Businesses and organizations write vision statements to express goals, objectives and outcomes. Vision statements are a roadmap for future accomplishments, and often delineate a specific set of values that will help a company achieve long-term success. Businesses also use vision statements to communicate a common set of goals to their employees, which helps define their corporate culture. You can write an effective vision statement by observing a few guidelines.
Define a Time Period
Vision statements are always written about things a company wants to accomplish in the future. Therefore, a key aspect of the statement is defining the time period in which your company will achieve its goals. For example, a computer company that wants to have a 50 percent share of the market, would express a desire to be in half of all American homes in 10 years. Because a vision statement looks ahead, it is important to give your employees a sense of movement toward a definable goal.
Begin with an Effective Phrase
Begin your vision statement with a memorable phrase or slogan that summarizes what your company wants to achieve. Write this phrase at the beginning of the statement to set the tone for everything else that follows. It also serves as a powerful reminder to your employees of the things your company represents. For example, CVS Caremark's vision statement begins with, "We strive to improve the quality of human life." This is a short, effective phrase that is easy to remember and specifically addresses the company's overarching goal to promote wellness.
Focus on Human Values
The bulk of your vision statement should not delineate quantifiable sales figures, but should delve into the value of the services your company provides to consumers. A computer software company should express how its products help draw people closer together through communication. A health food store should express how its grocery items help people live happier lives because their bodies feel good. Boil down the essence of your company by focusing on the positive changes and characteristics that your products bring to the lives of people.
Write Two Statements
Vision statements should aim high. Your goal is to describe the best-case scenario for your company's aspirations. Though values are important, you want to make sure your statement motivates your employees to drive toward an ultimate goal. Write an "in-house" vision statement that is exclusively for your workforce, and an "outside" vision statement for consumers. The "in-house" statement expresses how employees should view the company's goals and objectives, and the "outside" statement expresses the way consumers should look at the company and its goals. Typically, "in-house" statements will contain goals that are quantifiable — sales figures and percentages — and "outside" statements will focus on more general objectives and your company's value system.