Creating Effective Vision Statements for Social Enterprises

5 min read

As a social enterprise, you not only want to sell your product or service, you want to contribute to the greater good of society. So, if you met all of your goals, what would the world look like?

Vision statements for social enterprises are just as important as nonprofit vision statements because they are the light that guides your company’s mission and goals and ensure impact is part of your culture.

But unfortunately, most vision statements for social enterprises just aren’t that compelling, and many social enterprises don’t have a vision statement at all. Some social entrepreneurs don’t believe for-profit companies need one. Here at Prosper, we disagree. Having a concise social enterprise vision statement ensures you and your staff, leaders and customers are working toward a future where your mission reaches its full potential. A vision statement should be used both internally and externally and express why you do what you do in a way that inspires and encourage loyalty among stakeholders. Ultimately, your vision statement gives your company a reason for being.

Vision statements for #socents are just as important as #nonprofit #visionstatements. Click To Tweet

So, if you don’t already have a vision statement, or yours just isn’t compelling, what should you do about it?

Understand what effective vision statements for social enterprises look like

Before you get started developing your vision statement, take a moment to absorb the elements of an effective vision statement, and think about why your company needs one. Powerful vision statements for social enterprises:

  • Take your company out of its present reality and allow you to strive for something greater.
  • Capitalize on your company’s core competencies.
  • Provide a picture of what your company will look like in the future.
  • Create a vivid image in your customers’ and staff members’ minds that promotes enthusiasm.
  • Clarify the direction your social enterprise needs to move.
  • Give employees and customers a larger sense of purpose.

Once your team understands what a vision statement should look like, begin brainstorming and workshopping toward one.

Keep your mission in mind

Your mission encompasses the steps you’re taking to achieve your vision. So, were you to fully achieve your mission, what would the world look like? That’s your vision.

While a vision statement expresses the future you want to create, a social enterprise mission statement expresses what you will do every day to meet your goals. Because they work hand-in-hand, it’s difficult to create one statement without the other! You may already have a mission statement, and if that’s the case, you can look to it for guidance before crafting your vision statement.

Your #mission encompasses the steps you’re taking to achieve your #vision. Click To Tweet

If you don’t already have a vision statement, it helps to know what your company is focused on today before you can create a vision for your future. A powerful mission statement:

  • Motivates and inspires customer commitment.
  • Is realistic and clear.
  • Is specific, short, sharply focused and memorable.
  • Says what your social enterprise wants to be remembered for.

Once you’ve crafted a mission statement you’re proud of, you’re ready to start developing your vision statement.

Engage with the right group of people to create your statement

Just like mission statements, vision statements for social enterprises are foundational strategic assets that define how companies make decisions and spend their time. It’s not just a marketing line. That means you should involve your leadership in the development of your vision.

If possible, you should also make crafting your vision statement a participatory process and involve other internal and external stakeholders. To truly understand what your target stakeholders want the future of your company to look like, conduct interviews with staff, leaders, customers and beneficiaries. Involving these key players is as much about making them feel heard as it is about getting their valuable input.

As a for-profit company, you have the opportunity to ask your customers for feedback through testimonials and surveys to understand how they perceive your brand and your offerings. These insights can be used to build upon your vision.

Choose visioning exercises for your group to draft your vision statement from

You probably won’t have a final vision statement in just one day. In fact, you shouldn’t, because you want to give your team time to consider the possibilities and all of their implications. So, we recommend holding a series of workshops to get your wheels turning on the road to finding the exact language for your social enterprise’s vision statement.

Depending on who you want to involve in helping formulate your vision statement, different brainstorming exercises may work for you. At Prosper, we like to encourage our clients to think about what an ideal news headline about their company would look like 20 years from now. What could be newsworthy about your company? What goal would you have achieved that could be reported? Prompts like this can help you and your team dust off the cobwebs, and get the ball rolling in a vision statement brainstorm.

Ask your customers for feedback through testimonials and surveys to understand how they perceive your #brand and your offerings. Click To Tweet

Once you’ve wordsmithed your vision statement, make sure it fits with the rest of your brand language and aligns with your mission. Retracing your steps will ensure you didn’t get derailed while developing your vision statement, and that your team is making decisions strategically.

It’s time to draft a compelling vision for your social enterprise.

Download our Essential Social Enterprise Marketing Plan Template worksheets to get started not only building a compelling vision statement for your social enterprise, but a plan of action to achieve it.

Download our Essential Social Enterprise Marketing Plan Template worksheets to get started not only building a compelling vision statement for your social enterprise, but a plan of action to achieve it.

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