Creating a vision statement might sound like a bit of corporate babble, but these days setting out your company goals is as important for success as having a genuine passion for what you do.
A vision statement isn’t quite the mission statement you might’ve already heard of. While the latter sets out the purpose of your business, your vision statement describes its perfect future. It’s both aspirational and inspirational. (It’s worth noting however that ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ are often used interchangeably. Helpful, hey?)
Think of your vision statement as an exciting road map for your business. It should spell out what’s special about you and what the business is striving for, defining what you’d like to achieve in say, three, five or more years’ time.
It’s not just about describing your hopes and dreams though. A well-crafted vision statement can act as a reminder of what you’re trying to build in the future, and produce tangible business benefits in the short-term, from impressing customers and distinguishing yourself from competitors to simply sharpening your focus and drive.
In short, setting out your ideals of where you want to get to can be very persuasive – to your clients, your team and to any potential investors – and this can seriously boost profits.
So far, so good. But how do you go about defining a vision that’s exactly right for your business?
First, think about where you’d like to be in a few years down the line. What direction are you planning to take? What will you have achieved? Now’s not the time to be bland – it’s about thinking big, aiming high and letting your imagination run free.
If you need inspiration, one trick is to imagine your business being profiled on the news. What would you like to be recognised for in the future? Write your answers down and start to shape your vision statement from there.
Disney’s vision statement is simply ‘Make people happy’. Amazon’s is ‘to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online’. Other brands focus on competitors – Nike, for instance, famously created ‘Crush Adidas’ as its vision statement in the 1960s.
It’s not just the behemoths either. Take ZipCar for example, whose hybrid mission/vision statement is: “To enable simple and responsible urban living. We envision a future where car-sharing members outnumber car owners in major cities around the globe.”
There aren’t really any hard and fast rules to writing a compelling vision statement; some are one-liners, others can be several paragraphs. But it has to be right for your business, not anybody else’s. Choose your words carefully and above all, avoid long-winded sentences or yawn-inducing jargon.
Steer clear too of waffly or vague declarations that don’t mean very much, otherwise you risk sounding a bit silly. If you say that you want to achieve success – well, any business in the world could say that. It’s too broad. Creating a brilliant vision statement means being clear about who you are as a company as well as who you want to become.
On the other hand, being too specific can be a little stifling. If you’re aiming to open a new shop down the road in the next twelve months, well, yes, that’s a vision for the future but it’s too narrow in focus.
Once you’ve written your vision statement, don’t just bury it somewhere on your website – share it with staff and customers, ask for their thoughts and use it in internal communications like newsletters. Continually review it too – your vision statement isn’t set in stone but should evolve with your business.
Remember, it’s not difficult to write a company vision statement, but don’t underestimate the advantages of getting it just right. It can act as a solid foundation for all your strategic planning and you can use it to weigh up important business decisions – gauging whether new products or initiatives are right for the company, for instance.
So, tell us, what’s your vision statement..? Share in the comments below.
If you’ve been inspired to make some truly visionary stuff happen, you can build a site (or upgrade your existing Moonfruit site) by clicking the link below.
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