How to Write a Fabulous Vision Statement

By Susan L Reid Icon

As a small business coach helping entrepreneurial women start up businesses, one of my favorite things to do is help my clients write vision statements for their businesses. However, this isn't always easy for them to do.

Why? Because like many people, they think vision statements and mission statements are one and the same. They haven't really stopped to consider what the purpose of a vision statement is or why having one could be an asset.

Vision statements are meant to be big and bold. They're meant to inspire, energize, and create a captivating picture of where you see your business going in the future.

If you don't write a vision statement, your business will be without direction. When you complete one, your vision statement will then supply the inspiration for the daily operations of your business and motivation for its strategic decisions.

Every business needs a vision statement. Want to make sure you've written a great one? Just follow these guidelines, fill out the vision statement formula at the end of this article, and you will have created a vision statement that clearly articulates the future of your business and paints a vivid picture for its success!

What's the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?

Vision and mission statements are two separate entities that answer two different questions about your business. Questions that are complementary in nature.

Simply put, your vision statement answers the question, "Where do I see my business going?" Your mission statement answers the question, "Why does my business exist?"

From the start, vision statements are future-focused and written with the end result in mind. Mission statements are focused in the present and state the fundamental purpose of your business.

Which comes first: the vision or the mission?

If you are a new business just starting up, a larger company getting ready to add a new program, or an existing organization planning to overhaul your current services, then write your vision statement first.

If you are an established business with a mission statement already in place, then let your mission guide the writing of your vision statement.

Top Five Things to Keep in Mind When Writing Your Vision Statement

  1. Describe outcomes that are five to ten years out.
  2. Dream big and focus on success.
  3. Write your vision statement in the present tense, as if it has already happened.
  4. Infuse your vision statement with passion.
  5. Paint a graphic mental picture of the business you want.

There is no space limit when writing a vision statement. They often contain one or more paragraphs. Write as much as you need to in order to create a dynamic mental picture of your business that will serve to energize and inspire you and your team.

Two Vision Statement Formulas for Success

Here are two basic vision statement formulas. The first one is for any business starting up without a mission statement. The second is for businesses that already have a mission statement in place.

  1. Five years from now, _______________________________ (name of your business)

    will become a successful ___________________________ (type or description of business including whether it will be local, regional, national, or international in its scope)

    by providing ____________________________(description of your products and/or services)

    to _____________________________________________(your customers).

    Example: Five years from now, the Sierra Women's Shelter will become a successfully run non-profit shelter serving the Greater Pittsburgh regional area providing education, life-skills training, and the necessary support to help women who have been previously battered or abused build self-sufficient, sustaining, prosperous lives.

  2. Within the next ________ (add a number) years,

    grow ___________________________________ (name of your business)

    into a successful _______________________________________ (type or description of business including whether it will be local, regional, national, or international in its scope),

    increasing revenues to ____________________________ (amount) by _________________ (date)

    providing _______________________________(description of your products and/or services)

    to _____________________________________________(your customers).

    Example: Within the next five years, grow Cultural Awareness Travel into the premier North American women's tour company increasing revenues to $225,000 by 2012 by becoming known for helping women to develop greater self-awareness and confidence and to discover a new respect for diversity through cross-cultural exposure.

Your vision statement sets the tone for your business. It defines its future. It inspires, energizes, motivates, and, above all else, describes what will be achieved if your business is successful. It is nearly impossible to plan the direction of your business without one. Follow these guidelines, and use the vision statement formula to perfectly articulate your dream, your passion, and the direction you envision for your business.

Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses. She is the author of "Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success."

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