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  • Writer's pictureSarah Turnbull

What's the Difference Between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement?

Infographic on how a mission statement feeds into a vision statement

A mission statement is a concise and clear declaration of your company's current purpose, values and goals. It communicates the company's reason for existence, what it does and who it serves.

It serves as a guide for decision-making and provides direction for your company's strategy, operations and culture. A well-crafted mission statement should be memorable, inspire employees and resonate with your target audience and customers.

It should reflect your company's values and communicate your unique sales proposition (‘USP’). A mission statement can be used to differentiate your company from your competitors and can help to build a strong and consistent brand image.

A good mission statement is also effective as a guide for how your company conducts itself. It should be embedded in the company culture and when you’re making business decisions, you should refer to your mission statement and see if your decision aligns with it.

A key part of company culture, a mission statement makes sure everyone is aiming for the same goals. It will also help employees understand the value of what they do!

A mission statement is a critical part of a business plan and can be used in elevator pitches when you’re introducing your business to new audiences. And they can evolve over time as the business grows and changes.

In contrast, a vision statement outlines the aspirations and future goals of your company. It communicates the company's long-term plans and its desired future state.

It sits alongside a company’s mission statement, but they shouldn’t be confused with one another. The vision statement provides a clear picture of where your company is heading and sets out what you want to achieve in the future.

A well-crafted vision statement should be inspiring, ambitious and achievable. It should provide a clear direction for your company's growth and should be a rallying call for your employees and stakeholders.

A vision statement can also be used to motivate employees around a shared purpose, helping to build a strong company culture.

How to create a mission statement:

Image of a tablet with Google on it

Think of your mission statement as a roadmap to achieving your vision. You’re writing the philosophy and driving principles to help you reach your goals. Follow these steps to craft a winner:

1. Think about your story. What makes your business different? What’s the reason your target audience would buy from you? This forms the background of your mission statement, it’s not necessarily included in it.

2. Start your mission statement by writing down what it does for your customers. What’s the good that your business does? What’s the benefit? How do you want your business to make a difference?

This needs to be unique but doesn’t have to be earth-changing. We can’t all reverse climate change, but we can all make a name for ourselves within our niche. Just as an aside, don’t say you’re passionate – every man and his dog says that and it’s not like you’re going to admit you’re NOT passionate, so customers will take it as a ‘given!its’

3. Think about what your business does for your employees – do you make their lives better by providing a fantastic place to work or focusing on improving their financial well-being, for example? This isn’t a mandatory part of your mission statement but if you do good things for your employees, it's great to include it in your statement. It'll also make your employees feel more valued. A good company is built with, and retains, good employees, so if you do great things, tell the world about it in your mission statement.

4. You can include the mission of ownership. Once again, it’s not always included (like employees), but can set your mission statement apart from your competitors.

5. Edit, edit, edit! Review, discuss and edit. A mission statement should be concise. Tell your audience what you do for them, how you do it and the impact on themselves and your employees and owners, if you decided to include those sections. Don’t be generic, don’t be wishy-washy. Set out your stall in what you do and why you do it.

How to create a vision statement:

Image of a tablet with a text explanation of a vision statement

Think of your vision statement as your goal. You’re written the driving principles already, this is the place you want to get to.

1. Start by thinking where you want your business to be in the future – I’d suggest at least five years, but preferably 10.

2. Think about your business values and culture. Think about your short-term goals and the behaviour your company embodies to meet your mission statement.

3. Focus on the successes you want to achieve and how you want to make a difference to your target audience within your business niche.

4. Write using simple language. Don’t use jargon. Keep things short and write what you feel about where you want your business to go.

5. Make sure it’s inspirational – both for your target audience and for your employees and stakeholders.

6. Your vision statement can be as simple and short as one sentence!

Both the mission statement and vision statement are components of a company's overall brand guidelines. Click if you'd like to know more about creating brand guidelines and how they're used to strengthen a brand's identity.

In summary, a mission statement is a powerful tool for defining a company's purpose and values, providing guidance for strategic decision-making, and communicating its unique value proposition to customers and stakeholders.

Your vision statement is another powerful tool that sits alongside your mission statement to define your company's long-term goals and aspirations. It can provide direction for strategic decision-making, whilst aligning employees and stakeholders around a shared purpose.

Interested to know what I think are some of the Best Mission Statements and why? Read my short post here.

Like to know about more elements you need to put together to present your business professionally? Take a look at our blog on What's a Boilerplate?


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