Rebecca Michael has more than 20 years of experience writing for small business and ran her own content business. She was an early employee and content contributor at LegalZoom, specializing in educating SMBs on corporations and LLC business formations.
A vision statement presents an inspirational vision of a company to guide growth, motivate employees, and connect with consumers. Aside from expressing its goals and aspirations, the vision statement also provides a framework for strategic planning. Ultimately, a vision statement answers the question: “Where do we want to go?”
Articulating a powerful vision is one of the hallmarks of a strong business leader. You may be inspired to create one when you first start your business. A good vision statement is valuable because it helps set your business’s direction by subtly influencing the decision-making process. These examples of vision statements will help you create your own.
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“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
LinkedIn’s vision correctly states that the modern workforce is global. In doing so, it recognizes an essential truth for employers and employees alike. This vision statement example is particularly useful because it promotes the idea of leveling the playing field, not just for LinkedIn team members and users but also for the entire global workforce.
Stated another way, LinkedIn’s vision statement focuses on allowing everyone to find employment, grow, and advance. It also reminds us that the platform intends to help people generate economic opportunities—which may involve finding a new job, promoting a business, or connecting with other industry experts.
“Video communications empowering people to accomplish more.”
Zoom’s vision statement example is effective because it focuses on its primary product—video communications—and highlights that it can empower users. What’s more, the vision statement speaks directly to Zoom’s typical customers—professionals—by assuring them they’ll accomplish more with the help of the platform.
This statement tells customers that the product is to increase productivity and invites business owners to leverage the tool to help their bottom line.
“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
Google’s example of a vision statement is short, simple, and concise. It doesn’t use big words to express the company’s lofty goals.
Instead of using complicated business jargon, the vision statement example is simple enough for a second grader to read and understand. This is important—because even second graders use Google.
“People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
Though Facebook has expanded to other social media platforms like Instagram, its focus has always been on connecting people. This vision statement example puts connection front and center and then uses active language to encourage just that.
“Becoming the best global entertainment distribution service. Licensing entertainment content around the world. Creating markets that are accessible to filmmakers.”
Netflix breaks its vision statement into three parts, each written in the active voice. This statement is especially effective because it uses strong, concise, thought-provoking verbs. What’s more, the statement also puts the focus on content while pushing the idea of expansion and global coverage.
Interestingly, the example of a vision statement doesn’t say anything about viewers and instead directs its future toward production and making it easier for creators to get their content to market.
6. Creative Commons
“Nothing less than realizing the full potential of the internet—universal access to research and education, full participation in culture—to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.”
Creative Commons gives a specific interpretation of the internet and what it is good for and positions itself in its ideal role making that happen. This is a vision statement that is at odds with other views of the internet. It starts a debate. Is universal access to research and education actually the full potential of the internet? It is clear that Creative Commons thinks so. Other people and organizations, who want people to pay for the information they put out, might not agree.
This is an example of a vision statement that makes a controversial claim. It makes you take a side in the debate. It is specific about what it hopes to accomplish and what that accomplishment will do for the world.
This is a classic vision statement example that describes a big-picture goal with an explanation of how it will change the world.
“Create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
Tesla’s vision statement example is interesting because it doesn’t say what it wants to provide. And, unlike many examples of vision statements, it doesn’t say it wants to sell—it wants to be compelling.
The goal is not to produce the most high-quality cars or sell the most vehicles. Instead, Tesla wants to inspire, embolden, and drive and encourage people. More specifically, the statement doesn’t say it wants to sell cars. It says it wants to drive the transition to electric vehicles. Again: encourage, inspire, promote innovation.
“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Amazon’s vision statement example is useful because it puts the company’s priorities front and center. First, the statement mentions the company’s customers twice in a single sentence. Then, it uses actionable terms like “find” and “discover” to show that customers can find and purchase what they want and need.
The idea of being able to find “anything” also underscores the company’s commitment to offering a massive selection of merchandise and making it easily accessible online. Finally, this example stands out from other examples of vision statements because its mention of Earth brings to mind one of its founder’s other endeavors—space travel.
“Building an ‘Etsy Economy’”
In this short vision statement, Etsy creates a new term to strive for, the “Etsy economy.” This statement encompasses both creators and buyers. This vision statement example is great because it doesn’t just focus on creating products—but the interaction and relationship between buyer and seller.
“To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
As a home design brand, IKEA focuses on creating a high quality of life for its customers—precisely what its customers think about when choosing to shop there. By aligning its goals with consumers’ desires, IKEA is signaling that it understands the wants and needs of its customers and that it’s ready to meet those needs.
The vision statement example’s focus on the customer is also evident in using “the many.” This means that IKEA is focused on designing for ordinary people, not just the wealthy, few, or elite.
“Build the best product. Cause no unnecessary harm. Use business to protect nature. Not bound by convention.”
This vision statement is significant because it speaks directly to consumers. What’s more, it’s tailored around Patagonia’s more conscientious customers. They are more likely to pay top dollar for high-quality, fair trade, and more sustainable products.
Using inspirational language and focusing on the environmental crisis, Patagonia’s vision statement example targets both customers and employees who care deeply about the environment.
12. Southwest Airlines
“To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.”
Southwest’s vision statement example stands out because it focuses on what the company wants to become. The brand is also putting its customers first with its goal of being the most loved airline while maintaining the importance of making a profit for its shareholders. This puts the focus on both the company’s journey and the customer’s journey.
What’s more, many elements in the vision statement are quantifiable. So, when Southwest says it wants to be the most efficient and most profitable airline—leadership can measure these metrics and track how well the company aligns with its vision.
“We’re here to feed and foster communities.”
In 2020, McDonald’s updated their vision statement, which it relabeled as a purpose statement. Its updated vision/purpose statement emphasizes the role McDonald’s intends to play in the communities it serves.
Feeding and fostering communities is about a lot more than just serving hamburgers. It reflects the fact that McDonald’s buys food from farming communities, that it employs people in all the communities where it has locations, and that it has outreach programs to help communities.
This vision/purpose statement includes community services such as the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a free place to stay to families of sick children who have to travel for medical care. The statement also reflects McDonald’s recognition that it has an obligation to help the communities that support it, not just feed them.
This is an example of a vision statement that places the organization in a larger role in the community than the one customers most likely think of.
14. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
“Our company vision is to be the most highly respected real estate firm, committed to providing exceptional service.”
This vision statement example is short, sweet, and to the point. It describes the standing that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices wants to have among its competitors and the value that it aims to focus on.
15. Habitat For Humanity
“A world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
Here, Habitat for Humanity is thinking worldwide. Although it has several divisions around the world, the vision statement brings everyone together.
The second part of the statement “a decent place to live” is an excellent vision for the workers and volunteers. Every home they construct has the goal of delivering a great place for a family or individual to call home. This is one of the more emotionally compelling examples of vision statements.
16. Human Rights Campaign
“Equality for everyone.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s vision statement is short, simple, and straightforward. Because of that, it also leaves some meaning open to interpretation.
This strategy makes this vision statement example even more aspirational because it leaves the organization open to growth and lets readers interpret it how they want. In this way, it both inspires and invites people to support the organization’s efforts.
17. Alzheimer’s Association
“A world without Alzheimer’s.”
The Alzheimer’s Association’s vision statement is a good example of truly that—a vision. It doesn’t say it wants to pursue its goal. It doesn’t say it wants to inspire people to move toward it. The vision is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease. Still, how it will achieve it and what it does once it gets there—it leaves open to imagination.
Not only is this a confident vision statement, it’s unabashed as if to say, “This is our vision. It’s not changing. Because it’s that important.”
Because of these characteristics, this vision statement example from the Alzheimer’s Association is genuinely aspirational. It is the foundation of the organization’s efforts.
“A just and sustainable world.”
Like the Alzheimer’s Association, Oxfam International’s vision is ambitious and huge—probably impractically huge. However, that makes it inspiring. The fact that it seems impossible to achieve completely does not stop it from being an ideal worth striving for.
What an ambitious vision statement example like this one does is challenge everyone who reads it to answer why it shouldn’t be possible. Is it because it is truly impossible? Or is it because not enough people are willing to work together to make it happen?
If you have a visionary organization that hopes to change the world, a really bold and unapologetic vision statement like this is a great tool for reminding you and everyone associated with your organization that this dream is worth fighting for.
19. Feeding America
“A hunger-free America.”
This vision statement is simple and clear. No hunger in America. It is an easy goal to visualize, if not to put into practice.
This example of a vision statement is also broad enough to allow for multiple plans and tactics to make it happen. Any number of methods are possible strategies for accomplishing the vision of a hunger-free America.
20. Microsoft (the original one)
“A computer on every desk and in every home.”
Once upon a time, this vision statement was revolutionary and bold, even seemingly unattainable.
Now, there are computers not only in most homes but even in most pockets. Microsoft’s clear, bold, ambitious vision statement certainly played a part in that.
Tips for Writing an Effective Vision Statement
There are specific characteristics that effective vision statements have in common. Follow these tips to write a great new vision statement or update your current one to get your organization on track.
- Focus on the future. Create a future-focused vision statement by providing the “big picture” and clearly describing what your organization will be like in several years.
- Dream big. A world-changing vision is inspiring and exciting. People will get behind it. Don’t worry about whether it’s possible. Everything is impossible until it’s done.
- Be specific. An effective vision statement should be clear and focused enough to shape decision-making.
- Be clear. Use language that anyone can understand. Stay away from jargon and industry-specific terminology. Especially stay away from buzzwords like “maximize value.” Use words that actually mean something, or no one will know what you’re trying to do.
- Keep it short. You should be aiming for one to two sentences at most. Some of the best examples in the list above are just a few words. The shorter the vision statement, the easier it is to keep it in mind and stay focused on it.
- Stay relevant and purpose-driven. Keep in mind the challenges of the day and make adjustments as needed to stay relevant. Stay focused on the original purpose of your vision, while adapting to the needs of the present day.
- Define your values. Use your vision statement to describe the core values that are required to support the organization.
- Offer a challenge. A vision statement can challenge your employees and customers by inspiring them to do great things and achieve a higher level of standards.
- Say why you are unique and memorable. Your company’s vision statement will make more of an impact if it highlights what makes your organization different and why it matters.
- Inspire. Vision statements that inspire employees to commit to a cause are more effective than those that do not.
- Communicate it. Plan for how you are going to communicate your vision statement to your employees. This statement should be part of everyday life so that it becomes part of your culture and stays in everyone’s mind as the goal for all of their work.
Mission Statements vs Vision Statements
There can be confusion between a mission statement and a vision statement, or a lack of understanding of the relationship between the two.
Mission statements and vision statements are both important elements for business planning. Mission statements explain what the company does now or will do in the short-term future, and how it accomplishes it or will accomplish it.
A quick way to understand the difference between mission statements and vision statements is that vision statements say WHAT our dreams are, ultimately, in the big picture, and mission statements say HOW we are doing it. Vision statements, like in the examples above, describe things like inspiration, change, and solving problems for the greater good. Mission statements, on the other hand, describe things like specific actions, individual products and services, and definite plans for fulfilling the vision.
If you haven’t written your mission statement yet, check out our guide on how to write a mission statement.
When it’s time to write your company’s vision statement, don’t worry about making it perfect the first time. Begin a conversation and envision how you want your business to look in terms of growth, values, contributions to society, and culture. Make a note of the words that trigger the strongest emotions and illustrate your aspirations for the company. Then, craft a truly inspiring vision statement and incorporate it into your business plan.