As a business owner or high-level executive, two of the most important things you can do to improve the focus of your business are to write a mission statement and write a vision statement. Although most people usually combine these two into the same category, they actually have very different functions for your business and require a different process for writing them. Learn what each type of statement is and how you can craft them to help guide your business.
The first statement you should write is the mission statement. In a nutshell, this statement captures how your business is unique and what important goal you want your business to achieve. The statement serves two major purposes. First, you can use it internally to motivate yourself and other employees every day you come to work. Second, you can show it to investors and stockholders to help them understand what your core purpose is as a business.
Write a mission statement by gathering the key team of leaders in the business and asking three major questions. First, what does your company do? Describe the end result of each successful transaction you complete, particularly paying attention to what the customer gets out of it. Second, how do you do it? Name some of the key qualities of your company that you want to pervade every action. Third, who do you serve? Describe your intended customer and a few of the key characteristics.
Once you have this information, consolidate your mission into a statement of your company’s purpose, including how you measure success. You should be able to look at this statement every day to keep you on track working hard on the day-to-day operations of the business to achieve this goal in the short term.
The more forward-thinking factor driving your business in the long term is your vision statement. This captures what you want your business to look like in the ideal world, and what brings you back to work day after day. As such, the vision statement needs to be inspiring, and something that you can share not only internally, but with your customers or the media.
To write your vision statement, close your eyes and imagine what you want the company to look like five or ten years down the road. What key purpose is the company serving? If you founded the company, what inspired you to do that, and what important role does your company have in its market?
After you have a vision statement, post it in a prominent place in your office. Every time you are faced with a major decision related to your business, look at the vision and ask yourself how you can make the decision in a way that coincides with your vision and moves you toward your desired outcomes.