Why should writing a vision statement for your small business be a priority?
Because a vision statement is your small business's ticket to success. A photograph in words that illustrates your company's future, it provides the inspiration for both your daily operations and your strategic decisions.
Without a vision statement, effective business planning becomes impossible; it's the vision statement that provides the destination for the journey, and without a destination, how can you plan the route?
If you don't have a vision statement, don't panic. I bet you do have a vision of what you want your business to accomplish, both in the long-term and the immediate future; you just need to articulate and formalize it. Here's how to write a vision statement:
1) Examine your mission statement.
A mission statement answers the question, "Why do we exist?" for a company. (If you don’t have one already, How to Write a Mission Statement will lead you through the process of creating one for your business.)
Read your mission statement over and consider the following: What is it your business does well? How do you do it?
2) Dare to dream.
To write a vision statement, focus on the basics of your mission statement and extrapolate key information; where do you want your business to be five years from now? What do you want your company to have accomplished?
Forming a mental picture will help. If you have trouble visualizing your business, mentally script your own news byte.
Imagine that you, the CEO of your company, are being profiled in the media. What are you and your company being recognized for? For instance, if your current business involves yoga instruction, you might imagine yourself being featured on the news for opening your twelfth franchise. Or perhaps for offering different types of yoga instruction or for innovating the way yoga is taught.
3) Shape your vision statement; apply the formula.
Maybe when you were picturing the future of your company, you saw a whole list of achievements scroll by or imagined all sorts of disjointed clips. To write a vision statement, we need to distill your vision into a usable form. Use the following formula to shape your vision statement:
Five years from now, (my company name) will ___________________ by ________________________.
Using this formula to write a vision statement will enable you to choose what you consider to be the most important accomplishment of your business and give you a time frame to accomplish it.
For instance, here's a sample vision statement:
Five years from now, Tiny Tots Diaper Service will be the top-grossing diaper service in the Lower Mainland by consistently providing a reliable, affordable service for Moms and Dads with small children.
See more sample vision statements.
4) Commit to your vision statement.
- Take action to make your vision statement come true: Use it as the basis of your business planning.
As the vision statement provides your destination -- the 'where you want to get to' -- all of your goals and strategies will focus on making it happen in the time frame you've set.
It's the natural basis for all of your business planning.
If you just tell it to people once, but then let it drift into the background, your vision statement will fade and disappear. So besides talking about it, keep your vision statement alive by keeping it physically prominent. Print it out and post it on your desk, in your staff room, wherever you, your colleagues and your staff will see it (and be reminded of it) daily.
Is Your Vision Statement the Right One?
It isn't hard to write a vision statement. But it is sometimes difficult to write a vision statement that truly encapsulates your vision for your company. When you write your vision statement, make sure that you have chosen the vision that is most important to you.
If you don't fully believe in your vision statement, you won't be able to fully commit to it, and writing a vision statement that you can't or won't fully commit to is a waste of time. Make sure your statement is one that truly represents what you want for your company. Once you do that, building the pathway to achieving that vision will become much more manageable.