Why Are You in Business? Your Guide to Mission and Vision StatementsPosted by sabrina
Laurence J. Peter
As Laurence J. Peter so succinctly put it, your business needs an overarching goal and vision to guide it to success. This is why vision and mission statements are an integral part of your business plan. However, many people confuse the two. How are they different?
A vision statement is a picture painted in words that visualizes what your business could become or how it wants to transform the world within the next few years. It is the great big overarching idea that sits above all of the company’s goals. It focuses all of the company’s efforts on one clear purpose. A powerful vision statement clarifies your company’s priorities, establishes its core beliefs, and makes it easier to set actionable goals.
Example: “There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software.”
Think about fast-forwarding a few years into the future and picture your fully-established business thriving. What do you see? How has your company changed the environment in operates in? This is your vision for the future of your business and it forms the core of your vision statement.
A mission statement lays out how you’re going to get to where you want to be. It can act as a guide for decision-making. A mission statement incorporates the following three things:
- Who your customers are.
- What your company provides these customers.
- What it is that makes your company unique and drives these customers to you.
Example: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- Market: global users
- Contribution: information organization
- Distinction: universally accessible and useful
Combined, your vision and mission statements define why you are in business, what your values are, and what you’re doing to execute your vision of the future. Have you come across useful vision and mission-building exercises that you’d like to share?