Most new small business owners think about a vision statement and then get on with ‘important stuff’. It’s a daunting task, it will define you companies trajectory in words. It will inspire you and remind you why you decided to embark on this journey of driving a small business into the future. Your vision will describe your company, it’s ideals, its present and most importantly its future.
Katie Trauth CEO of Untold Content says “A company vision statement reveals, at the highest levels, what an organization most hopes to be and achieve in the long term, It serves a somewhat lofty purpose — to harness all the company’s foresight into one impactful statement.”
What is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?
A mission statement describes the who, what and why of your business whereas a vision statement describes the desired long-term results of your company’s efforts. It’s an opportunity to put you wildest dreams on paper. For example, an early Microsoft vision statement was “A computer on every desk and in every home.”
Rather than the nitty gritty of your business, a vision statement describes your dreams for your company. “A vision is aspiration. A mission is actionable,” said Jamie Falkowski, managing director at marketing and communications company Day One Agency.
The first step in creating a vision statement is to determining who will have a stake in crafting it. Employees who are engaged in envisioning the goals and path of a company are much more likely to be productive and loyal employees. It is also important to remember that a vision statement is a document in flux, it is something that your business needs to revisit, even as much as yearly.
Obviously if you are a one person business, this is easy. If you have staff, maybe a partner, then holding a workshop is a good way of getting feedback and ideas form people in your business. Again, if people feel that they are being heard they’ll feel invested in the companies future. Encouraging them to identify ways they can incorporate the values of the vision statement into their day-to-day jobs is another important way to make sure that they will be more invested in the business.
When crafting your vision statement, it is a great idea to have a look at the vision statements of your competitors, and then to plan how to differentiate your business from your competitors. How will you do it different / better?
A vision statement is not a catchy byline. In order for everyone to remember it and to be able to understand it, your vision statement should be concise, no longer than a sentence or two.
These are a few of the questions clients can ask themselves to help identify their vision.
- In what way will my brand ultimately interact with customers and clients?
- What will the culture of my business look like, and how will that play out in employees’ lives?
- What ultimate impact do I want my brand to have on my community, my industry or the world?
A simple way to work out your vision is to create a vision board, a vision board could include all or some of the following information. Company’s tagline, a “who we are” statement, a “what we do” section, a business vision statement, an overview of your ideal clients as well as your content mission statement, advertising, products and SEO keywords (which will change fairly often).
Looking at your long term goals — how ever lofty they might be — and then asking ‘What will the world look like if we achieve our goals? That zoomed-out view of your success is really the heart of your vision statement.
JacciR Design Vision Statement is as follows: “We believe that every business is entitled to the opportunity to build — and have support for — their brands in a way that speaks of professionalism and success. JacciR Design therefore strives to deliver top quality design to women entrepreneurs at prices that reflects our commitment to building an economy built on small businesses who we believe to be the lifeblood of the economy.”
What will the world look like if JacciR Design achieves the goals set out in our vision statement? It’d be a place of successful women, contributing to their families and the broader community in a way that brings evidence of the strength of women in their families, their communities and in business.
Given the impact that a vision statement can have on a company’s long-term success and even its bottom line, it is worth taking the time to craft a statement that synthesizes your ambition and mobilizes your staff.
Some of my favorite vision statements are these, and they really managed to say it concisely:
Habitat for Humanity: “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
LinkedIn: “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
Oxfam: “A world without poverty.”
Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
TED: “Spread ideas.”
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