Mission vs. Vision Statement: Similarities, Differences, and Why They Matter to Your Small Business
The mission statement and vision statement are the dynamic duo of a company’s identity. But they serve different purposes and often have unique uses and applications. Understanding the differences between a mission statement vs. a vision statement can help you craft concepts that align with your business goals and demonstrate to those on the outside what the company represents.
Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement
Unsure of what a mission statement should convey vs. the meaning of a vision statement? You’ve come to the right place.
Mission statement definition and purpose
The mission statement serves as the company’s compass, providing a concise declaration of its purpose for existing. It also outlines what it offers and who falls into its definition of the target audience. When company leaders make decisions about future growth and efforts, they should utilize this statement to keep everyone on the same page.
Crafting a solid mission statement requires the ability to capture the essence of the organization in a few meaningful sentences. It can drive the day-to-day operations and offer a sense of direction to anyone who reads it.
Vision statement definition and purpose
Where the mission statement defines the purpose and aims of the organization, the vision statement looks to the future. If comparing it to an inanimate object, you could think of it like a crystal ball that’s used to look forward and describe where the business wants to be. When reading the vision statement, employees and business leaders should feel aligned and motivated toward what can be achieved together.
How Mission and Vision Statements Work Together
Regardless of the size of your business, you need to outline the current reason for existing and where it will go in the future. Small business owners must take the time to craft these statements and share them with potential customers, partners, vendors, investors, and employees. Explore some of the ways that mission and vision statements work together to promote business success.
Starting and developing your company culture
New and established companies alike simply can’t afford to ignore the importance of a supportive and positive culture. Company culture is the heartbeat of your business, influencing the way people interact with one another both inside and outside the organization.
But it’s impossible to achieve the culture you want if team members aren’t sure about how they fit into the future of the business. Defining the reason for existing (mission statement) and where the company will go (vision statement) are the first steps in establishing the culture.
Creating a roadmap for the present and future of the business
If you don’t have a view of what you want to achieve in the future, business growth and success may go right out the window. After all, it’s impossible to achieve goals you haven’t set. Businesses of all sizes require roadmaps to represent future plans and the steps that need to be taken along the way to achieve them. Your vision statement can serve as the starting point for that roadmap.
Communicating your value and purpose to partners and customers
Today’s customers and partners want more from the brands they support. They want to know why companies are providing specific goods and services, and they also want to have a positive experience when interacting with a business. With a well-crafted mission and vision statement, you can communicate why your business does what it does, along with the reasons for supporting the organization. This type of messaging can forge a connection and strengthen loyalty.
Defining employee career paths
When your small business brings on employees, they want to know that they’re working toward professional growth and success. Using your vision statement, you can outline and define career paths for team members, helping them to see the potential for their future. This effort can also boost employee retention and build stronger teams.
How to Write Mission vs. Vision Statements
Wondering how to write your mission and vision statements? Good news! We have a step-by-step guide to each on our blog. (Plus, we included examples of both types of statements to help get your creative juices flowing.)
Where to Utilize Mission and Vision Statements
- Mission statement: Your mission statement should be reflected in all internal and external communications. If you work in a shared space, print it out and put it on the office wall to make sure team members see it regularly. When making decisions and planning company operations, use the mission statement to keep everyone on the same page.
- Vision statement: Share your vision statement in marketing materials and client-facing digital efforts, including your website. Think about how you can incorporate it in internal meetings to keep all employees working together toward shared goals. You could also emphasize the plans for the future when designing your business roadmap and setting goals each year.
Updating and Revising Your Mission and Vision Statements
Mission and vision statements shouldn’t become stagnant – think of them as working documents that can always be refined and improved. As your business grows, you may encounter new obstacles that require a shift in the way you handle everyday tasks or market to your target audience. When these changes occur, make sure to reassess your vision statement and mission statement to ensure alignment.
Wondering when to update? Here are some key times to take another look at the statements:
- When bringing on new team members
- After major business shifts
- When hosting strategic planning sessions for future business goals
If you’re not sure how to update, here is a step-by-step guide to refreshing your mission or vision statement:
Start with a blank slate
It can be difficult to come up with something different when you’re stuck in what you already have. Consider putting aside your current statements and starting fresh. Think about where your business is now and where you want to go in the future. Try to assess what has changed within the organization and how to reflect those shifts in a concise way. Ask yourself, what are the current vision and mission of your organization? Use these details to create something new.
Review and compare current statements
After beginning with a blank slate and coming up with brand-new statements, review what you wrote with what you already have. You may want to consolidate these concepts, taking a little from each to better reflect the current goals and future aims of your organization.
Be open to making changes to your statement, as business is an ever-changing world. You might find that what you set out to do is no longer the main focus of the organization. It’s better to shift your messaging to serve as an accurate representation, rather than holding onto the things of the past.
Collect feedback and refine
Your team members are highly valuable in sharing what they see as the mission and future of the business. After all, they’re the ones handling the day-to-day operations and working directly with customers and other third parties. Ask for feedback and make changes accordingly. You may find that, while you have a specific idea of what the business is doing, the employees see things differently. Their insights can be invaluable as you shape your branding and messaging.
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