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Creating your vision

Once you’re clear on your mission, identify where that mission will lead you and (ideally, though not necessarily) when you aim to get there.

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Your vision can change with time. That’s okay and better than having a lot of people wandering around in the dark wondering if they’re on the right path. It’s normal for businesses to change focus as the world changes. As far as the “when” goes, this depends on your company, of course, but a distance of five years tends to be a good starting point in terms of planning.

For inspiration, check out these examples of compelling vision statements:

Alzheimer's Association: A world without Alzheimer's disease

Microsoft (original): A computer on every desk and in every home

Nike (older version): Crush Adidas

Impossible Foods: Completely replace the use of animals as a food technology by 2035

McDonald’s: 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.

ASPCA: That the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness

Southwest Airlines: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline

What makes a compelling vision statement?

Your vision should be specific enough to help you focus your resources, develop a strategy, and measure success. At any given point, it should be clear whether or not you’ve achieved your vision. And it should be broad enough to give you space to experiment along the way.

Here are some vision-setting questions for you and your founding team to answer:

Five years from now, what’s something you’d be deeply proud to achieve?

How about 20 years from now?

Imagine someone giving your personal eulogy. They talk about the amazing impact our company has had on the world. What do they say?

What results will we have to achieve in order to feel like we’ve made a meaningful difference?

Let’s say we are fully pursuing our mission every day for five years. What will we have to show for it?