Whether you’re just now starting your small business or you’ve been in business for ages and are rebranding or honing your goals down, creating a clear, concise vision statement can help. What is a vision statement?
Vision Statement Defined
According to BusinessDictionary.com, a vision statement is “an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future.” Put simply, it is where you want your small business to go in the next 5, 10, 50, or 100 years. It is essentially your “vision” for the future of your company. Why create one?
Ultimately, the purpose of having a vision statement is to help better direct you toward the goals you want it to achieve. It is to continuously remind you of what you’re trying to do as a company, making it easier to make decisions that are aligned with that vision, guiding you toward wherever it is you want to be.
Guidelines for Crafting an Effective Vision Statement
While your vision statement can be any length you want, many business professionals suggest that it be short and sweet, or clear and concise. Ideally, many suggest coming up with short phrases or, at a maximum, keeping it no longer than two sentences. Cascade, a business strategy company, suggests that it be “punchy and easily memorable.” Additionally, they also state that a vision statement should be:
- Focused on what makes your business different or more desirable than your competitors.
- Written in easy-to-understand language, avoiding jargon or professional terms that the everyday person wouldn’t understand.
- Lofty, so you appear energetic, yet realistic enough to show that you’re not just a dreamer.
- In alignment with the core values you’ve created for your company, making it consistent with your brand.
Time Thoughts, a company dedicated to helping people achieve career success, also suggests that it be stated in the present tense, include some level of emotion, and provide enough detail to help others envision exactly what it is you’re working to achieve.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Keeping all of these guidelines in mind when creating your own small business’ vision statement can certainly leave you feeling stunned and confused. So, to help you out with that, let’s take a closer look at what steps you can take in order to create your own.
Coming Up With Your Own Vision Statement
Coming up with a vision statement is fairly easy, but coming up with one that is clear and concise—therefore being more effective—takes a little more time. To do this, Mind Tools, a career enhancement company, suggests that you first focus on how your small business helps “improve people’s lives” or “make the world a better place.”
What does it contribute to the community or humanity as a whole? How does it make people feel happier, more fulfilled, more at peace, or generally more satisfied with their lives? What does it give back?
Next, Mind Tools indicates that you should list the values your company adheres to in order to do these things. Some options to consider include having a focus on transparency, honesty, excellence, appreciation, care, or generosity. If you’re not sure which values are most important to you, ask your customers and employees what values they recognize in your business. Live Bold & Bloom also offers The Ultimate List of Values, so you might want to skim it to see if any of them hit home with your specific business.
The third and final step offered by Mind Tools is to combine your company’s mission statement (which is a mixture of your unique selling proposition and your goals) with your values, thereby creating your vision. In other words, create a short statement that says how you’re different, what you intend to do, and what values will help get you there.
While coming up with a short phrase or sentence to sum all of this up may seem difficult, if not impossible, many companies have created vision statements that seem to fit all of these criteria.
Companies Who’ve Mastered Their Vision Statements
For instance, Safeway, a supermarket chain with stores located mainly in the central and western United States (other than the handful they have on the East Coast), has listed their vision as “We earn the loyalty of the people we serve through the talents and passion of employees.” Notice when reading this that you have a clear idea of what they want for their staff and customers alike.
Another one is Walgreens, the nationwide pharmacy chain that touts themselves as being “On the corner of happy and healthy.” Like Safeway, they have kept their vision statement short and concise, saying that what they intend to do is “to become America’s most loved pharmacy-led, health, wellbeing and beauty retailer.” Says it perfectly, right?
Now, create your own vision statement so the rest of the world knows who you are and what you intend to do. Be sure to use it to help you make all of your business decisions, ensuring that you continue to do what it is you set out to do when you started it…whatever that is.
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!