Ideally, any business or project is be based on the principle to change the world for the better. Any change, in turn, needs a vision and a purpose.
A vision needs to fulfill three criteria to set it apart as really great: it needs to be inspiring, larger than shareholders, and.. uhum... visionary. The last one might seem a bit obvious, but it really isn't.
A vision statement defines the company. It is the purpose, and the soul, of the company.
An inspiring vision that enthuses people can help conceive new business. It can assist in recruiting new talent. It is what makes employees wake up with a smile as they get up for work on Mondays, instead of dragging their feet out of bed.
I hear you say: "kind of obvious, huh?" I don't think it is, though. In fact, I believe this is what - more than anything - sets great visions apart from the rest.
A visionary thought is a new and insightful idea. It is thought-provoking and intriguing.
Business oriented goals that you often find in mission statements are usually not visionary. There's nothing original about creating the best product, making the largest profit, or gaining market shares.
Larger Than Shareholders
The vision needs to be larger than economics.
If the company vision is rooted in finances and related to profits it won't be the least bit inspiring. At least not to non-shareholders: customers, most employees, and so on.