A vision statement for a company or organization focuses on the potential inherent in the company's future, or what they intend to be. While a vision statement might contain references to how the company intends to make that future into a reality, the “how” is really part of a mission statement, while the vision statement is a description of the “what,” meaning, what the company apsires to be.
When looking for the best examples of vision statements, consider these statements made by some of the world's most innovative and successful companies:
"We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that's not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well."- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Computer (Quoted on CNN Money.com).
"Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company. At PepsiCo, we're committed to achieving business and financial success while leaving a positive imprint on society – delivering what we call Performance with Purpose." (Quoted from PepsiCo.)
"Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online." (Quoted from Amazon.com)
"Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world. Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge infused with artificial intelligence (“AI”)." - (Quoted from Microsoft Annual Report 2017)
Now that you've seen some inspiring examples of vision statements from real companies, hopefully you're starting to get ideas for your own vision statement. Let's see if we can get some more ideas bubbling.
Vision statements don't have to be as grand as those above. Small local companies might simply aspire to have the friendliest customer service in town or offer the freshest, locally grown produce. Often your vision can be summed up in one or two sentences.
In each of these examples, the vision statement helps the organization simply define its goals, creating something to work towards in the future.
To further help you, we've broken down the vision statements for two potential businesses.
Online Retailer: “We intend to provide our customers with the best online shopping experience from beginning to end, with a smart, searchable website, easy-to-follow instructions, clear and secure payment methods, and fast, quality delivery.”
From this statement, you can clearly tell that this company is an online retailer. You can also tell they have put a lot of thought into their goals. They don't simply say that they want to be “the best” online shopping site – they give a list of ways in which they intend to do that. This is a quality vision statement because it outlines the specific future they intend to create for themselves, but it doesn't give specific steps on how they will do it (better saved for a mission statement).
Hair Salon: “Our salon will change the way you think about a haircut. Full service comfort, friendly staff, a relaxing atmosphere, and the best prices in town give you an experience that will leave you glowing both inside and out.”
Again, it's clear from this vision statement what type of business is behind it. It also gives a good, clear list of goals, without being too specific or wordy. It paints an overall picture of a pleasant, successful business that the company hopes to become. Since the vision statement isn't just a vision of your future – it's also a vision you're presenting to your customers about who you are – it's important that it do just that.
Looking at these different vision statement examples should give you a good jumping off point for knowing what a vision statement is and how to write one. Vision statements can be a challenge for many people because they aren't sure what form the statement is supposed to take, so let's recap:
Now you can see that writing a good vision statement isn't difficult. Think about what your organization does and what, in an ideal world, you would like it to do and how you would like to appear to the outside world. Consider the services and attributes that you provide, then imagine how it would be if you provided the very best version of them possible. List those visions, and incorporate them into a brief statement that gives a good overview of the kind of image you want to represent.
Understanding your goals and being able to state them clearly is the first step toward making them happen.