Articulating a vision for your business is an exciting process. It's your chance to tell the world what your business will achieve. As a snapshot of your business in the future that everyone around you must be able to see, it's extremely important to communicate your vision as clearly as possible.
Vision vs. mission statement
Developing a fantastic vision statement is critical to drive business momentum.
A vision statement outlines what you want your business to become. It gives shape and direction to your long-term business goals. It reflects your unique values. As an image of how you want to be seen in five or ten years, your vision is something for your team to strive toward.
This high-level perspective will guide the people around you, including advisors, employees, customers, board members and vendors, by giving them reasons to work toward fulfilling your vision, i. Because the vision statement summarizes strategy, it should also make it easier for your marketing team to develop a clear competitive advantage that differentiates your brand.
- Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton's original vision of "Saving people money to help them live better" is echoed in the company's current tagline: "Save money. Live better."
By comparison, a mission statement describes what your business does best today. It's a picture of what the company is now. A good mission statement will communicate your business purpose, what your business does and whom it serves. To make sure people understand your business today and where it will be tomorrow, you should create both a mission statement and a vision statement.
For example, the mission statement for Harley-Davidson speaks about what the company does for customers:
- We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.
Read: Vision vs Mission for entrepreneurship expert Rick Spence's perspective on whether you need both.
Great vision statements
Your vision statement shouldn't be long and rambling—try to limit it to a sentence or a very short paragraph. It should be written in plain language, using carefully selected words that communicate purpose and excitement.
For your startup business, you should craft a vision statement that:
- Clearly describes what your business does
- States who your business serves
- Identifies an aspiration
- Touches on strategy
- Defines a timeline
- Names a geographic region
- Expresses company values
Using these elements, here's a sample vision statement for a fictitious business:
- "By 2018, Ace Website Design will advance the online success of 250 retail clients in Calgary by delivering fast, affordable and expert website development services."