Published: November 17th, 2017; By: Judi Hughes
In our experience growing a business without creating and using a plan is unpredictable and risky. Without a plan you could end up building a business that you don’t even like. It all begins with a Vision and a Mission.
Do you need both a Vision and Mission for your business? Absolutely!
They are very different and you must have both at the forefront of your planning process to ensure you are setting goals and developing strategies to grow the business you want and to take you where you want to go.
In fact, as you grow your Vision and Mission are critical components to ensure you are building the business you want and that you are keeping true to the fundamental purpose of your business.
They are the essential focus tools that lead your Plan for Success.
So what are a Vision and Mission and how do you create them?
Read on for a guide to help . …
Vision – Your future with 20/20 eyesight
In the song ‘Any Road’, George Harrison wrote “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” These lyrics are absolutely relevant to growing a business.
To lead the growth of your business, you must first have complete clarity about where it is you want to go. You must have a clear vision articulating your dreams and hopes for the future for yourself and for your business.
Your Vison is what gets you out of bed in the morning. It is what keeps you focused on where you want to go and stops you from straying into undesirable territories. It is your picture of possibility.
If you are able to turn it into a Vision Statement, it is your statement of passion!
Dare to dream
Developing your vision should be easy because all you have to do is dream about the future. However, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Start to slowly form a mental picture by responding to this statement …
“If there are no obstacles and everything is possible,
describe the future you want for yourself and your business.”
Using your favourite writing tool jot down, in point form, all your thoughts about the ideal future for yourself and for your business.
This is a right brain exercise. Don’t question anything; don’t hamper your thinking by identifying obstacles; there are no obstacles. Be sure to not limit your future to the next year or two. Let your mind wander and take you places you have never imagined.
Live with your description of your future for a while. Keep it nearby so you can add to it; build on it, enhance it and make it more explicit. Keep working on it until you are satisfied that you have identified your ideal future; your vision.
There are any numbers of things you can do with your list of possibility to take it a step further and make it even more compelling:
- Vision List: Keep it as a list; be sure you have it where you can review it daily.
- Vision Story: Turn it into a memorable story that catches your imagination and reflects your vision.
- Vision Board: Cut out words, phrases and pictures representing your vision, glue them on a board and hang in a prominent spot.
- Online Vision Board: Google “online vision board” and select one of the many online visualization tools.
- Vision Statement: Distill your list into one memorable statement. Keep the statement as short as possible so you can remember it; in fact try to keep it to one sentence. Write your statement in the present tense so you can feel and touch the end result.
Remember … To make your great dream come true; you must first have a great dream!
Mission – The purpose of your business
Once you have your Vision you can turn your attention to your Mission and the importance it plays in the success of your business.
Your Mission Statement is a brief description of the fundamental purpose of your business. It provides everyone with a common understanding of what the business does and equally important what it does not do.
Your Mission is the filter through which you evaluate all ideas, from hiring of your team to the development of new products. It is the powerful beacon that differentiates your business and keeps your team “on the same page”.
Working through why your business exists
To develop a Mission Statement that is precise, succinct and comprehensible is not a quick process. Take your time and follow our step by step instructions carefully. This is an excellent process to work through with your key team members.
Step 1 – Brainstorm your answers to the following questions:
- What does your company do?
- Who does your company do it to? Who does it serve?
- What is unique about what your company does?
Step 2 – Eliminate & Select:
Go through the results of each question and really think about the answers. Debate them with your team. Ask questions such as “why?” and “what does this mean?” and “so what?” As you do this, eliminate any answers that do not reflect what you believe to be part of the purpose of your business.
Step 3 – Short list:
From the remaining answers circle no more than 6 that most closely align with the purpose. Take your time and if you are working with a team make sure you get complete agreement for each item circled.
Transfer the circled items to a clean writing platform. It is from here you will create your Mission Statement.
Step 4 – Create your Mission Statement:
Think about the answers shortlisted. Can you see a pattern emerging? Discuss the results. Take a first stab at turning them into a statement. Rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it.
Step 5 – Test It
Share your resulting statement with selected clients, friends of the business, family and all of your team. (Remember, your team is not only employees; it includes anyone who does regular outsourced work for your company).
- Listen for the killer question: “What does it mean?”
- Adopt the great ideas.
- Don’t take feedback personally.
Step 6 – Make your perfect Mission Statement even better
- Rewrite it
- Shout it out!
Your Mission packs the biggest punch when you take all of the reasons for your business and distill them into one precise, meaningful statement telling us what the company does, who it serves and what sets it apart from the competition.
The important roles they play
Your Vision is all about the future and lets you know where you are going.
Your Mission is all about the present and lets others know what your company does.
You must have both at the forefront of your planning process to ensure you are setting goals and developing strategies to grow the business you want and to take you where you want to go.
Do you want to see your future with 20/20 clarity?