsibilities, you may prioritize items that you deem profitable. And when you hear the term vision statement, it’s probably a task that many entrepreneurs write off as an unimportant step toward success.
However, this statement is one of the most vital items you can produce for your brand. A strong vision statement creates a concrete foundation for your company’s growth, motivates everyone connected to the business, and provides direction to make smart decisions for long-term success.
Continue reading for a step-by-step guide on how to write a strong vision statement.
Why Your Business Needs a Vision Statement
A vision statement is a key motivator behind your business’s success, according to brand strategist and motivational speaker Rich Keller. “It’s the desired future outcome you want to achieve with your company,” Keller told The Balance by phone. “Having the end goal means you can work backward and set yourself up for success.”
Research shows employees work harder when they feel connected to a bigger purpose, yet just about half (51%) of employed Americans say they get a sense of identity from their job, while 47% say their job is simply what they do for a living, according to recent data from Pew Research Center. With a vision statement, employees can get an idea of where your company’s brand is going, further building that connection between an individual and the business.
“The vision is emotional—it’s the Oz for the entrepreneur and what keeps the company moving forward,” Keller explained.
As the founder, you can be similarly inspired by the vision statement. “Great brands always begin with the end in mind. They have a vision of what they want the world to be and how their brand fits in,” Keller said.
By keeping your business’ end goal in mind, you can be more strategic in making decisions, leveraging the vision statement to build your company.
When Should You Write a Vision Statement?
According to employment site Indeed, if used correctly, a vision statement can be a vital tool while a company is growing and developing. The Indeed staff suggests treating it as a ruler used to measure and compare the company’s decisions and future successes.
With that in mind, it’s important to note that a vision statement can be created and implemented regardless of your business’s age or size. While starting your business off with a vision statement allows you to be aligned from the beginning, writing it years in will allow you to reset strategies and make smarter future decisions.
Five Tips to Create Your Company Vision Statement
A vision statement should only be a few sentences but have everlasting power in its meaning. This may sound like a lofty task to complete, but the five simple tactics below can help get you there.
Your business’s vision acts as a lens into the future, pinpointing the outcomes you are working toward. Dream big for your company and focus on the long term. “Write the vision statement in the present tense as though it has already happened,” Keller suggested.
This is a key principle of positive thinking, which has been proven to have both mental and physical health benefits. According to recent research from Johns Hopkins Medicine, people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress, and also have a higher likelihood of making better health and life decisions.
Imagine you are being interviewed years from now, speaking about your company’s success. Use these potential interview questions to start thinking big:
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- What is your company’s biggest achievement?
- In what ways have you impacted the community and industry at large?
“It's like answering the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ for your business,” Keller said. Answering questions that speak to massive scale allow you to visualize the future of your business and articulate your most audacious goals. If you need more inspiration to get started, here are a few vision statements from well-known brands:
- Tesla: “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles.”
- Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): “That the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness.”
Follow a Formula
You can be a visionary for your company by using a simple formula for how to write a vision statement. In a paper published in the Journal of Business Strategy, researchers Sooksan Kantabutra and Gayle C. Avery outline a few strategies for getting there. Consider these steps:
- Choose who will be a part of writing the statement. If you are an early-stage business, this will be you and any founding team members. If you are further along in your development, this could be a diverse range of team members.
- Answer deeper questions (such as the ones included in the previous section) to obtain a unique view of the future you hope for the company.
- Make it specific to your organization, using words and goals that would inspire the team. This shouldn't be a statement any company can use.
- Keep it brief—between 11 and 22 words—concise enough so that it can be remembered with ease.
This is a straightforward way to distill your business vision into a single message that shares the highest goals. Already have a vision statement? Run it through these steps and see if it still speaks to your company’s long-term aim.
Commit to and Interact With Your Vision
A vision statement creates the framework to ensure all your goals and strategies can ultimately become a reality. Give your vision statement prominent placement within the company workspace. You can do this by using it to open strategy meetings, kick off a new quarter, and encouraging employees to take ownership over it.
Your vision should be a living entity among your team, community, and industry. Once written, you need to actively commit to your vision, both internally and externally.
If your employees believe in your vision statement as much as you do, that passion will shine through to clients or customers. To get employees more involved with the concept, consider creating incentives by rewarding employees when you catch them embracing and exemplifying said vision.
Be True to Your Vision
“Visionaries can think of and have faith in the future. That’s who you’re encouraged to be when you write your vision statement,” Keller said. If you don’t have faith in your ability to achieve the vision, you won’t be able to find sustainable, long-term success. Your statement must reflect the greatest truth you can see for your business.
Writing your vision statement should force you to be both honest and audacious about how much you want to succeed. Ensure you are speaking to goals that are fundamental to your ambition and foresight.
Revisit Your Company Vision Statement Regularly
One of the most common misconceptions about vision statements is that they are created once in the company’s lifetime and never touched again. You are failing at living your vision if you don’t allow yours to grow and evolve with you and your business.
A vision statement is a living, breathing document that you should regularly revisit and revise. Once your company reaches the goals it has set for itself, look ahead and create a new pathway for success. Your statement needs to reflect your company’s current strategies, purpose, and goals. As you accomplish goals or pivot your brand, the vision statement must morph along with it.
The Bottom Line
Vision is not static—it changes over time just as you and your company grow. Use the above tips for how to write and revise your vision statement as frequently as needed.
Your company has big aspirations, and you should find excitement in writing those down for all to see. Your statement needs to reflect those big dreams to inspire you and your team, customers, and community to action.