Vision Statement Definition

The best vision statement definition is a declaration of an organization's mid-term and long-term goals.

A vision statement serves as a picture of what your company can be and will be in the future. Vision statements can also be used to inspire yourself and your employees, and they can be a tool for strategic planning. In writing your vision statement, you will be making clear your hopes for the future of your business. Your business plan should be aspirational and can serve as a basis for the actions you take to grow your business.

One of the good things about a vision statement is that it can be used for your entire company or for a single division. No matter the scope of your vision statement, it should be used to indicate where you want your company to go.

Every successful business will be founded on a strong vision statement. Vision statements should describe your goals and help you make important decisions. Unlike day-to-day goals, a vision statement is focused on the big picture and the best way to grow your business. 

Vision statements can be as short as a single sentence or as long as a paragraph. Regardless of the length you choose or the details that you include, your vision statement should outline the ideals of your business and provide a direction for the future. A well-crafted vision statement can be a tool for motivation and a guide for your employees. 

In addition to providing the inspiration you need to put all your energy into your business, a vision statement can help you attract clients who share similar beliefs. Your vision statement is a living document that should be constantly revised so that your goals never stagnate. If you write your vision statement correctly, it will help you set priorities for your business and will spark your imagination. Every employee in your company should be driven by this statement.

What a Vision Statement Is Not

Now that you know what a vision statement is and how you can use it to guide your business, it's important to learn how not to use these statements. When writing a vision statement, many people make the mistake of assuming that it will be a blueprint for their business. However, this is not the case.

Bill Gates, for instance, dreamed of a world where every home and business had a personal computer — his vision for Microsoft. This vision, however, did not include every step he would need to take to accomplish this goal.

A vision statement is not about the fine details that will help your business succeed. Instead, your vision statement is about providing you the inspiration that you will need to continue striving for success. Your vision statement will help you keep your eyes on the prize and maintain your enthusiasm.

The Importance of Having a Vision Statement

As mentioned, a vision statement will not provide you a roadmap for establishing and growing your business. However, it will set your company in the right direction and help you with your business planning. It is for this reason that a vision statement is crucial for small businesses, which frequently fail as a result of inadequate planning.

A strong business leader will be able to clearly define their vision and share it with others. Vision statements can be used for the following:

  • Provide a common purpose and strengthen the culture of your business
  • Establish a big picture that will help you make clear decisions
  • Improve relationships across your company by clarifying priorities

What Are the Differences Between a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement?

It is extremely common for companies to confuse a vision statement with a mission statement, despite their clear differences. Generally, a business will use either one statement or the other. However, it is possible to combine elements of both into a single statement. 

The biggest difference between the two is that a vision statement is focused on the future of your company, while a mission statement centers on your current operations. Both statements are valuable in terms of public relations.

A mission statement is used mostly for the public, while the vision statement's main purpose is internal inspiration and direction.

If you already have a mission statement, you can use the information it contains to dictate the values that you will include in your vision statement. Be sure, however, that you don't limit your vision statement by only thinking about the immediate future. Your vision statement should be about the long view, not the next one or two years. After your vision statement has been written, it should greatly impact your future decisions and resource allocation.

Mission statements are concrete and outline your company's purpose and goals that you plan to achieve. This statement can be used to direct your company and to emphasize the most important goals you will need to achieve for continued success. 

An effective mission statement will answer two crucial questions:

  • What is the purpose of my business?
  • Where do I want my business to go?

Having a poorly written vision or mission statement means losing the opportunity to build the culture of your business, attract new talent and clients, boost productivity, and effectively use your resources.

Shaping Your Vision and Putting It to Use

The most important step in developing your vision statement is deciding who will be involved in its writing. While business owners can write the vision statement themselves, workshopping ideas with company stakeholders can also be a good solution. This will make people feel more involved in your company and will provide a good representation of the different parts of your organization.

It can also be a good idea to write multiple statements and then discuss which one best reflects the ideals and goals of your company. While writing your statement, you should also decide where best to display your vision statement and what role it will play in the day-to-day operations of your business. A business owner who accepts input while writing their vision statement will be better able to articulate the future goals of their business.

If you need help with understanding vision statements, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.