Posted: Fri 18th Mar 2022
A long time ago, I sat in my garden on a hot summer’s day and chatted to my husband about my vision for my business.
I was recovering from cancer, so my life started to take on a different meaning. I wanted to have a business that would enable me to work and look after my family; a business selling products that would enrich people’s lives, where sitting together, eating, sharing ideas around a table - which had been laid out to look inviting with beautiful linen, to appreciate all aspects of the food put on the table - would make the family/friends gathering more enjoyable and memorable.
I wanted our handmade products to have longevity and become family heirlooms - exquisite products that would be affordable for all those who wanted them, for all those who were in need of a more reflective way of living their lives.
Well, that was my vision for my future. I continued the business with that vision in mind but what I omitted was what would I need to do in the here and now to make that vision happen in continuity.
At that time, I was so busy getting my products out into the marketplace, and enjoying the successes in the here and now, that I missed key signs and strategic planning to get me from the here and now to a more stable future for my business.
How important is a mission and vision statement to your business?
Many say it’s not necessary and many companies are successful without them; they thrive and continue to thrive, it’s pointless spending time and money on writing up a mission and vision statement that has no benefit for the business.
If you are a mission and vision-driven business then you need to consider a few points which will make your company unique and what its meaning and focus are.
Do you need a mission and vision statement for your business?
Mission and vision statements can be a great means to give an organisation focus, clarity and direction. However, they don’t always work because:
They are not required by all businesses.
The distinction between the two is not clear.
From my experience of coaching clients, many have a vision, but they have not considered the mission part. They can see the bigger picture clearly but how are they going to get there?
How are they going to realise their mission as part of their future vision?
We often feel compelled to have a mission and vision because others do and maybe it is a habit?
It’s worth considering, at the beginning of setting up one’s business or even further along the line if you are a mission and vision business.
You can’t tell the difference between them
To resolve this confusion, it is useful to make a clear distinction between the two because often they can sound the same and that is where one can have difficulties in writing up an effective statement.
Furthermore, if they do sound the same, they may sound vague and ineffectual,
Mission statements work on the here and now. It’s what the company is about, its principles, its values, why it does what it does. Its purpose.
Vision statements. The point on the horizon - about the future, for one’s long-term goals, aims and how you are going to get there. It’s about core values, set by the owners, which is created for the company and the company culture.
A Vision statement is also about strategic planning and actions. It needs to incorporate the mission statement
Who should it appeal to?
Who are you writing this mission and vision statement for?
Don’t try to appeal to everyone, it’s not for everyone, certainly not for the public, unless you are appealing to a specific part of the market and are wanting them to ‘buy’ into your ethos and company culture:
Don’t be afraid if you put off others, that’s great.
Make sure your mission and vision reflect clear choices and are targeted towards a specific group of people.
Remember to target your mission and vision towards your employees; they are key to your success (even if you are a sole trader, at some time you may grow your staff). You want to inspire them, to work towards the company goals.
Be careful not to make it vague or too generic such as: ‘we aim to’, ‘truly inspirational’, ‘number one'. Who really knows what this means?
Thoughts to consider:
Mission and vision statements that are written down without action are only words, platitudes, texts, phrases.
They only become a true mission and vision statement when they are lived and enacted. If your company is not mission or vision-driven, and you write a statement then the statements don’t reflect a mission or a vision.
Mission and vision are more about our attitudes and how we live them than about words. Actions, not words, are the key drivers - they become believable and trustworthy.