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Why Every Entrepreneur & Small Business Needs a Good Company Vision Statement

What Is a Company Vision Statement?

A Company Vision Statement is a short inspirational declaration about what you hope the world will look like as a result of your company’s existence. It emotionally connects companies with customers, business partners, investors, and communities.

Entrepreneurs have ideas that they believe can improve people’s lives. That’s why they dedicate themselves to building a business to do just that. It’s important to remember that building a business isn’t just about marketing your products and services, you also need to sell your vision of a better future. That’s where your company’s vision comes in.

Creating a vision statement is a way to present the heart of your business to the world. It also helps align your leadership team and employees around the idea of contributing towards something bigger than just selling products or services.

What is a company vision statement?


A company vision is a simple statement about what you want the world to look like as a result of your business operations 10, 20, 30 years out. It’s a way to showcase the hopes and dreams of your business. It helps you envision how your company will enhance humanity. It’s a way to take what inspires you to ensure that your business is always operating in a way that is aligned with that vision.

Here are a few examples of vision statements you may recognize:

The Alzheimer’s Association: A world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia

Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy

Ben and Jerry’s: Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way

Charles Schwab: Helping investors help themselves

Nike: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world

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Your vision statement should display your passion for the work that you are doing. Creating a short vision statement makes it easy for anyone in your company to repeat it. It’s an integral part of your company culture that helps your employees work together.

How is a company vision different from a mission statement?


Many companies have both a vision statement or a mission statement. Some combine the two or only have a mission statement. It can get a little murky but we recommend having both; one that captures the future you want to achieve and the other to accomplish your goals right now.

Another way of putting it is that your mission tells the world what your business does in the present, while a vision is about what you hope to achieve through executing that mission in the future. Your mission is what creates passion, your vision steers everyone in your organization in the same direction.

Ultimately, a mission statement is about your company’s objectives and how you will attain those objectives. A vision statement is how you want to affect the future. A mission statement is the “how” and the vision statement is the “why”.

Why is a company vision important?


Small business owners can fall into the trap of only planning a year or two out. But putting off creating your vision statement, or skipping it entirely, can impact your growth and even recruitment of good employees. Your vision is part of the foundation upon which you build your company’s culture and values.

Who’s the audience for a vision statement?


Company Vision Statement Stakeholders - Customers

Customers

While some customers are simply looking for the lowest price, more and more are becoming conscious consumers of brands that represent their vision of the world. To these customers, it’s important that your business goals align with their own values.

Company Vision Statement Stakeholders - Employees

Employees

Employees look to the vision statement as a way to motivate them and guide them during challenges. Your vision statement can attract skilled hires who want to contribute to something they believe in.

Company Vision Statement Stakeholders - Business Partners

Business Partners

Businesses are making conscious choices about who they work with as it reflects on their brand. With media scrutiny and social advocacy on the rise, companies are evermore compelled to ensure that their business partners are equally aligned.

Company Vision Statement Stakeholders - Investors

Investors

Increasingly, investors are putting their money where their mouth is. They’re investing in their own vision for the world. Beneficiaries of large investors like pension funds and sovereign funds are speaking up too.

Company Vision Statement Stakeholders - Community

Community

A business doesn’t just provide jobs for the communities that operate in, they influence and shape these communities as well. It’s important that business goals align with how communities envision their own future development.

Once you’ve created your vision statement, make sure that you leverage it effectively or its meaning will fall flat. As a leader, you should discuss your vision continuously to help your executives and first-line managers assert why the vision is important and how you are building towards it.

Looking towards the future has a big impact on innovation. If your employees feel like your company is stuck in the past, and unwilling to change, they won’t believe in the seriousness of the vision that you’re selling. They won’t be able to see the future benefit of their hard work.

How do I write a company vision statement?


Make it a collaborative effort. If you’re a small business of 5 people, it’s reasonable to include everyone in the brainstorming sessions. If you have dozens of employees, include leadership roles and a representative from each department.

One way to kick off discussions is to host workshops in which your team creates different versions of the vision statement; then collect feedback from the rest of the company. While the ultimate decision may be made by your founding team, there is a lot of tribal knowledge that your employees can offer based on common themes and their daily relationship with your customers. Don’t discount their on-the-ground advice. If they can’t incorporate the vision or mission statement into their daily work, then it probably won’t resonate.

Your vision should work within the following framework:

    • Aligns with company goals: Your long-term goal may be to surpass your biggest competitor and become the leading provider in your industry. What are some shorter-term goals that will help you get there?
    • Highlight your values: If you own a sporting goods store, you value exercise and supporting youth sports teams. You may also value things like discipline, motivation, and perseverance.
    • Look to the future: If your vision is too closely aligned with current processes and trends, it won’t be so relevant in 20 years. For internal planning, set milestones towards that goal to make sure you’re on track in 5, 10 and 15 years.
    • Keep it short and direct: It’s challenging but brainstorming with your colleagues will help distill your message into one or two sentences.

What makes a company vision statement effective?


Living your vision statement is a continuous exercise. At no point should you put your vision behind you. If you’ve accomplished your goal and unseated your competitor to be the leading company in your industry, congratulations! It sounds like it’s time to create a new vision.

In the meantime, here are a few best practices to ensure that your vision statement operates as the driving force in your business, and not just a passing thought.

    • Integrate the vision into your company, team, and individual goals. Offering recognition to employees who accomplish the goals you’ve set is a great way to encourage and acknowledge their hard work. Recognition can include anything from a shout-out in company wide channels (like, email, slack, during all-hands calls, or in team meetings), to financial incentives like gift cards. You can even gamify the process by offering competitions and incentives that track individual and team progress.
    • Share success stories with your employees, customers, investors, and media outlets. Success stories show everyone that you value your employees’ contributions to the company vision. Stories can include how an employee went above and beyond for a customer in need, or how they signed a new client that is working towards a related vision.

How to Create Your Own Company Vision Statement


Smartsheet offers a simple and helpful worksheet for building a vision statement. First, try answering these questions yourself. Next, loop in your colleagues and workshop ideas:

    1. What do we want our organization to look like? What is the culture, ethos, or mood?
    2. Where are we going?
    3. What can we realistically achieve?
    4. What words or phrases depict the type of organization and end-goals we want?
    5. Draw or insert a picture that represents the vision for the organization (optional).

Jim runs a personal training and fitness gym. Currently, he has one location but wants to expand nationally.

Jim wants his business to be a supportive environment where people can come and receive the encouragement they need to live a healthier life. His gym culture is uplifting, non-judgemental, energetic, and positive.

Jim developed a unique exercise program to help his clients lose weight and gain muscle strength. He wants to see his program become one of the most popular exercise models in America.

Jim’s fitness center can realistically grow into a franchise with a location in every state within 10 years.

Effective, fun, fulfilling, life-changing, sustainable, committed, impactful.

    • To become the most popular exercise program in America.
    • To make America love going to the gym.
    • To foster strength and health through fun and sustainable exercise.

Luciana is an interior decorator who believes that having your dream home shouldn’t cost a lot of money. She created software that let’s her virtually decorate a customer’s home.

Luciana wants to encourage people to explore new ideas without worrying about spending too much money. Her company’s culture is bold, values individuality, joyfull, and creative.

Luciana’s software includes images of furniture, artwork, flooring, and accent options from local businesses. She wants to work with customers worldwide and encourage sustainable purchasing.

Luciana’s interior design business has low overhead, but creating relationships with local businesses across the world will take time. Realistically, she can have customers on every continent within 4 years.

Dream home, custom designs, local, sustainable, affordable, bold, creativity.

    • To make every home into a dream home.
    • To make affordable and bold interior design accessible for everyone.
    • To create a world where everyone feels at home.

Priya recently opened a retail bakery that serves vegan pastries, cakes, and sandwiches. She only uses locally sourced ingredients.

Priya wants customers to know that vegan food can be delicious as well as good for the environment. Her bakery’s ethos is about healthy living, being environmentally friendly, supporting local growers, and avoiding animal cruelty.

Priya has a vegan version of most popular baked goods. She wants to be the most popular local bakery for breakfast and lunch in the Bay Area.

There are other, more established, popular bakeries in her area that she must compete with. However, they don’t list their ingredients and where they are sourced. She thinks she can capture the millennial and Gen Z market in the Bay Area fairly quickly with the right marketing.

Local, save the environment, vegan, cruelty free, nourishing, transparent, save the economy, modern, healthy lifestyle.

    • To save the environment through delicious and nourishing food.
    • To help people buy locally and sustainably.
    • To put delicious vegan baked goods on every table in the Bay Area.

The Best Company Vision Statement Examples


Patagonia Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Patagonia

"Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."

TED Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

TED

"Spread ideas."

Zoom Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Zoom

"Video communications empowering people to accomplish more."

TED Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Netflix

"Becoming the best global entertainment distribution service. Licensing entertainment content around the world. Creating markets that are accessible to filmmakers."

Southwest Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Southwest Airlines

"To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline."

Avon Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Avon

"To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally."

Disney Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Disney

"To make people happy."

Ben & Jerry's Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Ben & Jerry's

"Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way."

Asana Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Asana

“To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.”

Robinhood Logo - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

Robinhood

"To democratize finance for all"

TOMS Shoes - Best Company Vision Statement Examples

TOMS

"We believe in a future where all people have the chance to thrive."

Share your vision with the world


Refining your company vision statement into one or two sentences can be a difficult exercise. Yet the payoff of taking a moment to distill your dreams into an ultimate goal will guide you on the path towards success and help your business avoid stagnation in the future.

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A special high five to Tahera Ali Khan for her outstanding research and contributions to this article. We love working with and supporting like-minded entrepreneurs. Thank you Tahera! ❤️

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