Think that a mission and vision statement is something that only fancy corporations have? Au contraire, mon ami.
Mission and vision statements are incredibly powerful statements that help define your present business objectives but also where you see your company going in the future.
Often misunderstood, here is a quick breakdown for you.
According to the business dictionary:
A mission statement is a written declaration of an organizations core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. Properly crafted mission statements (1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, (2) clearly state which markets will be served and how, and (3) communicate a sense of the intended direction to the entire organization.
A vision statement is an aspirational description of what an organization would like to accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
One easy way to remember the difference is that a mission is what you are doing today, and a vision is what you hope for tomorrow.
Why are mission and vision statements so important?
Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
That is, in essence, the reason why one of the first pieces of content you write for your business should be a mission and vision statement.
Having these locked down can make it very easy to know whether any step you take in your business is going to align with these statements. For example, should I take on client XYZ when she is hoping for a Z outcome, but I provide a Y outcome? Will I be able to stay true to my mission and my vision by taking on this client? If the answer is no, then you may consider passing on the client until the right one comes along.
Another reason it’s important to have these nailed down is that these statements are the heart of your company’s brand. Many people don’t realize that even as a solopreneur, you have a brand and that is being portrayed every day, in every way that you do business. From online to in-person interactions.
Having a mission and vision outlined also makes good content for your website. When people come across your website, a mission and vision statement is an easy way for people to tell if they need what you are selling. It also provides more words for google to analyze for SEO purposes.
A fantastically written mission and vision is also inspiring. Inspiration builds excitement, a “we are all in this together” mentality and keeps everyone moving forward with that same goal in mind or in the case of a solopreneur, a gentle reminder of why you are doing what you are doing.
It helps you to see how far you have come. A mission statement will often stay the same but the vision may change as your business changes and progresses. When you realize you have exceeded or moved past your original vision it can be motivating to realize how far you have come in your business journey.
There are many businesses today that buck tradition and simply combine their mission and vision into one powerful statement. However, be careful that the vision isn’t lost. Sometimes there is a tendency to focus on the mission only but the vision is an important element you don’t want to miss. If you want to combine them, I also suggest writing them both separately first and then putting them together.
Often it is helpful to see what other companies have done before crafting your mission and vision statements for the first time. Here are some examples of mission and vision statements from well-known companies. The first sentence is the mission and the second is the vision.
“To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
“To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
“To invent the next industrial era, to build, move, power and cure the world.”
“To become the world’s premier digital industrial company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive.”
It may seem like a mission and vision statement are easy to put together but it can take time and thought to write them properly. If you are looking to craft your mission and vision statement and can’t seem to find the right words I would be happy to help.