If you’re just getting your business off the ground-or if you’re in the process of rebranding-you’ll want to have quick, to-the-point ways of communicating what your business does and where it’s going. Enter vision and mission statements. These two messages paint a picture of the purpose and practical direction of your company and help attract talent, build culture, and make your goals clear to clients. The length of these statements varies from several lines to several paragraphs. Either way, you’ll want some time to reflect before you begin writing.
This particular statement tells people about your company’s business goals, where you’re headed, and what the ideal future would look like for your company. It’s about the big picture. These steps will show you how to craft a custom vision.
When you sit down to write your vision statement, include the following items:
- Your ultimate business goals
- Your company values
- How you hope your business contributes to society, or what your purpose is
- Who your business serves
These are all elements that you can include in the vision. Refer to your original business planning paperwork if you get stuck.
Once you’ve articulated all your thoughts, get out your red pen and start crossing off everything that is not absolutely in line with the core of your business. You will have to edit mercilessly.
What you have left should be the elements of your vision statement, and it’s time arrange them. Put them in logical sentences, and only write what you need. Remember, a vision statement doesn’t have to be long; it can only be a sentence or two.
4. Get Feedback
After you’ve edited it to where you think it’s close to expressing the right ideas, show it to mentors or trusted friends for feedback. Incorporating their suggestions will mean yet another round of editing.
5. Share and Revisit
Now you should have your vision statement! Share it in your office, and revisit it at least annually to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction. Make changes as necessary.
Your mission statement flows from your vision statement, so the latter has to be done first. This statement lays out how you practically will achieve what you stated in your vision statement, and you can break it down into more manageable steps by brainstorming what you do, how you do it, and who you serve. It’s about the day-to-day operations.
What You Do
Don’t think of this in terms of what you actually deliver to customers, but the deeper needs you satisfy with your goods or services. If you’re in insurance do you really market coverage options or do you actually sell peace of mind? If you’re a photographer, do you deliver requested photos or do you really preserve memories for a lifetime? Figure out how your business fulfills a customer’s true need and you’ll have the direction for the rest of your mission statement.
How You Do It
For this portion of the statement you can include the physical product. But more importantly, this section should first describe how you are able to fulfill the needs described in the section above with your product or service, and secondly, how you communicate to the customer that what you have fulfills that deeper need. (As a bonus, thinking through these ideas will also provide clear direction for your marketing.)
Who You Serve
This is the perfect time to figure out your buyer persona if you haven’t already. Define the characteristics of your ideal customer including demographic and geographic information. This will guide how spend your valuable time and money by marketing to people who have the highest chance of becoming customers and who you would most like to work with. Who you serve will become another key component of your mission.
Now you can apply the steps above for writing, editing, feedback, sharing, and revisiting. If you follow these steps carefully, you should have a shiny, new mission statement you can display proudly.
Creating vision and mission statements for your organization might seem like a hassle, but breaking the tasks down into smaller steps can help you find the clarity you need to get them right. If you invest time in these statements, everyone who comes in contact with your company-whether they’re potential and existing clients and employees, investors, vendors, or the media-will understand the purpose and methods of your company quickly and easily.