A vision statement is your company's declaration to your customers, your employees, and the world about what your company aspires to become. It describes, in a broad way, how the business will achieve these aspirations. A good vision statement is bold, ambitious, and forward-thinking. It describes where you want your company to go, not where it currently is.
Here are the vision statements from some of today's biggest companies:
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.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.
eBay pioneers communities built on commerce, sustained by trust, and inspired by opportunity. eBay brings together millions of people every day on a local, national and international basis through an array of websites that focus on commerce, payments and communications.
Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people's real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Does every business need a vision statement?
No, but every business should have one. A vision statement provides a clear cut criteria for making decisions when faced with difficult situations. When making tough choices you can ask the question, "Does this support our vision?" If the answer is no, then you will know how to proceed.
To create your company's vision statement follow this 6 step process:
1. Examine your strengths and weaknesses
In order to create a vision for your future you need to know where you stand now. Look at all the key areas of your business and assess their current strengths and weaknesses. And don't just rely on your view of the situation. Look at your business from as many perspectives as possible. Especially, customers, staff, and vendors.
2. Analyze your findings
Review the information you gathered and ask yourself a set of specific questions like: What does the overall picture look like? Does it align with the dream you have for your business? What are your greatest strengths? What are your greatest weaknesses? How can you address the weaknesses and enhance the strengths?
3. Put it in writing
Take the information you gathered from your analysis and begin the outline for your statement. Write sentences that describe the future state of your business. Write sentences that build on your strengths. Write sentences that address the major stakeholders in your company; customers, staff, vendors, management,etc. Edit everything into a cohesive three to five sentence paragraph that reflects your vision for what you would like to see your company become in the future.
4. Refine the statement
Review the statement several times to make sure it is smooth, clear and easy to understand. It make take several revisions to get it right. Ask yourself, "Does this paint a clear picture?", "Is this inspirational for you and your staff?", and "Does it project a compelling image?"
5. Seek feedback
Ask your employees what they think of the statement. Do they understand the vision? Does it inspire them? Can they support it? If you have no employees then ask a mentor or friend with a similar business to give you feedback.
6. Go public with it
Once you've finalized your statement, share it with the world. Put your vision statement some where everyone can see it. Make sure that your all your stakeholders know that this is the direction your company is moving in and that you are absolutely committed to see it through.
Your company's vision statement is your bold and ambitious declaration to the world that your company is in this for the long haul. It tells your customers, staff, and other stakeholders know that you have a plan for where you want to take your company. And it gives you a roadmap for the journey you are taking your company on.
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