Creating a vision statement is fundamental to defining your brand’s identity and provides an aspirational goal for everyone in your company to pursue. But learning how to write a vision statement that is effective and inspirational can be challenging. To make it easier, download our free template and follow the steps below to create a vision statement for your small business.
Vision Statement Template Download
Writing a vision statement is essential for establishing your brand presence. To do this, outline the main components, answer questions to gather ideas about your business, and then organize your answers into a statement. After gathering feedback and benchmarking your competitors, your vision statement is ready to be finalized. For more guidance, download our template below—it will save you time and help you develop a vision statement to inspire your team and customers.
7 Steps for Writing a Vision Statement for Your Business
There are seven main steps to writing a vision statement, from identifying its components to sharing it with your team and customers. Also, as you work toward building a vision for your small business, keep in mind that getting feedback and input from employees, peers, and even customers can help you develop a more compelling vision statement than you could create on your own.
1. Outline the Components of Your Vision Statement
To create a vision statement for your small business, first outline all the necessary components. Vision statements describe your business’ aspirations for the future, usually in no more than a sentence or two. They include two main components: a bold, long-term aspiration, and the specific strategy or strategies you’ll use to reach it.
Take, for example, coffee brand Kaldi’s Coffee’s vision statement:
The statement clearly outlines the company’s main aspiration: to be recognized as a leading specialty coffee company in the country. Then, it immediately follows it up with the specific strategy they will employ to achieve that vision: by providing an exceptional coffee experience for customers and guests.
2. Answer Questions About Your Business
The next step is to answer questions about your business relative to the two main components. The first main question to answer is: “What do you want your business to become after several years?” Answers to this question could encompass things like market share, regional leadership, company size and scope, industry positioning, and so on.
Next, the second fundamental question to answer is, “What are the specific strategies you need to achieve to realize your vision?” The answers to this question should support your bigger vision, i.e., your response to your first question.
For example, if you owned a local car wash business, here’s how you might answer those questions:
- What do you want your business to become after several years? To become the number one most preferred car wash in the local area.
- What are the specific strategies you need to use to realize the vision? Providing affordable car wash services without sacrificing customer service excellence.
Your answers to these questions will be the basis for forming your vision statement. However, it’s also possible that you identified multiple potential answers to one or both questions. If so, brainstorming the answers you came up with can help you refine and further develop a vision statement for your business.
3. Brainstorm Answers to Your Questions
The next step is to consider your answers to the questions above. You can brainstorm by yourself or with others most knowledgeable about your business, such as your co-founders or team members. There are no wrong answers—keep gathering and thinking through ideas until you find the answers that feel most right for your business.
As you brainstorm, some things to take into consideration are:
- Your big overall aspiration for your company, and whether your business has the resources and means to achieve it
- If your vision aligns with your mission and core values
- Who your vision impacts (e.g., your community, your team members, the environment)
These factors can influence the answers that make up your vision statement. However, they should still anchor primarily on the two main guide questions.
4. Organize Your Answers Into a Brief Statement
Once you have definitive answers to the two main questions, the next step is to organize them into a brief and clear statement. Vision statements are most effective when they’re clear, concise, and easily understood, even at first read. Piece your answers to the two questions together to form a concise statement—ideally within one or two sentences.
Using the car wash business example above, here’s what a possible vision statement draft might look like:
The vision statement is clear and brief, answering the big-picture aspiration (to become the number one preferred car wash in the community). It also outlines the strategies it will use to pursue the vision (consistently excellent experiences and affordable services).
5. Benchmark Competitors to Differentiate Your Vision
With your summarized answers, you’ve essentially written the first draft of your vision statement, which you can edit and polish to produce a final version. However, before moving onto the editing stage, an essential step for how to write a vision statement that lasts is to benchmark your competitors.
This is a valuable step, as your vision statement, along with your mission and core values, are the pillars that make up your brand identity, and you’ll need to create a unique one to stand out from the competition. Identifying what makes your brand unique can also help you identify unique selling points to use throughout your marketing.
For instance, using the same car wash example, assume there are other car wash businesses within your community with similar goals. A good way to differentiate your business would be by offering personalized services. This factor would then also be reflected in your vision statement.
By adding the word tailored, you explain that customers can personalize their choices. A differentiator like this creates customer affinity and loyalty, resulting in repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations.
6. Gather Feedback & Edit
The next step in learning how to write a vision statement for a business is gathering feedback about your draft version and editing it accordingly. Feedback is particularly important. Your vision statement tells everyone, from your team members to your customers, what your brand aspires to be. So your vision must be clear, easy to understand, and compelling to others.
Here are some questions to ask to gain feedback about the vision statement you created:
It’s a good idea to gather feedback from a wide variety of people. Run your vision statement with your team members, representatives of your target audience, or even fellow business owners. You want to be sure that your vision statement is understandable to any and all readers.
Moreover, in the editing process, you’ll also need to keep your vision statement aligned with your mission statement and core values. Make adjustments as necessary to ensure that your vision, mission, and values all correlate with each other and point to the same overarching goal. We’ll discuss more about how these three pillars interact with one another below.
7. Finalize & Share Your Vision Statement
Once you’ve edited your vision statement and run it through feedback and editing, you’re ready to create a final version and share it with the world. Share your vision statement internally through company documents like company handbooks, offer letters, or presentation decks, and to customers via marketing materials like press kits, business cards, and even on your small business website.
What a Vision Statement Is
A vision statement outlines the long-term aspirations of a business. While the mission statement covers the “why” behind a business, and the core values determine the “how,” a vision statement answers the “what.” In other words, what the brand will ultimately become by successfully fulfilling its mission using its core values.
Key takeaway: Vision statements answer the question: “What do you want your business to become in the future?”
Your vision statement guides your company’s progress and ensures it grows in the right direction. It represents an ideal end goal for your business to work toward and acts as a source of motivation and inspiration. Finally, it provides a framework for strategic planning, which is especially helpful in the beginning stages of starting a business.
Vision Statement vs Mission Statement
Vision and mission statements have a few notable distinctions, and the primary difference lies in the question they answer. A mission statement answers why your business ultimately exists, aka the purpose or driving passion behind what the business does. A vision statement explains what you want your business to grow into over time.
Still, despite their differences, mission and vision statements are directly interrelated, and the best ones work seamlessly with each other to support a common goal. Here are some other key differences between vision statements and mission statements:
Vision statements are also different from your brand positioning statement, which outlines how your brand stands out in the marketplace, what differentiates you from the competition, and what your ideal customer looks like. Learn more with these famous brand positioning examples.
Relationship Between Vision, Mission & Core Values
Your vision statement is an integral part of your brand identity, along with your mission statement and core values. Together, these three core pillars define your business and guide you towards success.
Each addresses a different area:
- The vision statement defines what the business aspires to become
- The mission covers the purpose of the business
- Core values explain the principles that guide how your business operates in pursuit of the mission and vision (see examples of core values for businesses)
While they cover separate areas, your mission, vision, and values should all be working in harmony with one another and point to the same overall destination.
Do’s & Don’ts for Creating a Vision Statement
While each small business has a unique aspiration, there are a few key traits that the best vision statements have in common, as well as best practices. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to follow as you create a vision statement for your business.
- Do keep it relevant to your mission: It’s essential that your vision statement directly correlates with your mission. Your vision statement should depict the ideal outcome or end result from achieving the goal expressed in your mission statement.
- Do make it inspirational: The primary purpose of vision statements is to provide an aspiration or ideal for your entire organization to work toward achieving. As such, it should appeal to team members and motivate them to achieve the vision.
- Do provide a challenge: Good vision statements balance being ambitious while staying grounded in reality. When writing a vision statement, consider your big ambitions vs your business’ resources and capabilities, and find the right challenge that meets both factors somewhere in the middle.
- Do highlight what makes your brand unique: Express traits that make your brand unique to help it stand out from the competition and give customers a reason to choose your business. Whether it’s specializing in a particular niche, offering a unique product or service, furthering a specific advocacy, or differentiating how you do business, highlight your unique characteristics in your vision statement.
- Don’t be vague: It’s great to have big aspirations, but the most effective vision statements have specific and descriptive details. These details also help you benchmark your progress and success later in your journey.
- Don’t make it complicated: Your vision statement makes the most impact when it’s clear and easy to understand. When writing a vision statement, use simple, everyday, no-frills language, and stay clear of industry jargon or complicated words. Keep it simple, concise, and straightforward.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a vision statement in simple words?
In simple words, a vision statement is a short description of what a business will become by fulfilling its mission. Vision statements should be clear and inspirational and define what you want your business to grow into in the future. They’re also a fundamental part of brand identity that can be used to guide future growth.
What are the parts of a vision statement?
The primary parts of a vision statement are your business’ long-term aspirations and the strategies you will use to achieve them. While these are the vital parts of a vision statement, other factors you can reference are the communities or people your business impacts and the time frame in which you aim to fulfill your vision.
What is an example of a vision statement?
An example of an effective vision statement is Amazon’s: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.” It’s clear, concise, and ambitious, effectively illustrating what the company aspires to be across various fronts.
Another good vision statement example is Foliée’s: “To elevate wellness and skincare for all by creating and providing exceptional quality, pure, organic plant-based products that are good for us and good for the planet.” It outlines the brand’s long-term aspiration and the company’s strategy to pursue it. For more examples, visit our list of the most inspirational vision statements from small businesses.
Learning how to write a vision statement for your business is key to shaping its future and helping lead you to success. By representing an ideal outcome for your business, it acts as a source of guidance and inspiration for your entire company, directing everything from internal strategic decisions to everyday tasks. Finally, it’s also integral to your overall brand identity and sets your brand apart from competitors.