Your Vision Statement – You’ve written a mission statement, the next step is to articulate the vision of your business.
When you think about creating a mission or a vision statement, you are more likely to believe you should create one before the mission statement. Why? Because its human nature. We visualize or daydream about something before we attempt to materialize it or take actionable steps towards making it happen. However, for building a business, the process is actually the opposite. In business, you need a mission statement to clarify the what and why of your business. Read on to understand why the logical next step would be a vision statement.
Vision Statement or Mission Statement? Which Comes First
Depending on who you talk with, they will either agree or disagree regarding the mission-vision process. The conflicting suggestions, as to which come first, mission or vision are not unusual. I have to admit, when I first considered a mission and vision statement, I also believed I need to write my vision first. I didn’t realize the importance or goal of each. It was goal changing to learn that for the building blocks of a business; you need to understand the mission in order to create a vision. It’s understandable to think you need a vision statement in order to define your business mission, and learning more about the role of each helps to realize the opposite is actually more effective.
A mission statement summarizes the aims and values of a business. When you create a mission statement, you are determining the HOW. Think of it as answering questions such as.
- What exactly is it I do?
- Why do I do it?
- For whom?
When you can define your HOW and answer key questions such as the three above, then you can sit and develop a vision for accomplishing your clearly defined mission. Writing a vision statement is not simple. In fact, it can be daunting. It’s overwhelming because you are not just considering your company and its future, you are attempting to create a level of inspiration, motivation, and excitement about what you do and why you do it. Whether you are a company of one or a hundred, it’s not effortless to create a vision for your business that will compel you to do more than just hang a poster on a wall in your office.
Create a vision statement that will sharpen your goals and mobilize your efforts.
It epitomize the core value of your business and you can use it as a roadmap for where you see your business in the future. A well-crafted statement can affect the long-term objectives of a business and can determine the success of a business.
With a succinct, meaningful business outlook, you are more likely to be engaged and focused on achieving the success of your business. In fact, research shows you are more productive and more effective in your efforts to pursue your business goals. That is why it’s worth the effort to create a statement that bolster your efforts to achieve success.
Shaping your vision
Depending on the size of your business, the process for crafting a vision statement will be different. In a small business, getting the views of your employees is a simplistic process. In a larger business, you must be selective in capturing the range of voices and opinions that would contribute to forming a statement that benefits the business. For a middle to larger size businesses, greater options are available. A larger business would use resources such as workshops, individual interviews, and feedback from its employees.
Regardless of your size
But, let’s say you are not a middle to large size business or even a small one. Maybe you are a business of one, you are an entrepreneur. A vision of your business is just as relevant regardless of your size. A small, mid to large size business may have more options, an entrepreneur may need to be more contemplative. Either way, the outlook you create today will be your source of encouragement for growth tomorrow.
Use Your Mission Statement As A Framework
Even though creating a vision statement can overwhelm, it doesn’t have to be. To develop a powerful statement, use the information you already have. You’ve taken the time to craft your business’s mission statement, now use it as a framework for your vision statement. Another technique to consider is the same one I mention in my post on writing a mission statement. Study the vision statement of your competitors, or even the ones of those businesses you emulate. Notice what differentiates your business and theirs. Possibly what they are not focusing on in their statement that you would like to in yours. Here are three examples of noteworthy vision statement of companies you may recognize.
LinkedIn–“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
American Express–“Provide the world’s best customer experience every day.”
Alzheimer’s Association–“A world without Alzheimer’s and other dementia.”
Ikea – To create a better everyday life for many people
What do you notice about the vision statement of the companies above? They are short and concise. Usually a vision statement is no longer than two sentences. There are two reasons a vision statement should be brief:
- It should be simple enough to understand
- It should be memorable
While it is a good idea to be succinct with a vision statement, you may find that the one you created during your process is larger or more detailed. That the original is expansive is okay. However, you still have more work to do. Before you walk away from what you believe is the vision of your business, it’s a good idea to condense that paragraph or two into a sentence or two.
How to use your vision statement
While it’s nice to have your vision and mission statement on a visible wall to see every day, consider how to strategically integrate it into your business. Consider it a tool you can use to align and inspire you to meet your business goals. Place it on your website and stationary. Share it on social media. Whether you have one employee or fifty, even if you use independent contractors, or consultants, make sure they know and understand the value and vision of your business. Their actions and decisions should reflect your business’s vision.
Reviewing and revising is the norm
You spend a lot of time thinking, crafting, and molding the ultimate words of your vision statement. To now discover it should be revised and updated, may not be what you want to read. Before throwing in the towel and giving up, let me explain why you want to revise your vision statement as often as needed. There is only one reason or one word to consider.
Even if you don’t like it, The world will change, your industry will no doubt change. Large or small, you recognize that in order to succeed you have to grow with your industry. Even If you have to attend a conference, take a course, learn a new software, or communicate differently with your clients or customers, it doesn’t matter. You will do what it takes to grow your business and achieve success. Because of your willingness to keep up with the demands of your industry, revising your vision statement to adjust and keep up with the new norm is your aim. You rework your roadmap to see the success you can achieve in the future.
Tips to keep in mind when constructing your vision statement
- Align it with your business values
- Use clear concise words that free of idioms or slangs
- Write in the present tense
- Focus on the success of your business – see your success
- Project your success at least five years ahead
- Be inspiring and enthusiastic with the words you use
The Vision statement you create today won’t just guide all aspects of your business. It will also be the one constant reminder during the ebbs and flow of your business. If you are a small business or an entrepreneur, it will contribute to why you pursue your business every day. For mid to large businesses, it will be the reason employees double down on their efforts to meet the objectives of the business. Above all, the vision statement is a reminder that your goals are bigger than what you do every day.