The Business Difference: Know Your True Mission & Vision
The main difference is that your mission statement explains what your business is doing now while your vision statement will make a plan for where your going in the future and how you will get there. Of course there is more to it than that. In this article we will break it down for you with the differences, when you need them and where to get help.
Other differences are that a mission statement is dynamic. This means it will change as your business grows and evolves. It clarifies how you are operating and managing your business now. A vision statement is static. This means they do not normally change. Instead, it used as a tool to help you and your team focus, set and reach future goals. For this reason, it might make sense for your business to begin with a mission statement and add a vision statement as you move further down the line.
It is possible you might determine your business needs only a mission statement. It is true, however, that most businesses', those determined to grow and expand anyway, need both.
You should focus on your mission statement first:
Creating a mission statement for your business is the equivalent of developing your blueprint for success and that is why it is important. For this reason, you will create this statement first. Once completed, most business will create their vision statement. The difference here is that a vision statement can be created later on; after the business is up and running. As for a mission statement, you will want to prepare that from the get go and use it as you plan for and open your business.
So why do some companies decide not to have both?
Honestly, having a mission and vision statement can be confusing if they are not prepared correctly or shared with staff in the appropriate way. An employee that is not made aware can get confused about which to follow. They might also misinterpret information or forget. Many people don't understand the key differences between a mission and vision statement. If you are a business owner, and creator of your plans, it is also your job to ensure your staff knows them, is properly educated and knows how to implement them. Make this a part of your corporate training, weekly meetings, quarterly updates and/or annual summaries.
Where can I get help?
Using tools like the Entrepreneurial Operating System Implementer, you can work to easily create effective and understandable mission and vision statements for your company and your team.
So what is a vision statement?
Once you have a mission statement, it is that much easier to create a vision statement and make your growth plan for the future. The vision statement will come second to your mission statement.
A few things to consider with your vision statement?
- What level do I want to take my business to?
- Do I want to turn 1 location into 10?
- Do I want to franchise this concept?
- Do I want to grow sales from $1,000,000 annually to $10,000,000?
- Do I want to take my company public?
Your vision statement should also discuss how you will get there.
Will you hire a marketing staff, implement better software, etc?
Once you have determined how you see your business growth, you can use that with every business decision you make. Ask yourself, "Is this the right decision to get me to goal x"? You will be surprised how effective it is to make decisions with your end game in mind.
The bottom line:
The bottom line, your mission statement is your short term plan while your vision statement is your long term plan.
Let's focus on specifics:
A mission statement should answer:
- Why does my business exist?
- What should I do right now to keep my business growing?
- Who do we serve and for what purpose?
- How will my business profit today?
A vision statement should answer:
- Where do I see my business in one, five or even 10 years?
- What steps do I take and when do I take them?
- How do I make major changes or advancements leveraging tools like financing, marketing and partnerships?
- Length: A mission statement should be short and concise. You can use “The T-Shirt Rule,” which is that you can fit it on a T-shirt, yet it must be understandable. A vision statement might take up an entire page. It is a complete overview of where you see your business going.
- Purpose: A mission statement will provide specific information on what you should be doing right now. A vision statement should provide inspiration to help you see where you are going.
- Origin: A mission statement comes from your head and clarifies exactly what you need to do now. A vision statement comes from your heart and challenges you to reach higher goals.
So how do I define my core values?
Your mission statement is a tool for collaboration, so it should reflect the main purpose and values of your organization. It should also be short and clear enough for everyone to remember and even memorize in less than 15 minutes. An effective mission statement should provide the following:
- Motivation to move forward.
- Passion to work together and accomplish milestones.
- Specific actions to take now.
- Anticipation of changes or growth in the business.
- Clarity of knowing exactly what to expect.
Some companies create a separate value statement for internal use. They use it to define how everyone in the organization will carry out organizational activities. Nowadays, most businesses include them in the mission statement. Some examples of core values might include:
- Following high ethical standards.
- Focusing on innovative or new business ideas.
- Protecting and respecting the environment.
- Addressing the changing wants and needs of clients or customers.
The difference is in the details.
A mission statement might reveal how you intend to get where you want with your business. It is your chance to really define your purpose and objectives such as defining how you will meet your customer's needs and create team values. A vision statement, on the other hand, might showcase more of an outline for where the business is going. It really helps convey convey values in terms of the future goals and growth.
Your mission statement might experience subtle or even major changes as your business evolves. Be open to those updates but realize they should not change your vision for the future. This is why most businesses create their mission statement first with a vision statement coming afterward; as they see the ebb and flow. Whether you use one or both, remember they are the tools for keeping everyone on the same page.
Jack Hodgson started his tech business several years ago, never quite expecting the instant success that hit him. Now in a place where he can reflect, he is sharing his business knowledge with an online audience.