Creating a Vision and Mission

For any business to succeed, it must know what it is about. It must be able to clearly describe why it is there, and what it is there to achieve. Developing a vision and mission statement is a way of articulating these ideas to yourself, your customers, your employees, and to the world at large.

A Business Vision that Inspires!

If you don’t know where you are heading, then you can make any choice and go in any direction (including backwards). The value in knowing your final destination (your vision) is that you can choose to take the specific paths that lead you there. Your action is intentional and keeps you pointed in the right direction.

Vision statements can take many forms. They answer the question: “What will success look like?” Their main purpose is to articulate the “dream” state of the business. If your business could be everything you dreamed, how would it be? To help you to craft your vision statement, try writing your answers to the following questions:

  • Why did I start this business?
  • When I move on from this business, what do I want to leave behind?
  • What am I really providing for my customers beyond products and services?
  • If my business could be everything I dreamed, how would it be?

Here are a few examples of powerful vision statements from the real world: – “To build the largest and most complete Amateur Radio community site on the Internet

Coachville – Everyone is a coach

Bill Gates – There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software

Once you have created the long-term vision for your business, it creates the context in which all other decisions are made. Your statement should stretch expectations, aspirations, and performance. Without that powerful, attractive, valuable vision, why bother?

A Clear Mission that describes what you do

For any business to succeed, even a business consisting of one individual, it (he/she) needs to know what they’re about – what, precisely, it is that they do. The mission statement describes the “what” of your business. It states why your organization is in business and what you are hoping to achieve.

A typical mission statement contains three components:

1. The overall purpose of your business – what are you trying to achieve, why are you in business
2. What your business does – products and services it provides
3. What’s important to your business – the values your business lives by

Some examples: Pfizer Pharmaceutical’s mission statement: “We dedicate ourselves to humanity’s quest for longer, healthier, happier lives through innovation in pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products”.

Purpose: quest for longer, healthier, happier lives
Business: pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products
Values: Innovation

Dell Computers statement – “With the power of direct and Dell’s team of talented people, we are able to provide customers with superb value; high-quality, relevant technology; customized systems; superior service and support; and products and services that are easy to buy and use”.

Purpose: provide customers with superb value technology
Business: high quality, relevant technology, customized systems
Values: superior service and support, easy to buy, easy to use

A well-crafted mission statement becomes the glue that binds the various parts of the business together and drives behavior in your employees. Is it time you had a look at yours?

About the author:
Megan Tough is director of complete potential, a leadership and HR consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. At complete potential we understand people - what engages them, what encourages them to perform, and what drives them away. With over 20 years experience working on HR issues in business, our job is to help you make the most of your investment in people. To learn more visit our website.
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