Creating a vision statement for your business
When you’re setting up a business, there’s a few things you can’t get very far without. One of those is your vision statement. Once you’ve got your vision statement in place and you’re behind it 100 per cent, everything else will come more easily: your objectives; your brand voice and personality; the imagery you use; the products that you choose to develop or sell; and the people you choose to hire.
Mission statement vs vision statement
Technically, there's a difference between the two. A mission statement is a sharp, concise description of why your business exists and explains how you will get where you want to be. A vision statement looks beyond the here and now and describes where you want to take the company in the future.
Some companies have a vision as well as a mission statement, and others combine both into one, which is also fine. But, the great thing about a vision statement is that it will give you a glimpse of the future and what success will look like. It’s the sentence that will inspire you to keep heading towards your end goal and give everyone in your company (including you!) focus, clarity and direction.
As your business evolves and grows, you can adjust your vision statement, but staying close to it and reminding yourself of it often is a simple and effective way of keeping you honest and true to your master plan.
How to create your vision statement
When you’re creating yours, think about what the purpose of your business is. Why did you set up business in the first place? What problem were you trying to fix? What are you trying to achieve? What will success look like if you achieve everything you set out to do? Also think about who your target audience is and what you're trying to do for them. All of this should help you to shape your vision statement. Although it should be realistic, your statement should be ambitious, so that you have something to keep aim for each and every day. It’s a statement of success and passion, so keep it short, simple and full of purpose.
Use simple language
A good vision statement brings a company’s purpose back to its grass roots using really simple, concise words. Don’t over-complicate it by trying to mention every facet of your business or every service that you offer. The Walt Disney Corporation's vision statement used to be 'To make people happy'. Its vision goes above and beyond animation and theme parks; and its message was simple, strong and easy to for employees to translate into business decisions and behaviour.
Example vision statements
Ikea: To create a better every day life for the many people
Alzheimer’s Association: Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s
The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty
Richard Branson's thoughts on mission statements: Make it unique to your company, make it memorable, keep it real and, just for fun, imagine it on the bottom of a coat of arms. If we had to put ours on a coat of arms, Virgin's would probably say something like, "Ipsum sine timore, consector," which very loosely translated from the Latin means, "Screw it, let's do it!"
How to use your vision statement
Write it down and give it to anyone and everyone who represents your company. Put a condensed version near your telephone, on your laptop, near the kettle, in the bathroom – anywhere that will remind you what you're aiming for. Use it to brand your company and to shape the way that you do business every single day.