Vision statements are an important aspect of creating a successful business. That’s why we’ve written about them so many times on Businessing Magazine, working hard to provide helpful tips like How to Create a Clear and Concise Vision Statement as well as offering Vision Statement Examples and Inspiration for those of you who like to see what other companies are using to hopefully stimulate ideas for your own.
However, regardless of the amount of information that exists on this topic, it’s still one area where a lot of small business owners still struggle. And, rightfully so. Determining your company’s vision, your future, isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
That’s why we decided to go one step further and reach out to some other small business owners to find out exactly how they created their vision statements. We wanted to know what they did, what inspired their finalized vision statements and made them easier to create. And, based on the very different responses we received, it’s easy to see why it can be so difficult to come up with your own. Each company owner seemed to use a unique strategy when putting their individual business’ vision into words.
We’d like to share three of them with you now in the hopes that maybe one of them will give you that “aha” moment in which you say, “That’s it! That’s how I’m going to create my vision statement!” We’ll also give you some tips as to how to take that particular strategy and use it craft a vision statement that will effectively direct your small business, its employees and customers for ages to come.
Option #1: Figure Out What Customers Love About Your Company, Products, and/or Services
Company Name: EVELO
Their Vision Statement: “Our EVELO electric bikes are thoughtfully-designed and masterfully-built. We strive to offer them at a fair price, deliver them directly to your door, and offer pre- and post-sale customer service that you can trust for years to come.”
Jonah Bliss, Content & Community Advisor of EVELO Electric Bicycles says that EVELO’s vision statement evolved by “talking with happy customers” about what makes them love and use their electric bikes. In fact, he also indicates that that’s how the company itself was originally started.
Bliss shared with us how EVELO’s co-founder, Yevgeniy Mordkovich, decided to build an electric bike so his wife would be more comfortable riding with him. This gave them the chance to reconnect with each other while doing something fun and healthy at the same time. Yet, when they’d take their rides, people would constantly stop them, curious about the bike and wanting to know where they could get their own. Thus, EVELO was born.
“So, just as our business was founded based on people wanting to find a way to reconnect with their active lives, to get back on bikes they once loved, to come up with healthier ways to commute and get around town,” says Bliss, “our whole ethos and vision statement flows from there.” Basically, what he’s saying is that they listened to their customer base, what they wanted out of their lives and how they wanted to feel, and then created a company vision that enveloped these same values.
You can follow this same type of approach by figuring out what your customers love most about you, your products, and services. Not what features they like, but what value they add to their world. You want to ask yourself: How do you make your customers’ lives better, happier, healthier, or whatever –er fits?
Once you identify this information, once you realize what you do to increase their quality of life, take it and use it as the base of your vision statement. Let it tell the rest of the world how you help your clientele transform their own lives.
By highlighting these particular areas in your vision statement, it does a couple of very positive things for you. First, it tells your staff where they should place their focus and emphasis, and where you want them to excel. Second, it also lets your customers know exactly what they can expect when they do business with you. It tells them what values you hold important, so they know in what ways you strive to go above and beyond your competitors.
Option #2: Ask Yourself “Why?”
Company Name: Converticulture
Their Vision Statement: “Everything we do, we believe in improving company culture. We believe in work environments that benefit everyone. Together we convert company culture so that you and your employees are excited to come to work. This creates scalable and sustained company growth, positively impacting employees, employers, shareholders and customers.”
Converticulture’s director, Lisa Guida, says that their vision statement came about a little differently than EVELO’s. She explains that they “began in several different places and then finally kept going back to the why?” This is reflected in their vision statement, as they explain that their “why” is to make people “excited to come to work” and the why for the business itself is all about “sustained company growth.”
Ultimately, Converticulture’s “why” revolves around creating a stellar work environment. And that’s something that is important to their employees, as Guida explains that, “All of us have worked at companies where we truly loved going to work. We believed in the vision, mission, the product, our service, and our teams. The success of all of it was dependent upon having a company culture that supports the strategy and delivers the vision.”
By using this method, by asking themselves “Why?” Guida and her team were able to come up with a vision statement that not only directs their future business decisions, but also one that “inspires hope, especially for companies about to experience tremendous growth. Hope that they can keep the culture that helped get them to where they are and even improve it to support the new challenges ahead.”
To put this particular strategy to use when creating your own vision statement, simply ask yourself why it is you do what you do or, better yet, why do you want to do what you do? If you have to, go back to your roots and remind yourself why you decided to start your business in the first place.
And now, however many years later, why do you get out of bed each and every morning? Why do you work long hours, constantly sacrificing for your company and missing important family events, only to get back home long after the sun has set?
It is answers to these types of questions that can help you craft your vision statement, as your “why” is strongly tied to not only where you came from, but also where you want to see your company years, decades, and centuries down the road. Essentially, once you find the answers to your why, that’s when you’ll also find your company’s vision statement.
Option #3: Think About What Your Small Business Gives
Company Name: Chanson Water
Their Vision Statement: “To honor God in all of our activities. To exceed customer expectations with our high-quality water ionizers and service. To provide jobs to the community as well as the best ionizer dealer program and support in the water ionizer industry. To give back 10% of the profits to community charities.”
As you can see, this vision statement is a little different than the previous ones in that it doesn’t just talk about the company, its employees, its shareholders, or anyone directly related to the business itself. Instead, it has a bigger vision. It also talks about giving back.
Nedalee Thomas, CEO of Chanson Water, says that “I came up with our vision statement through prayer and through the burning desire in my heart to give back to others. My desire is to inspire those who work with me and for me to understand that we have a purpose and it’s for giving to others.”
To Thomas, “giving to others” means many different things. It means giving the company’s customers greater health, giving their employees a job (and therefore a steady paycheck), and giving their dealers a business that allows them to earn a good income. And this is where the vision statement is different.
Thomas also shares that giving means donating profits to charities. This includes finding a way to help fund missionaries in other countries and providing jobs for people there, something she makes good on through a non-profit that she’s founded. It’s called Sparrow Waterhouse and they help many people, through activities like giving cancer patients water ionizers, along with working with other organizations and agencies intent on making the world a better place.
“The benefits are circular and a win-win for everyone along the chain,” Thomas explains. Everyone in the process receives something, some type of benefit from Chanson Water, which is what they wanted their vision statement to reflect.
If this is a strategy that’s appealing to you, just think about what your small business gives to the people that interact with it on a daily basis, as well as people who may be affected based on any of your actions. Consider all of the ways in which it helps others, whether it’s your staff, your community, or the world as a whole. Sometimes this requires thinking outside the box and recognizing the impact you make on a larger scale.
Including this type of information in your vision statement tells others the change you strive to create, the ways in which you want to leave your mark for future generations. By looking at what you’re doing to promote mankind right this moment, it gives you a better idea of what you can potentially accomplish in years to come.
These are just three options that other business owners have used to create their vision statements, hopefully helping you create yours as well. If you’d like to add to the conversation, please comment below. We’re all in this together, so if there’s something you’re doing that could help another struggling small business owner, we’d love to hear about it!
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a 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!