Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or own a well-established company, creating a compelling vision is an integral component to your business. Although it might just seem like words on paper, it actually provides your company with a framework and purpose that you can utilize to center your company, giving everyone a “true North.” Here are 8 keys to creating a vision statement that not only help you define your business but that can allow you to better align your business to its core.

Do your research

Before you begin to write a new vision statement or revise your current one, ensure that you truly understand its purpose within your business. Read your favorite organizations’ statements and think about ones that you already know by memory (there’s a reason that you remember them). Take notes about which ones you like (or dislike) and why you prefer one over the other. You don’t have to be like everyone else, but it might be helpful to see what other companies are doing and how they’ve composed their vision statements around their products, services, and company culture.

Define your purpose

Your vision statement will be void of meaning if they are not anchored to your company’s purpose. Dig deep into why you created your company and what purpose you intended it to serve. What is your core purpose? Why do you exist? What value do you provide? Think about why your business exists not only for its customers, but for the employees, community, and world. Why choose your company over a competitor? When your employees are grounded with a purpose, they will find work more meaningful and motivational, which is directly tied to your company culture. It is this “why” that will drive the what and the how, and it will provide a solid foundation for a strong vision statement.

Be inspirational

While it’s essential to make your vision statement accurate, practical, and attainable, including inspirational elements can help move your customers and motivate your employees. Most decisions people make are based on emotional response. Put yourself in their shoes, what would motivate you to choose one company over another? Or to get out of bed and come to work? A dry and matter-of-fact statement will not have the same impact as a vision statement that reflects your true purpose or meaning. If you aren’t communicating your purpose to your customers and employees, then who is? Play with the language and the message so that it sparks feelings and inspires actions.

Be specific

Don’t get caught up in trendy buzzwords or popular industry phrases that form a generalized perception about your business that blends in with the crowd. Choose each word carefully and ensure that every sentence is relevant and personal to your business so that it resonates with your employees. What makes your company different from others in your industry? Start by brainstorming words and phrases that you believe best describe your company, its products, and its employees, and build your vision statement from there. Your employees will be more productive and proactive when there isn’t a doubt about the vision of their organization.

Take your time

Well-crafted vision statements are not created overnight. Your company will be centered around this statement, so it must be thoughtful and powerful. If you’re going to write a vision statement that is rushed and void of purpose, you might as well not write one at all. This statement has a long lifespan so it’s crucial to spend time polishing and revising it until it represents your external brand and internal company culture accurately. Taking the time to develop a quality vision statement will be beneficial when it comes to developing relationships with customers or training employees.

Make it short

While there is no right or wrong length to your mission statement, some of the most powerful and memorable ones are short and sweet. Be concise and get to the point so that they are easy for employees to consume. Avoid flowery language and unnecessary fillers that take up space but don’t really say anything. If your statement runs long, that might be a sign that you haven’t nailed down your purpose enough, and you might need to spend time chiseling it down so that your thoughts are more compact and focused. The length might depend on your industry, but it’s better to aim for a shorter length.

Consider your goals

Mission statements of companies should shed light on the journey to overarching goals. Did you found your company to eliminate a problem, to highlight a global issue, or improve a product or service? Think about how you visualize the future of your company and make sure that those future visions are directly or indirectly reflected in your mission and vision statements. Understanding your short-term and long-term goals can help inspire you while writing, which ensures that the present and future are expressed to your employees.

Reflect company culture

Your company culture is a big part of your vision statement. The language you use and the values you reflect have everything to do with your company’s culture, which directly affects customers and employees. If your company vision statement doesn’t communicate your company’s unique culture, it will seem disjointed or disconnected with the organization which will make it hard for customers and employees to align with your brand. Refine your company culture so that you can create a shared understanding of the values weaved throughout your organization.

Creating or redefining a strong vision for your organization is key to acquiring new customers, developing a meaningful rapport with existing customers, and building a strong foundation for a distinct company culture. When there is a clear and accessible vision statement, your customers will choose your product or service based on not only what you’re offering but why and how you do it. Employees will appreciate clarity and purpose in an organization that knows who they are and that has a well-developed company culture that is intertwined in every aspect of the business, not just on Fridays. Trainings with new employees will be smoother and existing employees will have a concept to anchor their work, behavior, and attitude to every day.

Clear vision statements are a favorable start (or re-start) to ensuring that your values are showing up in every aspect of your company, creating a positive impact on your customers and employees.