Vision Statement Definition With Vision Statement Examples

A Definition That Includes Vision Statement Examples to Inspire You

••• Image by Maritsa Patrinos. © The Balance 2019

A vision statement is sometimes called a picture of your company in the future but it’s so much more than that. Your vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning.

What you are doing when creating a vision statement is articulating your dreams and hopes for your business. It describes what you are trying to build and serves as a touchstone for your future actions. As The Marketing Blender puts it, "Your vision statement should be an audacious dream of a future reality based on the work you do.... Your vision should require people to dream".

A vision statement may apply to an entire company or to a single division of that company. Whether for all or part of an organization, the vision statement answers the question, "Where do we want to go?"

What a Vision Statement Isn't

Don’t confuse a vision statement with a road map for your small business's future success; it's not. What Bill Gates envisioned when he first started Microsoft was a personal computer in every home and business, not a series of steps for making that happen. One of Elon Musk's visions is that humankind will be able to travel to Mars and live there. While his company SpaceX designs and launches spacecraft intended to eventually make that happen, the spacecraft designs are not part of the vision statement. That is to say, Mr. Musk did not have to have already have designed a craft before he chose to focus on the idea of travel to Mars; Mr Gates did not have to include how his company was going to market and deliver a computer to every home when he created his vision.

The vision statement is not tied to the details. 

That's why it's important when crafting one to let your imagination go and dare to dream - and why it's important that a vision statement captures your passion. The vision statement is about soaring; the poring over ways and means to accomplish the vision comes after.

Why Having a Vision Statement is So Important for Your Small Business

But while a vision statement doesn't tell you how you're going to get there, it does set the direction for your business planning. That makes creating one especially compelling for small businesses because the main reason small businesses fail is because of poor planning.

And having and being able to articulate and share a vision is one of the hallmarks of a strong business leader.

Having a company vision statement also provides focus to your small business's marketing; the vision statement will spur marketing campaigns and messages, which in turn can be checked against the vision - is the marketing in line with the direction the vision provides?

How Does a Vision Statement Differ From a Mission Statement?

Unlike the mission statement, a vision statement is for you and the other members of your company, not for your customers or clients. The purpose of the mission statement is to tell the world what you do and how you do it, every day. The vision statement is the dream; the mission statement is the intended reality.

When writing one, your mission statement and your core competencies can be a valuable starting point for articulating your values. Be sure when you're creating a vision not to fall into the trap of only thinking ahead a year or two. Once you have one, your vision statement will have a huge influence on decision making and the way you allocate resources.

Learn how to write a vision statement for your small business.

Then learn how to use your vision statement to create an action plan that will help you make the vision you have of your business a reality.

Here is a collection of sample vision statements for you to browse through. Hopefully seeing how different business people have combined their vision of the future and the vision statement formula will help you write one of your own.

Example Vision Statements

Five years from now, Tiny Tots Diaper Service will be the top grossing diaper service in the Lower Mainland by consistently providing a reliable, affordable service for Moms and Dads with small children.

Five years from now, Paula’s will be rated as a “five star” restaurant in the Greater Toronto area by consistently providing the combination of perfectly prepared food and outstanding service that creates an extraordinary dining experience.

Five years from now, Computer Services Ltd. will have annual revenues of over one million by consistently providing timely, reasonably priced repair and instructional services.

Within the next five years, the Women’s Centre will have helped create a safer, more harmonious community by helping women acquire the education, skills and resources necessary to build self-sufficient prosperous lives.

Within the next five years, will become a leading provider of management software to North American small businesses by providing customizable, user-friendly software scaled to small business needs.

Within the next five years, ZZZ Whale Watching Tours will become the premier eco-tour company in ________, increasing revenues to one million dollars by becoming internationally known for the comfort and excitement of the whale-watching tours it offers.

Example Vision Statement From Real Companies

While studying the fictional vision statement examples above will help you craft your own vision statement, it's always useful to read some real life examples as well. You'll notice that these don't include the time frame component. I have included a time component in the formula to write a vision statement because it's a useful goad and a useful tool for measurement for small businesses. Statement without time frames tend to be put off into an increasingly distant future. Obviously, though, a vision statement doesn't absolutely need one. - Our vision is 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.

Bata Shoes - To grow as a dynamic, innovative and market driven domestic manufacturer and distributor, with footwear as our core business, while maintaining a commitment to the country, culture and environment in which we operate.

Cradles to Crayons - Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.

Harley-Davidson - To fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling.

HubSpot - To make the world Inbound. We want to transform how organizations attract, engage and delight their customers.

IKEA - To create a better everyday life for the many people.

Microsoft - To help people around the world realize their full potential.

Nordstrom - To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. - To make commerce better for everyone.

Starbucks - To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

Uber - Make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone.