Do you know what your business’ vision and mission are? Can you effortlessly share what you’re all about?
Or are they something that you came up with in a strategic planning session years ago that you occasionally dust off to re-write into a grant application?
Your business’ vision and mission statements should be more than just a process you go through because you know you ‘should have them’. These statements are core to understanding and communicating what you’re about. They are the guiding principles for deciding what to do, and how.
If your vision and mission statements are a bit bland, wordy or outdated, you are not alone. But we are here to help. These are our top tips on shaping them into something useful that reflects what you’re all about.
What is the difference between a mission and vision statement?
A vision statement describes your business’ desired future state and where you ideally would like to be within a certain timeframe. A mission statement describes what you do, who you do it for and the value you provide. It also maps out what you’re going to do in the immediate future, in order to fulfill your vision. You want to have both, as one supports the other. Having carefully thought out (rather than hastily thrown-together) vision and mission statements that are aligned with your strategic plan gives everyone within the business shared purpose and direction.
Writing your vision statement
Since your vision statement is your ideal destination, it makes sense to think about this first. After all, you don’t just hop in your car and start driving aimlessly. You first have a destination in mind, then you think about how to get there.
Here are some questions to think about when writing your vision statement:
- Why are you in business? Beyond the obvious goal of earning money, what drove you to start your business, and continue to run it?
- What problem/s are you trying to solve? Why does this problem matter to your clients and do you have the best solution?
- How do you plan on solving the problem/s? What are you doing right now to help clients solve their problems? What might you be able to do better in the future?
- What are your business’ core values and principles? Are your employees aware of them so they can help represent your business in the best way possible? Does your culture reflect these values?
- What is your dream for your business in 5 or 10 years? How will you get there? Are you currently on track? Are your people in a postion to help you get there?
Writing your mission statement
Your mission statement answers a few basic questions, as well as providing you and your team with a roadmap for how to get to your destination – your vision.
Here are some questions to think about when writing your mission statement:
- What do you do? What are the products and/or services that you provide? Are they in line with your vision?
- Who do you do it for? Who are your clients? Not just anyone who would buy your products or services, but your ideal client that you have in mind when designing your products or services.
- What value do you provide? What problem do you solve for clients? And why are you better than your competitors?
- How are you going to achieve your goals? What are you doing right now that is on track to achieving those goals? What might be hindering you from achieving them?
Need some help?
Neither your vision or mission statement need to be long. In fact, the shorter the better, so that your people can easily remember, understand and share exactly what your business is about and where it’s headed. But it can be difficult to clearly and succinctly articulate your vision and mission.
Our Strategy Intensive sessions might be perfect if you need some clarity and advice on taking the next (right) step for your business.