A vision statement for a company or organization focuses on the potential inherent in the company's future; it’s about 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. The vision statement is a description of the "what," meaning, what the company aspires to be.
Best Examples of a Vision Statement
Even with a good definition, it can be difficult to clearly understand the concept. What is a vision statement? These statements made by some of the world's most innovative and successful companies will help you understand:
"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 Business Insider).
"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 on Facebook)
"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 as reported by GeekWire)
“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.” - (As reported in The Boomerang Principle)
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” - (As stated on Pagagonia.com)
“To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.” - (As stated by The Walt Disney Company)
Vision Statement Ideas to Inspire
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. 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.
The vision statement helps the organization simply define its goals, creating something to work towards in the future. Often your vision can be summed up in one or two sentences, as in these examples:
- To help people stay fit and healthy.
- To have our product in every home in the United States.
- To help people enjoy life by offering an affordable solution to health care.
- To provide delicious, seasonal food and a fun atmosphere that will bring customers back again and again.
- As we move towards our goal of being a world-class university, we will support research on a global scale. Locally, our campus will service the research needs of the learning community, granting access to many informational resources.
- The XYZ Company will inspire its employees to be the best they can be. We will engage in sustainable practices and anticipate the needs of our customers. We will maximize return to the stockholders while still maintaining quality in our products.
- Our vision is to bring our students into the 21st century through innovation and modern technology. Learning will be enhanced with computer software and educational games that will allow students to proceed at their own rate according to their ability.
To further help you, we've broken down the vision statements for two potential businesses.
Sample Vision Statement for an 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).
Sample Vision Statement for a 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.
Writing a Good Vision Statement
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. Writing a vision statement has a lot in common with writing a mission statement, but it’s about describing your vision for the future.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Keep it short. A typical vision statement is brief and succinct; it will say a lot in just a few words, so those words must be very carefully chosen.
- Think long term. The key to a good vision statement is to think of things in a long-term, broad sense, but without sounding generic.
- Don't be too specific. If you are, you will limit your vision, and it won't be applicable five years down the road.
- Be clear about your company. The best statement will be clear about who you are as a company, as well as who you wish to become.
Your Vision for the Future
You can use these same principles for creating a vision statement for a company or business to make your own personal vision statement. Ultimately, whether you’re a company or an individual, it all comes down to connecting your statement to your core values and your vision for the future.