How to Create a Vision Statement that Will Guide Your Online Business

How to Create a Vision Statement that Will Guide Your Online Business

Growth Hacking

The ultimate guide how to create a vision statement that will guide your online business for many years ahead. Includes examples and a secret formula of success.

Knowing where to go means you’re already half there.” “The one who has a vision has it all.” “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” These quotes are all about vision (the latter, by the way, belongs to Jonathan Swift).

In case you have missed my previous article on the subject where I talked about what a vision statement is and how it’s different from a mission statement, please do read it in its entirety here.

Here in this article, we will concentrate on the actual process of creating a vision statement. You will get some helpful advice along with a few cool tips I have prepared especially for this occasion.

First of all, let’s remind ourselves what a vision statement is.

Vision Statement Definition

In short, a vision statement is a declaration of an organization’s objectives, ideally based on economic foresight, intended to guide its strategic decision-making (Wikipedia).

Vision Statement Definition

Think of it as a roadmap for your company. Obviously, every business needs a vision statement and yours too. We won’t go to the extremes trying to prove it’s useful – there is no need in that.

Before we learn how to create a vision statement, let’s recap the main things we want to achieve with it:

  • fill every our action from on with a sense of purpose and direct it towards an undisputable goal (or goals);
  • justify the existence of our business on the face of the Earth to inspire and motivate yourself and those around you;
  • help potential investors/clients get a better idea what your company stands for and what its core values are;
  • avoid going astray from the path we’ve chosen.

Now, let’s talk about some common requirements and see what a solid vision statement should look like.

What a Vision Statement Should Be

Most effective and currently working vision statements share these common traits:

  • clear: “no BS” rule applies here – define the main goal (goals) and describe them in a clear, understandable language;
  • concise: it’s not a scientific study after all – a vision statement should be concise enough for anyone to remember and repeat it;
  • future-oriented: no one cares what and where you are now as a company – what’s more important is what and where you want to be;
  • long-term: a vision statement is a kind of document that gets changed very rarely – it’s your religion (if I dare to compare the two), and it will stay with you independent of any market changes or popular fads;
  • challenging enough: a good vision statement should pose some real challenge to its creator – to earn a $1,000 is not challenging enough by any standards 🙂 ;
  • abstract: don’t lower your level to some boring day-to-day goals – think big and a create vision that will encompass your business at any time or given stage of development;
  • inspiring: just by the thought of it you and your employees should get inspired and stay motivated for the whole day.

What a Vision Statement Should Not Be

What a Vision Statement Should Not Be

Here are examples of some not so good vision statements.

We want to achieve greatness in whatever we do and be the best to our customers” – this is just plain BS as 99.9% of all the companies in the world can relate to that.

VERDICT: needs to be clearer.

Our company is a great dealer of auto parts” – well, good for you but it’s about the present, not the future.

VERDICT: needs to be more future-oriented.

Our goal is to become the leader of the market by the end of the next year” – very good but what if it does happen – will you just quit your business and sail off to the Caribbean on your dream-sized yacht?

VERDICT: needs a long-term goal, which will stay relevant today, tomorrow, and 10 years after.

The Process of How to Create a Vision Statement

Now we have come to the point where you start creating your vision statement. We will break down the whole process into 4 easy steps. For the sake of an example, we’ll pretend to be the CEO of an upcoming online toy store.

Step 1. Define Your Actual Output

An important note here: this is not the same as your product.

You can produce or serve whatever you want but what really matters here is what comes with it. In other words, what do your customers get when they get your toys? This is the $64,000 question.

For example, a toy store sells toys for kids – it’s obvious enough and doesn’t even need to be mentioned. That’s not your output.

What your customers do actually get from you is:

  • the wonderful feeling of being happy for their kids – parents
  • countless hours of joy and excitement – kids

Now THAT’S your output. You should definitely mention it in your vision statement.

The toys we make give our little customers countless hours of joy and excitement, while their parents are happy for their children and know that they are always safe.”

Step 2. What’s So Special Do You Bring to the Table?

What’s So Special Do You Bring to the Table

Make no mistake: almost all successful toy stores share the same vision of output as you do. Therefore, it’s not enough to make a powerful vision statement that will allow you to enter the heavy competition.
What you need to do is think about what makes you so special that people, who prefer other toy stores now, would rather prefer you in the future?

Some call it a competitive advantage, some call it uniqueness. Whatever your take on this is, it’s got to be a part of your vision statement.

For example, our toys are handmade from all-natural eco-friendly materials. Despite that, they are reasonably priced. Plus, we offer a free gift with every purchase.

All this can be put in your vision statement and look something like this.

We believe that every child is a gift of nature and, therefore, he or she should be surrounded only by natural, eco-friendly materials.”

We have all been kids and know that wonderful feeling when you receive a present from someone – that’s why we believe that giving a gift to every our little customer is the right thing to do.”

3. Add Some High-Level Metric

Alright, not a metric but something that will bring your vision closer to the reality. The problem is that many businessmen tend to get overexcited by this point and let their fantasy go wild.

It’s not necessarily bad but in the case of a vision statement, you would want to allow yourself to be a little bit more specific. Not too much, though.

That said, here’s what we can put as a high-level metric in our toy store example.

We love each and every our customer and would love to hear them sharing stories with other people about how much their kids have enjoyed our toys.”

See what we did there? We want our business to rely heavily on the word-of-mouth promotion and that’s why we need to ask every customer to share his or her experience with others. How are we going to achieve that? That is a purely practical question, and it’s not a part of our vision statement.

4. Bring in Something that Everyone Can Relate to, Something “Human”

Bring in Something that Everyone Can Relate to, Something “Human”

Business is not about money. Business is about people. That is why you need to put your main emphasis on the people, not the process, product, or money.

While creating a vision statement, add a touch of humanity, and it will shine.

For example, with our toy store it can be something like:

We think that every kid deserves to have toys. That’s why we always support various charities, children homes, and orphanages. We strongly encourage everyone else to do so.”

Putting it All Together

Now that we’ve got all the parts down, it’s time to put them all together in a single vision statement for our fictional online toy store.

The toys we make give our little customers countless hours of joy and excitement, while their parents are happy for their children and know that they are always safe.”

We believe that every child is a gift of nature and, therefore, he or she should be surrounded only by natural, eco-friendly materials.”

We have all been kids and know that wonderful feeling when you receive a present from someone – that’s why we believe that giving a gift to every our little customer is the right thing to do.”

We love each and every our customer and encourage them to share stories with other people about how much their kids have enjoyed our toys.”

We think that every kid deserves to have toys. That’s why we always support various charities, children homes, and orphanages. We strongly encourage everyone else to do so.”

Final Tips

  • cover a period of five to ten years;
  • think large;
  • stay focused on success;
  • avoid fluffy, vague language – be brief and concise;
  • make sure your vision statement is passionate enough to light hearts;
  • think about how you are going to share this vision with other people;
  • never rush it – spend as much time as you need until you feel it’s perfect.

Conclusion

Creating a powerful vision statement is not an easy task but when you know your steps and have your examples before you, it’s more than possible.

Just remember to stay passionate and true to the basic human needs. Business is about people, not money.

The right thing to do would be share this article with your friends on the social networks – just click on one of the icons of social media, it’s that easy.

If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.

For further reading, I suggest you check out these two articles on the overall marketing strategy:

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