Why your business needs a mission and vision statement
Every business needs clearly written mission and vision statements. Find out why, what the difference between them is, and how to get help writing yours.
The concept of having a ‘why’ for your business is familiar to most entrepreneurs, thanks to Simon Sinek. But we’re continually surprised at how many business owners don’t have a mission and vision for their business; much less know what they even are.
Having a clear mission and vision are such fundamental elements of a successful business that, when we work with business owners in our VIP coaching programme, we help them to write theirs.
So, if you’re not sure what they are, here’s a quick explanation for you.
What’s a company mission statement?
Your mission statement is a sentence describing your company’s function, market and competitive advantage. It defines what your company is, your business goals (and possibly values) and why you exist.
Your mission can be internal (only intended for you and your staff to see) or it can be public. Many companies proudly announce their mission statement on their website about us page, or even home page, and in their marketing collateral, keen to share their reason for being, and ethics.
Why is having a mission statement important?
A mission statement sums up what you do and why. It’s a useful reminder to check back to when making important business decisions, and ensures that any money you make fits with your intended purpose.
So if a potential opportunity aligns with your mission, you can pursue it with confidence. And if it takes you away from your mission, then you can turn it down without regret.
When you have a team of people working for you, a mission statement goes from a nice-to-have to an essential business tool.
A clear mission makes it easier to attract and hire the right people to take your business forward. And it makes sure you’re all working to the same agenda, with the same values.
“Having a well-defined mission not only gets the buy-in from my employees, but it helps clarify what my company does and does not do. It can be easy to get caught up in information overload and get distracted from the plan. Having a well-thought-out mission helps me and my employees stay focused.”
What does a mission statement look like?
To help you visualise what a company’s mission statement looks like, here are some famous examples:
- IKEA: To create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
- Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
- American Express: We work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected service brand.
- TED: Spread ideas.
As you can see there’s a big difference between the length of IKEA and TEDs’ mission statements, but they both clearly explain what these businesses do; their purpose.
What’s a company vision?
A vision is an image of what you want your business (or the world) to be in the future, based on your goals and aspirations. It’s the ideal you’re working towards as a company.
To give you an example of what your vision may look like, here are some famous company visions:
- Microsoft: There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software. (This was their first ever vision.)
- Disney: To make people happy.
- Amnesty International: A world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.
- SONY: To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.
Why a strong company vision will help customers ‘buy’ you
A vision statement that’s genuinely aligned with why you started your business can be an incredibly powerful sales tool.
Because, when all else is equal, people usually choose to give their money to businesses whose values and ethics are aligned with their own. With companies who they feel deserve their money. Businesses they like.
And the right vision statement will help you to attract your ideal customers; people who are looking for a business like yours and want to patronise someone with your values.
A vision statement is a big tick in that important know, like trust factor that motivates people to choose to buy from you. It helps customers to feel a connection with you. To know more about why you do what you do.
And it demonstrates care. It shows that you’re not just in this to earn money but to make a difference – either to your customers’ lives or the world as a whole.
What’s the difference between a mission and a vision statement?
Many people confuse mission and vision statements, or they just write one combined statement, believing it will suffice.
But there are key differences between a mission and a vision statement that makes them both important. Here’s a quick explanation of the key differences:
- Your mission statement talks about how you will get to where you want to be. It tells people what you do and what makes you different. It talks about what you are doing now.
- Your vision statement outlines where you want to be. It talks about where you’ll be in the future.
What’s our mission and vision?
Of course, we can’t lecture you on the importance of having a mission and vision statement for your company without having our own. So, to give you an idea of what they can look like, here are ours.
The Talented Ladies Club mission is:
To unlock the potential of mothers through curated, high quality information, education and community. Everything we do is created and delivered with positivity, honesty, bravery, authenticity and kindness.
As you can see, in our mission statement we also outline the values to which we work, as we feel that these values also help to differentiate us from other businesses operating in our space. They’re also a good reminder of the values we need to judge every decision and action we make by.
And our vision is:
A world in which the professional value of mothers is respected, and they have the confidence and opportunity to pursue their ambitions without limits, and earn the income they deserve.
Ready to write your mission and vision statements?
If you haven’t already got a clear, up to date mission and vision statements then now is the perfect time to write them. And don’t forget to complete the rest of your business plan while you are at it! If you need help, watch our our Business Plan Masterclass.
This class guides you through each section of your plan and includes a Word copy of our own business plan template. During the class we’ll explain why each section is important and what to write, and give you finished examples to guide you. You also get a copy of our class slides, so you can read through the examples we share in more detail as you complete your own business plan.
So, after watching this class you’ll be able to confidently complete a business plan for your own business – whether you choose to use our template or another.
Photo by John Mark Arnold