How To
9 min read

How to Write a Vision Statement Step By Step + Examples

Kevin Jusino

August 8, 2022

Ever wish you could see the future?  

Well, science is still a long way from developing psychic abilities, but we have something that’s just as powerful: vision statements. 

Whether a mom-and-pop shop or a multinational marketing firm, this tool can keep you from wasting time and energy on unnecessary tasks, focus on long-term growth, and overcome even the most challenging roadblocks.

As such, outlining a vision statement should be one of the first steps your team ever completes.

  

Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to craft an impactful vision statement that keeps your organization light years ahead of the competition. 

In this guide, we’ll answer questions like: 

  • What is a vision statement? 
  • Why is a vision statement important?
  • Is a vision statement the same as a mission statement? 
  • What elements make a vision statement successful? 
  • How do you write a vision statement? 

Ready to get started? 

What is a vision statement? 

A vision statement defines your business’s objectives for the future to inspire stakeholders and employees. It should outline the goals it hopes to achieve and, in turn, explain your organization’s overall purpose in the market. 

After reading your vision statement, stakeholders, employees, and customers should understand exactly where your organization is heading, how it will get there, and — this is a big one! — why it’s going in that direction?  

So, what makes a vision statement so important? There are a few key reasons why you should think long and hard about this element. 

They help describe your brand 

Brand storytelling is more important than ever. When 71% of consumers prefer making purchases from companies with similar values as them, it’s crucial that your team can concisely tell your audience who you are and why you deserve their support. 

As you’ve probably guessed, vision statements are one of the easiest ways to do this. In just a few lines, you’ll help potential buyers understand why your products or services are being offered, who is offering them, and what makes them better than similar offerings. 

Of course, this is just one of many aspects that’ll help you write a powerful brand story, though it’s one of the most important. 

They keep you on track

There isn’t a single organization in the world that isn’t trying to be more productive — especially when enjoying rapid growth. 

Whether looking for a tool to help you write blogs more quickly or considering outsourcing mounting workloads to independent contractors, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s important.   

A simple reminder of your organization’s purpose can be all you need to handle overwhelming moments. 

Keep your vision statement nearby to avoid wasting hours on tasks that won’t help your organization in the long run. Whether on a note on your phone or a poster next to your office desk, it will be the tool you need to eliminate unnecessary objectives and focus on what truly matters. 

They encourage your workforce

Even the most passionate employees need motivation every once in a while. 

Regardless of how small your operation might be, 89% of executives agree that providing teams with a sense of purpose greatly improves employee satisfaction. Doing so will make their work feel meaningful, motivating them to perform at their best for each and every task. 

As you’ve now learned, vision statements are all about purpose. It’s seriously one of the easiest ways to keep your organization unified and operating at maximum efficiency. 

Difference between a vision and a mission statement 

You’ve likely heard “mission” and “vision” thrown around if you’ve been in the business world for some time. And, if you’re a newcomer, prepare to see them almost everywhere you go. 

Each statement serves a unique purpose 

Where a vision statement is allowed to be aspirational and directed toward the future, a mission statement leans on the formal side, focusing instead on the present. It directly describes the organization’s reason for existence and what it aims to accomplish. The vision statement explains how that aim will be achieved. 

As such, neither statement can exist without the other. 

Recognizing this difference is important to ensure you’re using organizational objectives properly. Here are a few markers that’ll help you separate the two core elements: 

  • Timeframe: One of the easiest ways to separate a vision statement from a mission statement is to pinpoint the timeframe they’re using. The former will describe an organization's long-term outlook, whereas the latter narrows it down to present objectives. 

  • “What,” “Why,” and “How”: Mission statements primarily describe “what” an organization is trying to accomplish and “how” it is going to do so, making them powerful short-term plans. While it can also touch on these two points, a vision statement will mostly focus on “why” the organization created its mission. 

  • Target: Most modern organizations proudly state their mission and vision statements on their websites, but some audiences are more impacted than others. Usually, vision statements target workforces first to generate motivation, while mission statements are used for consumer marketing purposes. 

Elements of a good vision statement 

So, we know that vision statements are essential for any organization, but they need to be good to be effective. Before we explain how to write one, keep the following considerations in mind that could help turn a “meh” vision statement into one that keeps your business sprinting into the future. 

Future-oriented  

A vision statement isn’t worried about the present. It needs to prove that an organization is forward-thinking and destined for long-term greatness — none of which can be accomplished overnight. 

Inspiring

Vision statements are geared toward workforce motivation. After reading their employer’s plan for the future, employees should feel empowered, convinced that even the most menial of tasks are pushing toward something greater than themselves. 

If it isn’t a slogan worth slapping onto a T-shirt, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 

Abstract 

Unlike the mission statement, vision statements save room for imagination. What makes them so thrilling is their sense of bravery, their promise to achieve something that no one else would dare strive for. The statement shouldn’t be disconnected from reality but abstract enough that readers can’t help but pay attention to the organization.  

Challenging 

We’re talking about the future, folks; it’s time to dream big! The most interesting vision statements present a challenge to their organization, making it all the more impressive once they come to fruition. 

Stable 

Finally, though a vision statement is supposed to be aspirational, it should also be achievable. The best ones display a sense of wonder without losing sight of the organization’s capabilities. It’s still a dream, but one that isn’t so outlandish it ends up being more discouraging than motivational. 

Tips for crafting your vision statement 

As our last step for preparation, let’s review a few actionable tips you can turn to when brainstorming. 

Keep it simple 

A vision statement needs to be concise enough that anyone can read it, yet imaginative enough that it doesn’t sound boring or generic. You’ll want to avoid industry-specific terms, confusing grammar, or anything else distracting from the main point. 

It’s a good idea to write a handful of statements and narrow it down to the best options. You can also ask for feedback from coworkers, mentors, friends, and others to ensure your final choice is impactful for various audiences — not just one.    

Aim for less than 30 words 

Remember what we said about making your vision statement T-shirt worthy? Well, an essay on what makes your organization special isn’t exactly easy to print.  

Writing a concise vision statement will make it easier to advertise to employees and consumers and help you make it as powerful as possible. Limiting yourself to 30 words means you’ll have to think long and hard about your organization’s most important elements and goals — and then talk about them in a sentence or two.  

Make it inspiring and ambitious 

This point is so important it’s worth reiterating again and again. A great vision statement will send chills down readers’ spine, make employees feel proud to work for their company, and clearly show what makes an organization different from its competitors. 

So, feel free to use powerful language that accomplishes the above. Just avoid being too complex or vague by accident. All of this ambition still needs to be rooted in reality! 

Avoid jargon 

Modern content marketing strategies rely on one golden rule: Make it accessible. 

From blog posts to cold e-mail templates, your organization's language shouldn’t alienate readers. Anything that contains overcomplicated language or industry jargon should be reworked to fit a wider audience. Again, seeking feedback from various resources is a great way to ensure your brand and vision statement is approachable and can be understood by anyone. 

Establish timeframes 

It’s not a hard-and-fast rule that vision statements must include a concrete timeframe, but including one can make yours all the more effective. Of course, the one you include should prioritize long-term strategy, with a goal that will span no less than five years and no longer than ten. 

The step-by-step process for writing a vision statement 

All right, it’s time for the part you’ve been waiting for: finally getting to write your own vision statement. 

Now, this is a lot to remember, so let’s briefly refresh our memory of the concept before putting it into action. 

A vision statement… 

  • is a short declaration that describes your organization’s long-term objectives and ambitions. 
  • focuses on the future, whereas a mission statement is centered around short-term goals. 
  • motivates employees with an inspiring view of the company’s future. 
  • explains why an organization was founded and headed in a certain direction. 

Already feeling inspired? Good! It’s time to use this feeling to your advantage and begin crafting your killer vision statement. 

Step one: Identify important stakeholders 

Remember that your vision statement applies to your organization as a whole. It’s not just one department or manager who’ll be using it to guide their actions, but everyone — even down to the latest summer intern. 

By involving the most important stakeholders in your writing process, like executives and other leaders, you’ll craft something that provides meaning to the entire workforce. 

Step two: List keywords 

Your final vision statement should incorporate keywords that help highlight your organization's specialty. Take a moment to brainstorm and jot these down beforehand, identifying the top two or three keywords that best represent its purpose. 

Step three: Answer foundational company questions 

Next, it’s time for some introspection. Ask yourself the following questions to identify specific elements your vision statement should represent. 

  • What is my organization’s primary purpose? 
  • What is my organization’s goal for the future? 
  • Why was my organization founded? 
  • How will my organization improve the lives of consumers? 
  • How will my organization create a company culture? 

Step four: Write your vision statement(s) 

You’ve covered all the elements necessary to form a vision statement. Now, you just need to put your pen to paper and transfer all that imagination to reality. 

Don’t try to write a perfect first draft. Allow your first few attempts to be too long, messy, or confusing. Then take a small break, look back at each, and identify which aspects stick out to you most. Use them to write a new set of vision statements, focusing on making them more concise and impactful. 

Rinse and repeat this process until you’ve crafted two or three great options. 

Popular vision statement examples 

Seeking inspiration? Find guidance in some of these proven vision statements. 

Apple 

“To make the best products on earth and to leave the world better than we found it.” 

Nike 

“We see a world where everybody is an athlete — united in the joy of movement. Driven by our passion for sport and our instinct for innovation, we aim to bring inspiration to every athlete in the world and to make sport a daily habit.”

Tesla 

“To create the most compelling company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” 

Ben & Jerry’s 

“Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way.” 

LinkedIn 

“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” 

Vision statement templates 

Kickstart your writing process using one of the following templates. 

For organizations 

We envision [insert desired impact] by focusing on [insert strategy]. 

For healthcare 

To provide patients with the best healthcare in [insert location] through exceptional customer care and advanced medical technologies. 

For non-governmental organizations 

 

[Name] aims to be the best association in [insert focus area] by committing to workplace equity. 

For nonprofits 

[Name] aims to transform [insert focus area] with our commitment to [insert strategy]. 

For ministries 

To provide the best resource for individuals who practice [insert faith] by fostering an inclusive, welcoming environment. 

For churches 

To serve [insert location(s)] with the best worship resources using our approach to [insert strategy]. 

For school 

[Name] wishes to revolutionize the future of education in [insert location] by investing in comprehensive teacher training and educational innovations.  

For a team  

To advance [insert organization name]’s mission to [insert organization mission] by [insert team strategy].

For a project 

To complete a successful [insert project name] by focusing on the latest strategies in [insert focus area]. 

For a university 

To provide students with the tools they need to succeed post-graduation through [insert strategy]. 

For a department 

To advance the mission of [insert organization name] and efficiently completing [insert main priority] by [insert strategy]. 

For a restaurant  

[Name] will provide an irresistible dining experience by focusing on [insert strategy] with every dish served. 

Conclusion 

Writing an effective vision statement can take days, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be altered later to fit your organization’s shifting objectives. It’s a good sign when you end up outgrowing your existing one! 

But before it comes to that, congratulate yourself on your hard work. And, when it’s time, don’t forget to use Copy.AI’s innovative writing tools to craft your next perfect vision statement. 

How to write a vision statement is part of a series on how to write anything. It covers topics such as how to write a business memo, resignation letter, or recommendation letter for a student.

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