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How to Write the Perfect Vision and Mission Statement

How to Write the Perfect Vision and Mission Statement

The vision and mission statements are extremely important in shaping the future of any business. No matter what type of business you have, you should always take the time to create a well-thought-out vision and mission statement. Most of all, they shouldn't just be pretty words with no real meaning.

Most importantly, these statements help clarify your company's purpose and direction. They help keep you focused and provide a set of criteria for your company's strategy. When you're clear about why your business exists, it's easier to make choices that go hand in hand with your values and goals. Anything that helps to keep you from feeling confused or overwhelmed from making decisions is worth carefully considering.

Compass image
A strong vision and mission statement helps to give direction to your company.

Next up, we will explain what a vision and mission statement consists of, how they're different, and how to create the perfect statements for your own business.

What is a vision statement?

Vision vector image
A vision statement should motivate a company's employees.

A vision statement provides a concrete way for everyone involved to understand the meaning and purpose of your business. It also describes the desired long-term results of your company's efforts.

"A company vision statement reveals, at the highest levels, what an organization most hopes to be and achieve in the long term." - Katie Trauth Taylor, CEO of writing consultancy Untold Content

Vision statements are future-based and meant to inspire and give direction to employees of the company. According to Forbes, research shows that employees who find their company's vision meaningful have engagement levels of 68%, which is 18 points above average. Employees that feel engaged many times are more productive.

Without a doubt, the vision statement serves as a guiding light for your company. It's what inspires your employees. Needless to say, it's worth taking the time to create a statement that represents your ambition and engages your team members.

Vision statement explanation
A vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what an organization wants to become.

What is a mission statement?

Mission vector image
A mission statement describes why a company exists.

Basically, it defines the existence of a business or organization. They explain why a company exists, rather than how it exists.

It is also composed of three parts. These include the purpose, values, and goals of the company. They are part of a company's public face and are often used in a company's marketing.

In order to reveal the goals of an organization, the mission statement should articulate what the business does, how it operates, and why the business does what it does. - The SMB Guide

Undoubtedly, every company needs to have a mission statement. A well-crafted statement can give way to strategic focus for a business. It can also motivate employees and help fulfill company goals.

Key takeaways for mission statement
A well-crafted mission statement helps to define attainable goals.

How are they different?

While both statements serve as a foundation for your business, they do have some key differences. For example, a mission statement is based on the present and explains why the business exists to members of the company and the external community.

On the other hand, a vision statement is based on the future and is meant to give direction to employees of the company instead of customers.

"While a mission statement focuses on the purpose of the brand, the vision statement looks to the fulfillment of that purpose." - Jessica Honard, co-owner of North Star Messaging + Strategy

A mission statement focuses on "Who are we?" and the vision statement focuses on "Where are we going?".

Image showing differences between a mission and vision statement
A mission statement defines the company's business, its objectives and its approach to reach those objectives. A vision statement describes the desired future position of the company.

Tips For Writing Effective Mission Statements

Definitely, the mission statement is at the core of your business. It serves as a compass for your company. Now, before coming up with your statement, you should focus on answering the questions shown below.

Mission statement questions
A mission statement should take careful consideration.

It's recommended that you try to answer these questions in 3 sentences or less. Once you've clearly and concisely answered these questions, then you can continue to craft the perfect mission statement. Note: A mission statement should be between 2 and 4 sentences, and should not exceed 100 words.

1. Write what's true

A mission statement should feel enduring because they don't change much during the lifetime of your business. Your goal should be to share your company's values without exaggeration. It's as simple as beginning with, "Our mission is _____________" and completing that with a message that is true for your business now and for the long-term.

2. Be specific

Above all, don't be vague! Your mission statement should be as clear as possible. If it's too ambiguous, it won't be effective. You should avoid room for confusion at all costs. Using simple and concrete language will make it easier to be understood and applied.

Be mindful not to use jargon as it may be ineffective, making it difficult to remember. When writing your mission statement, be concise by keeping it straight to the point. - The SMB Guide

3. Describe the company's goals and objectives

The purpose of a mission statement is to describe what your company strives to achieve. This step should specify what the company wants for its future. It clarifies what should be done to achieve the mission. Goals and objectives should be realistic and be able to be measured.

Example of a mission statement
Credit: The SMB Guide

4. Don't create with a committee

Have you ever heard the expression, "Too many cooks in the kitchen"? Well, it certainly applies to writing a mission statement. Having too many people involved will result in a vague message. It's better to work on it alone and then run it by a few trusted advisors for feedback. You could also ask employees to write a sentence each and use their input to write a statement that feels authentic to you. Avoid asking for too many opinions all at once.

Too many cooks in the kitchen image.
Having too many people involved in writing your mission statement will surely ruin it.

5. Do the t-shirt test

Erica Olsen of the Virtual Strategist recommends this exercise for determining the strength of your mission statement. Ask yourself: Can your mission statement fit on a t-shirt that you and your team would be proud to wear? If the answer is yes, then you can be confident that you're communicating a meaningful message. If the message is too long to fit on a shirt or if it's not something you would want to walk around wearing, then that statement needs to go.

Mission statement t-shirt
Consider if your mission statement is perhaps too long and unclear.

Here are some mission statement examples from some of the most recognizable companies:

Mission statement examples.
Look to what other reputable companies are doing for inspiration.

Tips For Writing Effective Vision Statements

Now, if the mission statement is your compass leading your business in the right direction, then the vision statement is your map. It shows you the big picture of where you're hoping to go. A strong vision statement describes who you want to become as a company.

Additionally, the vision statement will only be a few sentences long and will outline the goals you're hoping to achieve. Jessica Honard, co-owner of North Star Messaging + Strategy, uses these questions in guiding clients to identify their vision statement:

  • What ultimate impact do I want my brand to have on my community, my industry, or the world?
  • In what way will my brand ultimately interact with customers and clients?
  • What will the culture of my business look like, and how will that play out in employees' lives?
The first step in writing a vision statement is determining who will play a role in crafting it.
Credit: Business News Daily

Following are a few things you should keep in mind while writing your vision statement.

1. Write for the future

In contrast to your mission statement, a vision statement describes what is yet to be achieved. It's about what you're working towards. Try looking ahead a few years into the future and describe the outcomes that you dream of creating with your business.

Here are some prompts you can use to get your vision statement started:

  • We will ___________
  • We plan to _________
  • We envision _________

2. Be bold

Don't be afraid to be aspirational. If you want to become a leader in your industry, you need to create a bold and compelling vision that moves others to join your cause. A weak statement will do nothing to inspire people to follow you. Dream big and focus on success!

"There is nothing wrong with a vision statement that is daring, distinct, or even disagreeable. If a vision statement sets out a generic goal that anyone can agree with, it is likely to produce mediocre results." - Brandon Shockley, director of research at branding and marketing firm 160over90
Be bold image
Channel your energy into creating a strong vision statement.

3. Be intentional

Additionally, your statement needs to reflect the values and aspirations of your company. It doesn't matter if your aspirations are big or small, local or international. Make sure you choose your vision carefully according to your company's mission. Don't just default to the biggest goal you can think of. All your decisions should be made with intent and purpose.

4. Don't be too detailed

When you first write your vision statement, it's likely you won't know how to make it happen. However, don't let that uncertainty keep you from thinking boldly. When we focus too much on the small details, it's difficult to create a vision that will motivate and inspire. This statement will surely lead to specific goals and objectives. But all of those can come later. At this stage, let your ideas flow and think of the most exciting future you can envision.

Here are some famous vision statement examples to help inspire you:

Vision statement examples
Credit: Business News Daily

Aspire and Inspire

Dreaming about big plans is great, just as long as you do so with intent and purpose. As we mentioned before, your mission statement should guide your company and your vision statement should show you where you're going. The statements you create should describe your aspirations for your company and inspire others to help you get there.

Picture representing vision and mission
Give purpose to your business with a mission and vision statement.

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Laura Amarillas
December 6, 2022
min read

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