Vision and mission statements are core parts of any business plan.
They help communicate what your company is, what it does, and its long-term goals. Unfortunately, they are also very difficult to write.
Like so many other things in business, though, you can’t just skip it because it’s difficult.
Writing your vision and mission statements forces you to distill your business into a few short sentences and will allow you to communicate these core ideas to investors, partners, and customers alike.
Vision Vs Mission
Vision and mission statements are often grouped together because they are so alike, but it’s important to be able to tell them apart before you write yours. So what are the differences?
Vision statements are about your company’s long-term goals. They are idealistic and aspirational.
Mission statements are about your day-to-day objectives and why you are working to achieve your vision.
They are dependent on each other, so you can see why you need both and it makes sense to write them together.
Before you start writing anything, it’s important to gather the information you already have about your organization – your pitch, your goals, your values, etc. Look through this information and identify common ideas and phrases you find yourself using over and over when discussing your business.
These core ideas can help you identify what you really want to communicate about your organization. This can be a good starting point for writing your vision and mission statements.
Writing Your Vision Statement
People generally write their vision statements before their missions. It can be easier to do things in this order because most entrepreneurs already know what their big aspirational goal is. What is your company trying to do? What problem are you trying to solve?
This should not be a statement of what products or services you provide because that list will expand and adjust as the industry and your company evolve. Think about how you want people to feel, what you want your company to be known for, or how you want to make the world better.
You should be able to get your vision down to one sentence, or at most.
Writing Your Mission Statement
Once you know what your big, long-term vision is, you can move on to your mission statement.
Think about what your business does to achieve your vision, who you do it for, and why you do it. Keep your mission more practical than your vision. If your vision is an aspirational goal, then your mission statement is what you do on a daily basis to achieve that goal.
Your mission statement can be a bit longer than your vision statement – somewhere between a sentence and a paragraph long.
Writing your mission and vision statements won’t be easy. You need to have a very deep understanding of what your company does and why you’re doing it, and even then perfecting your mission and vision is still going to take a lot of time.
You’ll need to find a balance between keeping your mission and vision statements specific enough to be unique to your business, but broad enough to be relevant even as your business grows and evolves. You can adapt or rewrite your mission and vision in the future if your business has really changed, but changing it too often or too drastically can be jarring for both your team and your consumers.
Your business needs a mission and vision statement to guide day-to-day operations, but they can be hard to write. Make sure you’re familiar with your business and what its long-term goals are before you start writing. It will take some trial and error to find the perfect mission and vision for your business, but they will help guide your business for years to come.