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How Do You Define a Business’ Vision?

Blue cogs with business-related images in the centre of them

Every business has a vision of where it should be in the future. However, not every business has its vision written down and communicated to its employees. This can be a crucial step to having everyone working in the same direction and towards the same end goal.

Your vision statement should describe the long-term result of your business’s efforts and whether you have any values you want to convey. Think of it as putting all your foresight into one short statement that can be communicated with your stakeholders.

The following steps are designed to help you realise your vision and put your thoughts into words in the right way.

Step 1 - Know your goals

Your vision statement should be the end goal for your business, the one thing that says you’ve become a success. As part of your vision statement, you don’t need to include the steps you will take to get there or the strategies you’re going to use.

For example, Ben & Jerry’s vision statement is: “Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way.” They take this ideal into every area of the business, from using sustainable ingredients to using the business to promote causes that they feel passionate about.

Essentially, if everyone in the business is working towards the same goal, you can start putting strategies in place based on it.

Step 2 - Consider your values

While you want to reach the right goal, you need to do it in a way that feels right for you. Let’s use the example of Ben & Jerry’s again, they could have left it at “Making the best ice cream”, which would have been perfectly acceptable as a vision statement. However, they have business values based on meeting human needs, fighting injustice, and activism against climate change.

This is where the second part of their vision comes into play; they don’t just want to make the best ice cream, they want to do it in the nicest possible way.

Think of the values you want your business to have. Are they going to shape the way you do business? If you feel strongly about them, find a way of incorporating them into your vision statement.

Step 3 - Keep it simple

It can be tempting to add as much detail as possible to your vision statement, but at the same time, it can be counterproductive.

The more detail you add, the more your team has to sift through before finding the heart of your business and what’s important to you. If you make it easy to digest, fewer misconceptions can happen, and your business can stay more on-track.

Step 4 - Forget about time

A vision statement shouldn’t be constrained by time; it should be something you’re always working towards; you might even never hit it fully.

Look to it as a guide for how you want to do business and where you want the business to be.

Also, think about the wording of time-based statements that focus on the future; they tend to paint a bleak picture of how things are currently run. Ben & Jerry’s could have used the statement “Making the best ice cream and working towards making it in the nicest possible way.” after hearing that, you might wonder what’s not nice about the way they’re making it now.

Rather, they didn’t use any time-based words and left the reader thinking they are currently being nice about it.

What does this all mean when developing your vision statement?

Your vision statement should highlight your goals for the future of the business; you should always be working towards them. If you have specific values, you should try and incorporate these in some way to show what’s important to you.

However, you should try and keep your vision as simple as possible so anyone reading it will know what your business is trying to achieve.

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