Keeping Your Business Focused with Vision & Mission Statements

Dear M&M: Does my business really need a vision & mission statement to be successful? I’ve heard about them, but I just don’t see the point.  – Jerry

Dear Jerry: Having clear vision and mission statements can do more than just look pretty on the break room wall. When used effectively, they send a clear and definite strategy to not only you the owner but to your employees and even customers as well. Vision and Mission statements are a way for organizations to summarize their goals and objectives. We believe that vision and mission statements are an essential piece to running a successful business, and here’s why:

A vision statement sets the company’s long-term goals and aspirations clearly and concisely. It is a statement of purpose intended to inspire and motivate the company’s workforce by providing clear direction. The vision statement is a future-thinking statement that describes what the business would aspires to in the long-term. Used correctly, a vision statement can serve as a guide. A strong vision statement should inspire, direct, and also invoke a clear picture of the business’ intended goal. It should also be unique to the business. Take Microsoft’s for example, “There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software” This is a short and memorable statement, and it is focused on the long-term goal.

A vision statement can be used as a guide for all of the company’s actions and direction. If a planned course of action doesn’t move the company in the direction of the vision, it might not be the best course of action.

A Mission Statement on the other hand, is all about the present. It often defines the sector in which the business operates, the customer base and informs the members of the business or organization of the reason the business exists. A strong mission statement should do three things: inform, focus, and guide. If you’re crafting your own mission statement, ask yourself “why do we do what we do?” or “what makes us different than the competition?” With new businesses, often times the entrepreneur or owner knows the mission or the vision because it is the reason he or she started in the first place. However, getting a vision or mission statement out of your mind and on paper can be important for your employees, customers and yourself to stay on task.

Mission and vision statements sometimes may need to be revised over time, but they should always be what you want your organization to accomplish and be in line with an organization’s core values. Keep it short, make it real and make sure everyone in your organization knows what they are supposed to do to help you accomplish your mission and vision of what you want the organization to accomplish or at the minimum be working towards accomplishment.

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