Mission and vision statements enable you to understand and acknowledge where your business stands and what it is about.
They give you a clear sense of direction and purpose
It’s vital to define your mission and vision statements as they will be the overriding message your business will consistently return back to. They are the statements that show where you want to be in the future and makes decision making a whole lot easier. It makes sure that any decisions you make will directly help and assist you to follow your mission and vision statements.
Without defining clear mission and vision statements, it’s hard to tell what problems would be caused if you were to go out of business. It’s an extremely negative situation that no one wants to prepare for, but it needs to be done. Mission and vision statements will tell you the answers to certain questions if you were to go out of business.
Have you defined your mission and vision statements?
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is defined as a “formal summary of the aims and values of a company”.
It’s designed to tell you, and others, why your business exists
Your mission statement will, essentially, be there to drive your team to achieve the best they can achieve as well as assisting in making decisions. If decisions do not go hand-in-hand with your mission statement it may be an indication that they shouldn’t be made. As well as this, a mission statement should offer a summary of what you offer and how it solves certain problems.
Where do you begin? Finding your Why
All businesses have a why. They have a reason for what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. You need to focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing. The why of your business is the purpose and belief - why does your company exist?
Simon Sinek famously stated that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. If you can focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing, how it can benefit others and how you’re looking to better people’s experiences in certain areas - it’ll be much more effective than focussing on what you do.
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement is defined as “a company’s road map, indicating both what the company wants to become and setting a defined direction for the company’s growth”.
Your vision statement is an opportunity to inject your inspiration, passion and aspirations into the long term business plan
It’s a statement that enables you to see where you’re wanting to go, what your goals are and, essentially, how you’re going to reach these goals. It’s vital to have a vision statement as, without it, you’re not going to know your overall goals and it’s going to prove difficult to know which direction you’re needing to go in.
It may prove tough to define these goals and the path you’re going to take. However, even if you do carve this path - you do not have to stick to it indefinitely. You can always go off course if it makes sense and if it will actually assist you in reaching your goals. It’s important to remember these goals even if the direction you’re taking has altered.
Why Should you Create a Mission and Vision Statement?
The benefits of defining a mission statement
1. It encourages alignment
Business alignment is essential; and having a mission statement is a great way to align your business. It organises everything and makes sure everything in terms of your business is coordinated. Having all the communication lined up and ensuring the whole team all have the same knowledge in terms of your business is absolutely vital. It makes sure your business runs smoothly.
2. It streamlines decision making
Decisions need to be made with confidence. They need to be made knowing that they are worth it and they work alongside your mission statement. A well defined mission statement allows decisions to be made more easily because it provides a decision making foundation. It provides almost and outline for what your decisions should be.
3. It strengthens your brand
Having a defined mission statements allows others to see that your business is serious, professional and enthusiastic. It automatically strengthens your brand, it shows that your brand runs a lot deeper than just a logo and a website. A mission statement will sculpt your audiences view of you.
The benefits of defining a vision statement
1. It serves as an opportunity evaluation framework
A vision statement gives you a focal point, allowing you to use it to look through opportunities and determine the best course of action. You can weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the opportunity against your vision statement; your goals, intended path, and more.
2. It’s inspiring
The statement should be something that people, in your team and outsiders, can look at and immediately feel inspired. A vision statement is something to give your team motivation. It gives you a purpose; something to work towards and feel that you’re achieving something.
3. It helps employees envision a future at your company
Without vision statements, how can you expect your team to see a future? If they can’t see a future in the actual business, they’re not going to be able to see their future role in the company. A vision statement assists employees to see how their future will go at their company if all goals are reached.
How to Create a Mission Statement
Ask yourself why do you do what you do
Do you know your why? Do you understand why your business does what it does? It’s vital to know your why and be able to exploit the why of your business. People are attracted to why, not what.
Your why is all about your values and beliefs. It’s all about showing your human side and ensuring people are aware of what you stand for. If they know what you stand for they can begin to trust you and put their confidence in you.
Ask yourself how you do what you do
It’s all well and good knowing why you do (and what you do) but do you have an extended knowledge on how you do it? You need to know how you approach certain situations and issues. There might be different ways you go about something, here are a few ideas…
Offer 24/7 live chat for your customers
Assign dedicated representatives to high-value customers
Offer only email communication for troubleshooting customer issues
Have a support line set up from 8am - 5pm for customer calls
Conduct research to ensure customers are making the most of your product or service
Spend time answering how you go about tasks. These tasks may range from small everyday tasks, to large tasks. Even defining these how’s will assist your team in completing the tasks.
Ask yourself what you do for your customers
It’s vital to know what you do for your customers and what help you provide. Businesses solely exist to help people, so how do you help people and what do you do for them?
Try to define this in a way that will be attractive to your customers. Make it as brief as possible and be sure to outline what you can do for them. Summarise the main things you can help with, and try to summarise it in a clear, concise way.
How to Create a Vision Statement
Get in a forward thinking mindset
When creating a vision statement, you’re going to have to think forwardly and into the future. You need to determine where your business should be, or where you want it to be. When defining a vision statement it allows you to truly see the work necessary to reach those goals.
You must also think about any obstacles that could occur along the way. It’s important to consider what could potentially hinder your progression, and factor them in properly.
Some questions to ask at this stage could include…
What types of products or services might interrupt ours in the marketplace?
What types of growing pains are we going to experience if we scale the company?
How many additional resources can we anticipate needing to get where we want to go?
Why is this vision the best outcome? Who benefits? How?
Define your SMART goals
Having SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timed) goals is probably one of the best approaches when setting goals. It enables you to set goals that are actually possible and attainable. It’s important that your goals follow the SMART approach as it covers all areas and ensures you’re not setting yourself up for failure.
Edit and refine
As you progress, you’re going to need to edit and refine your vision statement. You may have been optimistic or pessimistic about certain things - and it’s completely okay to alter these parts of the statement to make it more realistic for your business.
Another aspect of editing and refining your vision statement will come from any performance and feedback your team has gained over time. It will give you an accurate representation of how your goals are coming along and whether the path you’re taking is an effective one.
It’s very clear that defining mission and vision statements is imperative.
Your business needs to have mission and vision statements in place to show the team and potential customers/current customers the route the business will be taking
The future doesn’t have to be predicted or set in stone. Obviously, you need to set realistic goals for where you want your business to be in the future but this does not mean that that is the only future option. As your business progresses things will change and paths will alter - which then may alter the future. It’s good to be ever changing rather than remaining stagnant and a constant straight line.
Remember; your mission and vision statements give somewhere for your business to go and it gives your business a deeper meaning. It gives a clear definition to your business and where your business should be in a matter of years.