A while ago I wrote about the importance of a vision for your business. Since then I’ve had a number of conversations with business owners about their strategic planning for their business and discovered that many of them are having trouble determining the difference between a business vision and a business mission.
In this article I’ll look at the differences between a business’ vision and mission, and give you some ideas to develop effective vision and mission statements.
What’s a business vision?
A business vision is a statement about the company’s future business scope. It’s about where you’re headed. It talks about what your business will do and be known for in the future.
In a lot of cases, a vision statement can be summarised in a short slogan. Examples include:
- Levi Strauss & Company : “We will clothe the world by marketing the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world.”
- Nike : “To bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world.”
Another point to remember is that a good business vision statement or slogan can either be made public, or private. In a lot of cases, a vision is intended for the internal market only, and is not for the public.
What’s a business mission?
A mission generally looks at the present reality of a business. In a simple sense it’s about who you are, what you do and why you’re here.
A mission statement is frequently found in a lot of the public marketing documentation of the company. It talks about why the company exists, and why you should do business with them.
Crafting effective vision and mission statements
I’ve been involved with a few organisations when they’ve developed their vision and mission statements. Some common problems I’ve seen include:
- Making statements too vague and too general.
- Too broad – covers so many areas that it doesn’t provide any clear direction
- Bland – it’s too boring and uninspiring. No-one gets excited by it.
To build an effective statement, make sure it’s graphic, forward-looking, focused (not too broad), possible, desirable and easy to communicate.
Importantly, once you’ve completed your mission and vision statements - use them! I’ve seen too many organisations who have invested days into crafting these statements, only to forget about them.
I was speaking with someone last week about their goals and vision for their life and I made the comment that a good vision is like a compass – it keeps us on track and helps us focus on the things that are important.
Do you have a vision or plan for your business? What do you think about these ideas? Leave a comment below.