One of my friends requested as vision statement for the business idea I was trying to pitch him.
So, my first thought was: what the f*** is a vision statement.
Acting as if I knew exactly what he meant, I said: I’ll get it to you by tomorrow.
After much research (10 minutes), here is what I found: A vision statement is like a mission statement in that it lays out the long-term goals and purpose of the business venture.
It’s not a statement that includes all the boring details and specifics regarding how you expect to achieve such goals and expectations.
It’s basically a statement of what is the purpose of not just a business organization, but nonprofits and governments also.
10 Great Vision Statement Examples
Articulating a powerful vision is one of the hallmarks of a strong business leader. So what makes a vision statement great?
If you want some help getting started, we created a vision statement worksheet to guide you along the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the most creative and inspirational vision statement examples:
Joseph Braithwaite – Vision Statement Examples
1. “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.” – Southwest Air
Joseph Braithwaite, Governance Consulting
The essence of a vision statement should be able to be captured in a couple of compelling sentences. Those sentences need to, as John Kotter defines it, be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, flexible and communicable. Ensuring you have all of these elements within the vision ensures it doesn’t become just another cliché for the organization. Southwest Air’s vision aligns with their mission of ‘dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit’.
Lee Caraher – Vision Statement Examples
2. “Our vision is to create a better every-day life for many people.” – IKEA
Lee Caraher, Double Forte
Vision statements should be aspirational – the imprint you want to make in the world or the positive state of the future world you imagine in your industry. They should be short and use plain language so that they are memorable and can easily roll off the tongue of every employee.
Nike – Vision Statement Examples
3. “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)” – Nike
Barbara Farfan, The Balance
Nike’s goal is to inspire you whether you’re Tom Brady, a hobbyist sprinter or just want to wear its gear as you go about your daily errands.
Trent Silver – Vision Statement Examples
4. “To be a nerd for all your needs.” – Nerdster
Trent Silver, CEO, Nerdster
I can say this is an excellent vision statement because of its catchy ring. While the substance of the statement is the priority, a vision statement can often only be as successful as it is pleasing to the ear. “A nerd for all your needs” has a pleasant ring to it and is memorable.
Fabian Geyrhalter – Vision Statement Examples
5. “A world without Alzheimer’s disease.” – Alzheimer’s Association
Fabian Geyrhalter, Principal, FINIEN
A good vision statement drives everything about your brand. When you think about the mission you are on, it can, and should translate into the big vision, or the ‘true north‘ you foresee for your brand. Make it easy for people and create one powerfully inspiring statement that is built on the ‘why’ – just like what Alzheimer’s Association did.
Nick Bradley – Vision Statement Examples
6. “To be the fastest growing, most rewarding and most transformative leadership community.” – Mandala Leaders
Nick Bradley, Founder, Mandala Leaders
I run Mandala Leaders and one of the key processes we teach business leaders is how to have a clear, engaging and inspiring purpose, strategy and vision. I believe vision statements should be big, bold and engaging and be simple enough for all employees and customers to remember and live by. Everyone involved in the company should also live by the mantra and that customers see, feel and experience this too.
Annette Franz – Vision Statement Examples
7. “To be the best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.” – McDonald’s
Annette Franz, CEO, CX Journey Inc
This is a great vision statement for a variety of reasons. It’s simple, clear, compelling, and easy to understand. Had McDonald’s stopped at “to be the best quick service restaurant experience,” it wouldn’t have been a good vision statement because it would’ve been generic and ambiguous. Adding an explanation of what it means to be the best sets a clear tone for employees about what is expected.
It’s also realistic and achievable. Your vision statement should motivate and inspire; if it’s not realistic or achievable, it will do neither.
And, finally, it allows McDonald’s employees to evaluate what they’re doing to ensure it aligns with the vision. They can ask themselves, “Will what I’m doing make the customer smile?” If your statement doesn’t guide employees in this way, then it’s probably too soft and not clear, specific, relevant, or meaningful.
Andrew Schrage – Vision Statement Examples
8. Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” – Patagonia
Andrew Schrage, Founder & CEO, Money Crashers
It’s a great vision statement because it is brief and to the point. It speaks of the values it possesses as a company and the value it brings to its customers and the environment in general. It also gives its customers a sense of connection, something all vision statements should have.
Julianna Corso Eldemire – Vision Statement Examples
9. “To teach others to become successful.” – Anago Cleaning System
Julianna Corso Eldemire, Senior Marketing & PR Strategist, Moxē
My client, Anago Cleaning System, underwent a rebrand several years ago, which included a revamped Vision Statement. All great vision statements for small businesses include a humanistic approach to making their respective industries as a whole, a better community of leaders and service providers.
Anago realized their growth isn’t driven just by sales figures, but by teaching other business owners (in their case, Master Franchisees) how to coach other entrepreneurs (in their case the Unit Franchisees) about independent business ownership and all the comes with operating their own company.
David Burhenne-Sanderson – Vision Statement Examples
10. “To be the place that people go to when they want to watch any TV show or movie.” – Reelgood
David Burhenne-Sanderson,CEO, Reelgood
Great vision statements stretch you — if you’re not a little bit afraid of your vision, then it’s not big enough.
What Makes an Effective Vision Statement?
There are certain characteristics that good vision statements, including the vision statement examples above, have in common.
Here are a few traits that can help you evaluate your current vision statement and/or help you create a new one.
Future Focused. Provides the “big picture” and clearly describes what your organization will be like in several years.
Directional. Serves as guide to organizational plans and strategies.
Specific. Clear and focused enough to shape decision-making.
Relevant and Purpose-Driven. Reflects the company’s response to the challenges of the day.
Values-Based. Implies the set of values that are required to support the organization.
Challenging. Inspires members of the organization to do great things and achieve a higher level of standards.
Unique and Memorable. Highlights what makes the organization different and why it matters.
Inspiring. Appealing and engages people to commit to a cause.
Perhaps the most famous vision statement in history was the plan to go to the moon in president Kennedy’s speech.
The vision statement in that speech was clear and unambiguous: “to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade”.
From that initial statement by Kennedy in 1961 to April 1969, NASA made numerous changes to the way in which they got to the moon but never altered that goal.
It was clear but concise, challenging but not impossible, future-oriented but with a defined time horizon.
In short, it was a perfect example of what a vision statement should be.