Article by Namrata Ghosal, Edited by K. Manoggnya Reddy.
It is not easy to start a business. Nine of ten startups fail because of several reasons.
If you are the founder of a company or responsible for its management, you need to make sure a lot of things are in order – for example, having a proper business plan, communication, company culture and most importantly – a vision and mission statement.
The first question that may pop up in your mind is “What are the vision and mission statements?”
So, let’s jump right into it –
A vision statement in an organization generally informs one of what the organisation is planning to achieve. It’s basically one of the pillars of an organization.
A good vision statement is generally meant to be short, simple, specific about the details of your business.
Some example of vision statements are:
- LinkedIn – It creates economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce.
- Facebook – Connects with friends from all over the world. It is a simple social networking website which also provides the aspect of advertisements through it.
- Twitter- Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows interactions and feedback from different people.
On the other hand, a mission statement is a brief explanation of the organization’s reason for its existence.
Most mission statements fall between two and four sentences and are not more than 100 words. It helps inspire the employees of the organization to achieve company goals.
Always remember that mission comes first, and vision comes second.
The mission statement states the purpose of the business and the vision statement shows the goal or the vision of the business.
In short, a mission statement is like the road-map of the company’s vision statement.
Let’s go about this, by taking an example.
An example of a working mission statement is: “We want to serve the best sandwich in a faster time for the best price in Minneapolis every time, all the time”.
Now, the best sandwich? That would be subjective, but since you are aiming for such a goal, you should work in a way that you will be able to receive feedback such as – “oh, they make the best sandwich”. If you don’t, that means you are yet to fulfill your mission.
Next, start considering all the perspectives of your business such as uniqueness, the quality, and the price of your product.
Consumers are generally sensitive to the price of the product they are buying – is it worth it to pay $1 more and wait in line for 20 minutes to get the best sandwich in the city?
If it does matter, then you need to alter your business plan to include innovative ways to cut cost so that you can charge less.
But you must be careful when deciding on moving to a lesser price as you may lose the uniqueness of your work while settling for a lower price which may in-return actually damage your business in the long run.
Next, you need to evaluate your consistency.
For instance, considering the above example – A few people gave the feedback that it was the best sandwich they’ve had.
But, after a while they started coming as they felt some other sandwich was more unique and better. In a growing economy and society, people’s tastes are rapidly changing, because of which you need to learn to adapt accordingly to keep up with the pace.
So, your mission statement can’t stop at simply having a great sandwich it should exceed your own expectations.
This means that you can’t settle for a subjective statement. Your mission statement must be objective or else you won’t be able to measure whether your business is going in the right direction – and what’s good about a business without data?
Even with a good definition and example, it can be difficult to clearly understand the concept.
- Related Read: Learn How to Create a Proof of Concept for Your Startup
Let’s take an example of an actual company – Amazon.
The mission statement of Amazon is to give customers all the products at the lowest price as much possible so that they can attract more number of customers to achieve their business strategic goals.
Whereas, the vision statement of the Amazon company is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company to build a place where people come to their company and discover anything they want to buy online.
The difference is very slight and hard to understand for people who are new to this. But, bear with me here and let’s move on.
How You can Write a Vision Statement
In this part, we will go through every single step on how to write a perfect vision statement.
As I’ve explained earlier a vision statement tells us what the business aims to achieve the for future.
A good vision statement should be short, simple, concise, and specific to your business.
Now let’s look at the step by step version on how to write a vision statement.
#1. A Deeper Look into Vision Statement
Before writing a vision statement we should first understand what is a vision statement.
While writing a vision statement you should keep in mind that it has to be short, simple, specific, and to the point.
Sentences should be short.
You don’t have to elaborate on each and everything.
You just need something that will be punchy and easily memorable.
Be specific to your business goal and describe the work that you do or would like to do. Keep it simple enough as that it will help your customers or investors to understand your work easily without taking much of their time.
Make it future-oriented.
Whatever be your vision statement, try to plan it in a way so that it will later help you to achieve the goals you you may wish for your organization.
#2. Revisit Your Strategic Plan
It is very essential to revisit and reevaluate all your strategic plans to ensure whether it makes sense to your vision map or not.
This is because a business operates in an environment and not in a vacuum and therefore outside causes may impact your business.
Therefore you need to revisit your strategic plans and see if it is affected by entry or exit of competitors or if your market is narrowing day by day.
You need to write your vision statement based on your strategic plans.
#3. Is Your Business Serving to a Broad Enough Market?
After making the strategic plan and revisiting and reevaluating all the strategic plans, the next duty is to make sure if your business has a broad enough customer base.
Make no mistake. We are not advocating for not opting for small and exclusive niches. In fact these are great for finding amazing business opportunities and hyper-focused and loyal customers.
However, your consideration should be whether you can make it in the hyper-focused market so as to yield evergreen branding strategy. If you believe the answer’s a resounding yes, then read on!
You can increase the depth of your vision statement by including all the details regarding the following questions mentioned below:
- What are the problems that your business solves?
- What is the purpose of your business?
- What is your main aim for your business?
- How is your business going to help the customer or the end user of your product or service?
- Who does your business help?
By answering these questions you will give a whole new perspective of your business to the customers.
#4. Distill to the Essentials
The key to editing your vision statement is to distill information into one sentence by looking for main ideas.
If you only had 10 seconds to present the motive of your business, ask yourself what needs to be included and what doesn’t, which means what can be added and what can be dropped out of the sentence without changing the meaning that you intend to provide.
#5. Write in a Simple Manner
Use clear concise jargon-free language while writing a vision statement.
Stick to your goals.
A vision statement is an important part of your strategic plan. A good vision statement should be short, to the point, simple and specific to your business/organization.
Take as much time you want.
While writing a vision statement may seem to be daunting at first, but it is very important as potential investors may look into it, when you are out to get funding for your startup.
Your vision statement needs to be positive and inspirational. And, therefore before writing, you need to plan properly.
#7- Ask for Feedback
The next step after finishing off with your vision statement is to ask others of their opinion.
While most would tell you to ask feedback from your friends and family, I’d suggest you go for complete strangers or your customers, as they have no obligations to sweet-talk to you.
Tell them to be honest and ask them what are the limitations or drawbacks of your vision statement.
Don’t worry if it’s not perceived well by your test-audience as the main aim of this step is to help you improve it in the long run.
If you’re a guy who’s shy and can’t bring yourself to ask strangers, then ask your family and friends. But, don’t ask them what they think about the statement. Instead ask them, what they feel can be improved or what are the drawbacks in the statement according to them.
How You Can Create Your Mission Statement
A good mission statement is required for achieving the goals of your business.
A good and perfect mission statement can surprise, inspire, and transform your business.
Remember what I said, a while back? Mission statement comes first and then, and only then, comes the vision statement.
The vision is the “why” whereas the mission is the “how”.
#1. What is the Mission Statement?
Before writing a mission statement, you should understand what is a mission statement.
A mission statement tells you what your organization wants to achieve.
Basically, the mission statement is a tool for startups and businesses to state their goals and objectives and everything else that they are aiming to achieve.
#2. Get Creative with Your Mission Statement
After knowing what is a mission statement, the next step is to get creative with your mission statement.
You should have a basic idea of how you are going to grow your business.
Don’t waste your whole time with a long theoretical mission statement. Your mission statement should be concise and specific.
#3. Writing Your Mission Statement – The Real Deal
The third step is very crucial because in this step, you have to focus on your writing and self-motivational potential.
The statement should always be in an active voice.
Try to write a mission statement in a formal manner and not in a controversial style. Since your mission statement needs to appeal to a wide array of audience, this may be the safest bet.
Spend enough time on brainstorming new ideas. The more innovative it is, the more it strengthens your prospective.
A good mission statement should be short, concise, simple, and specific.
You may even try to think of it in a different angle. Here’s what the founder of WinSavvy, Adhip Ray has to say –
The vision statement needs to align with a problem that you are solving. If your business solves a persisting problem, it has great potential in the market place. Therefore try to find a persisting problem that your business may be solving and put it in your mission statement. Drafting your mission statement like that is a great way to draw in investors.
Here is a checklist, that you need to remember before writing a mission and vision statement:
- Be concise– Avoid jargon, or too many details or useless details will create confusion for your readers and it will seem boring to read your statement. Use bullet points, if need be. It will help your readers to identify all the main points of what you are trying to communicate. Concise writing helps to grab the reader’s attention. Just break complex sentences into simple ones because it will help your readers to go through your statements faster.
- Be clear – Writing clearly conveys what you mean more effectively to your readers. Choose those words that are direct and straight forward. Always write in an active voice and make your sentences short. Shorten your words and phrases, avoid sentences with ” there is”, “there are”, or ” it is”. Eliminate extra nouns and filter words such as “that”, ” of”, or “up”. Correct all your grammatical errors.
- Make it future-oriented – Always remember that vision statements are the like the solution to an equation ‘x+y=z’, where ‘x’ stands for the mission statement, and ‘y’ are the activities you will be going to perform for your mission statement, and ‘z’ is your vision statement that is the finale result you want to achieve from your business. So it is very important that while writing a vision or mission statement we should keep our end goal in mind. After deciding upon our goals, we will write the statements in a more effective way which will help our workers as well as clients to work in a more cooperative manner.
- Be inspiring – Making your mission and vision statement inspiring will help to give your employees and readers a new direction and priorities for your business. You can also research for a number of successful companies’ statements to get an idea of how to make your writing more effective and inspiring.
#4. Continuous Review
After writing your mission statement now the final step is review the overall statement which is very crucial and important for the future aspects of your business.
It will ensure whether your mission statement makes sense or not and whether it is in sync with outsiders or not.
Review your work more than once. While reviewing you can also add any omitted material which may be important.
Reviewing will help you gain a sense of clarity.
Now that you know how to create your very own vision and mission statements, let’s find out if it’s worth it for your business or not.
Advantages of Having a Mission Statement
#1. Provides direction
Mission statement is not only beneficial for the internal environment of your company; it also helps draw in people from outside, for example, the press, investors and customers.
Writing a mission statement will attract more number of the target audience and it can also provide direction for your employees. It also helps your customers, realize their most basic but important questions like “why they should buy from or trust your organization?”.
#2. Helps to resolve conflicts
Mission Statement can also help to resolve conflicts. Conflicts in a workplace arise when one person may have different opinions and objectives than others. Without a proper mission statement, there can be conflicts between co-workers as well as directors or key managerial personnels of a company who want to steer the company in their own directions.
So basically, if there is a universal mission statement exclusive to your company, it may help resolve conflicts.
#3. Acts as communication tools
We all know that communication is a very important tool for your business. By writing a mission statement you can develop a better understanding of your company and help to enhance your reputation in front of your employees.
This will influence the success of your business.
#4. A framework for decision making
A mission statement is a framework for decision making. If your mission statements failed to influence your customers of their general decision about choosing your products over others’, then later it may affect your business.
While a vision statement should be realistic, unique, and distinguish the business from others, your mission statement should represent and promote your business in the market. So, it’s no place to go soft.
Disadvantages of a Mission Statement
#1. May waste management’s time and resources.
To make a mission statement we have to do lots of planning and plotting which is very time-consuming. If by chance even after completing the mission statement your ultimate reason for making the statement is not achieved, then it is just a waste of your and your management’s time, resources, and hard work.
#2. It can become unrealistic.
Expectations are good up to a certain limit but expecting something out of your reach or going too broad with your mission statement may create problems in managing your business.
For instance, tying your mission statement to profit and that too, an unrealistic profit, can be sabotaging for your business.
Plus, if you fail to achieve the goal, it can be a direct hit to your employees’ morals and motivation.
#3. It can create confusion.
A perfect mission statement needs a lot of time and effort and a good plan on what a company wants to achieve.
For instance, a software company whose mission statement, “we want to sell software to everyone who craves quality” isn’t as specific as “we want to sell software products on all available and under-utilized platforms like social media network, etc.”
#4. It can sometimes lead to conflicts and inconsistencies
Sometimes when the mission statement is not properly developed, it may be lead to many conflicts and inconsistencies.
One part of the statement may contradict the other which leads to confusion within your startup.
And, we all are aware of the fact that every individual has their own viewpoints and opinions. Therefore, there are a lot of chances that due to different viewpoints or perspectives it can lead to conflicts. So, it will be better if you take your employees’ viewpoint into consideration while framing your mission statement while simultaneously set provisos that don’t allow for useless confusion.
Advantages of a Vision Statement
#1. Provides your business with clear direction
A good and clear vision statement will provide a positive impact for your business.
You will create trust among your customers, and bring your customers closer to your business. After making a vision statement, it tends to clear most of the misunderstandings among your colleagues and the employees.
It provides them the clear direction of where their efforts are needed leading everyone to understand and work for the same goals.
#2. Can be motivating and inspiring
Are you working towards a massively transformative purpose (MTP). These are businesses that are aimed at bringing solutions towards the world’s biggest problems.
For example, Tesla’s vision statement is – “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
Just let that sink in.
Wouldn’t employees be inspired to work in such a firm?
This is how a properly framed vision statement can break barriers and inspire employees to put in next-level work.
#3. May help you to attract the right staff
A vision statement may attract the right staff for their business. It will help the organization to hire those employees who share your and your startup’s vision and are motivated to usher in the change that you so believe in.
#4. Can create a good communication culture
A good vision statement can help boost communication among your employees since it clears misunderstandings which will then lead to getting the desired outcome with little to none conflicts.
Disadvantages of Vision Statements
#1. Too much jargon
Sometimes by aiming to add depth to the vision statement, it may lead to too much ‘jargon’ which in turn it affects the clarity regarding the goal of your company. Using too much buzz words or complicated terms will create problems for others to understand your statement correctly.
#2. Lack of specificity
While writing a vision statement you should keep in mind that making a specific statement will help us to clarify all the goals of your company. You should be specific about your goals so that further it will help your employees to understand those goals.
#3. No implementation
Sometimes after making a vision statement, people fail to implement it.
After making your vision statement try to conduct meetings with your staff to motivate them to work towards this vision.
Since implementation is the main part of any plan, if your business fails to work towards your vision, it remains just a document and becomes useless in the long run.
Examples of vision statement:-
- Disney- “to make people happy.”
- Microsoft- “Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.”
- Avon- “to be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally.”
Examples of a mission statement:-
- TED – spreading ideas
- Tesla- to accelerate the transition of the world to sustainable energy
- Southwest airlines- the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, and company spirit.
That’s all. Hope you liked it. If you did, make sure to give it a share and if you have any questions, leave it down in the comments!
Read Next: How You Can Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business
Author Bio: Namrata Ghosal is a BJMC student in Ravenshaw University and an intern at WinSavvy.com.
Editor Bio: K. Manoggnya Reddy is a BBA,LLB(H) student at ICFAI Law School and an intern at WinSavvy. Connect with her on LinkedIn.