A vision statement is an aspirational statement made by a company that outlines long-term goals. A successful vision statement inspires employees and steers an organization’s efforts.
Behavioral statistician Joseph Folkman performed a research study on vision statements and how they can affect a business’s success. His 2014 study found that employees who think their organization’s vision is meaningful show positive engagement levels 52% higher than if they didn’t.
What that means is an inspiring vision statement causes employees to be invested in your company’s journey toward achieving your desired plans. Inspired employees inspire customers, and that passion will make your vision a reality.
Bottom line? Your vision statement is important when starting a business.
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement provides a brief description of a company’s long-term goals. It’s typically ambitious and communicates how the company plans to make a difference in the world. Think of it as a roadmap for making decisions that align with your company’s philosophy and objectives.
A good vision statement helps you:
- Inspire teams and keep them focused
- Connect with customers in niche markets
- Make smarter decisions
- Attract top talent
A vision statement is usually paired with a mission statement to guide planning. It doesn’t have a set length. You can craft a one-sentence statement or write a three-page document discussing the company’s future.
The goal of a vision statement is to differentiate yourself from competitors and focus efforts on achieving your objectives.
Vision statement examples from top companies
Your vision statement is unique to your company, but it’s useful to see how popular brands express their future goals. Here are 11 examples:
- Warby Parker
- Southwest Airlines
Vision statement: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
Tesla’s statement is focused on changing the car industry by fueling cars with sustainable energy. It is a sweeping goal, and one that caused Tesla to build one of the best car batteries ever created.
Taking it a step further, Tesla even released its patents in 2014 to encourage the movement to more sustainable transport in order to get closer to achieving its goal.
Vision statement: To serve our customers better, to always be relevant in their lives, and to form lifelong relationships.
Nordstrom’s statement centers on serving its customers for a lifetime. Its vision shows the company values its customers first and foremost and believes in high-quality service and constant improvement for the sake of those customers.
Vision statement: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
This statement communicates that Amazon wants to provide customers with anything they might want. Its aim is to build the company to be so expansive that any Amazon customer will never need to shop anywhere else again.
This ambition to become every person’s one-stop shop has turned Amazon into the leading global ecommerce market—with more than $469 billion in net sales in 2021, and growing every year.
Vision statement: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
The IKEA point of view includes initiatives on making its products in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. It also includes the support of human rights and animal rights.
It extends this idea of betterment to its employees by offering perks like four to six months of paid parental leave for all new parents (biological, adoptive, or foster).
5. Warby Parker
Vision statement: We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket. We also believe that everyone has the right to see.
Warby Parker started with the grand vision of innovating eyewear through social media. The brand used social media to advertise its products and raise awareness of the need for glasses and exams for people without access to these services.
Warby Parker’s vision statement conveys its belief that shopping for glasses shouldn’t be difficult or expensive and that everyone should be able to see. To that aim, it started the buy a pair, give a pair initiative. Every pair of glasses you purchase from Warby Parker will provide eye exams and glasses to those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them.
Vision statement: To use all of its resources to defend life on Earth.
Patagonia’s vision statement shows it’s in it for the long haul in protecting the Earth. It even commits “all of its resources” to the cause. Patagonia makes it clear our well-being is directly connected to that of the planet.
You can see Patagonia’s commitment to this vision statement by the 1% tax it imposes on itself. The brand takes 1% of all sales and donates it to environmental nonprofits. It also actively supports environmental activists. In fact, it even shut down all its stores and offices in September of 2019 so employees could strike alongside youth climate activists.
Vision statement: To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.
Disney’s statement declares its goal is to be the place people turn to for content. The vision statement is simple and provides the company with the direction it needs.
To that end, Disney has news and entertainment content makers like ESPN, ABC News, FOX News, and Marvel under its umbrella.
8. Southwest Airlines
Vision statement: To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.
Southwest’s vision statement makes it obvious that it wants to be a different kind of airline. While other airlines marketed themselves as exclusive and luxurious, Southwest promoted a company culture of love and acceptance. It even debuted with a love-themed marketing campaign and chose LUV as its stock market ticker symbol.
Vision statement: To craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love.
Coca-Cola has chosen a globally appealing vision statement. True to its word, Coca-Cola has become the world’s leading soft drink brand. It has a presence in more than 200 countries and owns more than 200 other brands—like Vitaminwater, Fanta, Honest Tea, and AdeS soy-based beverages.
Vision statement: To help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
Microsoft’s inspiring vision statement seeks to support people. You can see its intention isn’t about business, it’s about people and giving those people the tools to be their best selves.
With this aim, Microsoft has numerous initiatives. It’s a big supporter of inclusivity, diversity, environmental issues, and corporate responsibility. And to put its money where its mouth is, it offers free health care to all employees, including vision and dental.
Vision statement: Do everything possible to expand human potential.
Nike’s vision statement shows its commitment to making people better. It invests in scientific and technological advances in gear and clothing. It also has programs supporting sustainability and inclusivity, and bringing awareness to social issues.
For example, in 2018, Nike supported Colin Kaepernick’s protest to bring awareness to police brutality by featuring him in an ad after he became a free agent. Then, in 2020 after the Black Lives Matter movement began, it committed to donating $140 million to programs focused on helping Black Americans.
These examples show how Nike uses its vision statement to direct the moves of the company.
Vision statement vs. mission statement
A vision statement and a mission statement are a company’s purposes, goals, and core values. They are similar and oftentimes confused, but there are some differences:
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Components of a vision statement
Aimed at the future
Your vision statement is a clear big-picture template for you and your stakeholders. It shouldn’t be about your current objectives or short-term goals—leave that to your mission statement. It should describe something more significant.
A good example of this is the nonprofit Oxfam. Oxfam’s vision statement is to be “a self-organized people actively creating a just democratic and sustainable world where power and resources are shared, everyone lives in dignity, and poverty and inequality are no more.”
This is a very future-oriented goal. It not only seeks to alleviate individual poverty, Oxfam wants to change the way the world works so that poverty is completely eradicated.
Much like Oxfam, don’t be afraid to dream big with your vision statement. Remember, this is the long-term picture for your company, so it’s a good thing if that ideal is far reaching.
A vision statement presents how your company is looking to grow and achieve more than just staying in business. If you don’t have a goal to aspire to, it will be difficult for your business to have any focused growth.
Defines your direction
It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t even know which direction you want to head toward. Nailing down the projection you have for your ecommerce business enables you to make the right decisions to keep it on track as you grow. Decisions like what partnerships you make, whether or not you decide to make any collaborative initiatives, how and where you will expand—all of this will be guided by your vision statement.
Reflects company values
Vericast conducted a study in 2021 that showed 45% of consumers are more likely to pay more for the same product if the company is socially or environmentally conscious.
In other words, your company values matter to your customers. Your vision statement makes evident what your company prioritizes and what sort of company culture you bring to your employees.
Your vision statement is a motivating factor for your customers and employees. The best statements inspire people and make them identify with your vision statement as if it were their own. That way your customers and employees become your allies in helping you achieve that dream.
How to write a vision statement
Identify your goals
Your vision statement is not a strategic document like your business plan. It’s a clear vision that identifies your goals. Remember, these are not short-term goals.
Your vision statement goals should be:
- Long term (at least five to 10 years in the future)
- Aligned with your business values and short-term goals
- Focused on success
- Written in uncluttered, concise, jargon-free language
Demonstrate your purpose
Once you pinpoint your goal, show what you’ll do to achieve it. In essence, how committed are you to achieving your vision?
Let’s look again at Tesla: it wants to change the car industry by transitioning it to electric cars. This establishes its purpose is to revolutionize the car industry, and it’s going to do that by producing electric cars that make you want to give up your gas-guzzling vehicle.
After you’ve done the brainstorming and drafted your vision statement, ask around for feedback. Your employees are the first group of people to ask. From there, ask friends, family, your social media following—anyone who you trust to share their honest opinion.
Some questions to ask are:
- Is the vision clear?
- Do you feel inspired by this company’s vision?
- Is it memorable?
- According to the vision statement, what do you think the purpose of this company is?
After you’ve gotten feedback, make adjustments and try again. Repeat this process as many times as you need until your vision is being communicated effectively.
Provide a specific vision
One business mistake new entrepreneurs encounter is not having a specific purpose. Remember, you’re projecting five to 10 years in your future. So your vision can change and be adjusted as your business grows, but the point is to think about what you want things to look like.
If you’re vague, it’ll be harder to take concrete steps toward achievement. It’s much better to be specific and then pivot if things change.
For example, take Patagonia. Initially, the brand focused on sustainability. But as the company grew, Patagonia pivoted its vision and mission statements to be more active in saving the Earth. And now, it commits all of its resources to save life on this planet.
Create the vision for your business today
Your company’s vision statement is an important aspect of your business and will aid you in achieving your long-term goals. It’ll keep you directed on the right path and inspire both your customers and your employees.
Don’t be intimidated. With the tips and examples we’ve provided above, you’re well on your way to crafting a great vision statement and starting a successful business.
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Vision statement FAQ
What is a good vision statement?
How do you write a vision statement?
- Identify your goals.
- Demonstrate your purpose.
- Get feedback.
- Provide a specific vision.