Create a business vision

A vision is a vivid mental image of what you want your business to be at some point in the future, based on your goals and aspirations. Having a vision will give your business a clear focus, and can stop you heading in the wrong direction.

The best way to formalise and communicate the vision you have for your business is to write a vision statement.

A vision statement captures, in writing, the essence of where you want to take your business, and can inspire you and your staff to reach your goals.

What to include in a vision statement

A vision statement should communicate your long-term business goals, and it should reflect your view of the world and your business's place in it.

It should also answer the fundamental question, 'Where are we going?' The practical aspect of 'How will we get there?' is usually dealt with in a mission statement or a business plan.

Your vision statement might be inspired by certain aspects of your business, such as:

  • finances (e.g. to sustain and support your family)
  • reputation (e.g. among customers, staff, competitors)
  • service quality standards (e.g. to make customers a priority)
  • growth (e.g. you offer new products, innovate, get more customers, increase locations)
  • passion (e.g. that you and your staff enjoy what you do)
  • sustainability (e.g. that you are financially and environmentally sustainable).

You should also think about what inspired you to start a business, and what business values and principles are important to you.

How to write a vision statement

To write an effective vision statement you should think about what your business does, and imagine what your business would look like if it became the best possible version of itself.

Hold a business vision workshop

A good first step in developing a vision statement is to invite your key staff to a business vision workshop. By brainstorming and sharing ideas, you can answer fundamental questions about the direction of your business, which will make it much easier to write your vision statement.

Writing a vision statement

After you've held your vision workshop and come up with some ideas, it's time to write your official vision statement. Make sure your vision statement:

  • is clear and written in plain English (i.e. no jargon or 'business speak')
  • is passionate, powerful and memorable
  • is short and says a lot in a few words
  • is realistic (i.e. in terms of your resources, capabilities and growth potential)
  • describes the best outcome (ideal state) for your business
  • doesn't use numeric measures of success
  • helps build a picture in people's minds.

Example vision statements

Large companies often have a grand vision statement that aspires to global goals. But even a small business can benefit from having a relatively grand vision statement. Below are some examples of vision statements from global companies, as well as small businesses with local goals:

  • 'There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software.' (Microsoft's original vision statement)
  • '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.' (Amazon.com)
  • 'To build a community of coffee lovers in Brisbane, by serving the best coffee at the best possible prices.' (local café)
  • 'Our salon will change the way you think about a haircut, and leave you glowing both inside and out.' (local hairdresser)

Using your business's vision statement

A vision statement isn't something you write and then forget. As your business grows, you should constantly revisit your vision statement to measure your progress and success. It can also help you make key business decisions, because it represents the heart and soul of your business.

Many businesses use their vision to help create a unique selling proposition, which is the marketing statement you use to sell your products and services.

It's a good idea to make your business's vision statement visible in the workplace to inspire your staff and remind them of their purpose, for example, by:

You can also promote your business's vision statement publicly by displaying it in your business or using it in marketing material.

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