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Explained: Mission vs. Vision Statements

Mission and vision statements are crucial assets to your growing and successful business. At their core, both of them work to give your customers an idea of who you are and what you stand for. But where they differ is what aspect of your business each of them focus on. Are you wondering what the difference between a mission and a vision statement is? We’re here to break down what makes each one unique and how you can utilize both in your business.

mission and vision statements

Mission Statement Vs. Vision Statement

Companies worldwide use mission and vision statements as their north star. Both are foundational elements of your organization and should never be taken lightly. While no company is required to have a vision or mission statement, most use them for several reasons. Having a statement is a useful tool for your organization as it gives everyone involved in the company a shared purpose and direction. So, what’s the difference between the two?

Mission Statement

A mission statement defines your company’s overall objectives and your approach to those objectives. Many mission statements aim to tell people why your organization exists and what makes you stand out. Mission statements often cover your value, inspiration, plausibility, and specificity to your business.

Overall Purpose

While that’s the gist of the two, there’s more that goes into each one. An organization’s mission statement describes its overall purpose. It works to illuminate where your business currently is, how it works, what you stand for, and your basic vision for the immediate future – which is the next one to three years. In your mission statement, you should describe clearly who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. The best mission statements also clearly identify the benefits you provide. Mission statements are usually fairly short and easy for people to remember.

Vision Statement

Your vision statement describes where you want your business to go in the future and how you’ll get there. Most vision statements will relate to what you’ve set up about yourself in your mission statement and then explain how those elements and attributes will shape the future.

Overall Purpose

Where your mission statement lies is the cornerstone of your organization, think of the vision statement as the ever evolving and growing staircase in your building. Your vision statement should clearly state where your company plans and hopes to go in the future. It’s a forward-thinking statement that makes a promise to be fulfilled within the next five to ten years. The vision statement usually references the values outlined in the mission statement.

business goals

Mission and Vision Statements

Now that we know what the difference is between mission and vision statements, it’s important to learn more about what elements are a part of these statements as well as what makes them unique from one another. Whether you’re crafting a statement for your business or not, knowing what goes into creating them is valuable.

Mission statements should answer questions your customers have about your brand. Questions like:

  • What is our organization’s purpose?
  • Why does our organization exist?
  • What do we do?
  • Whom do we serve?
  • How do we serve them?

By answering one or all of these questions, you can begin to craft a mission statement that motivates your team toward a common goal. Generally, mission statements range from one sentence to a short paragraph in length. In general, your mission statement gets at the heart of why your company exists. Mission statements aren’t meant to serve as business plans but are more of an expression of values. They also don’t explain how your business plans to turn a profit.

Differences

When thinking about your vision statement, don’t think of it as a practical roadmap, but more like a picture of your hopes and dreams for the future of your company. A vision statement can answer several questions like:

  • What problem are we seeking to solve?
  • Where are we headed?
  • If we achieved all strategic goals, what would we look like ten years from now?
  • What are our hopes and dreams?
  • What problem are we solving for the greater good?
  • Who and what are we inspiring to change?

It’s important not to confuse your vision statement with a business plan for your future success. A vision statement doesn’t include specific milestones, revenue goals, or strategies for achieving those goals. Both mission and vision statements are used by companies internally and externally. Internally they guide management’s strategic thinking, define performance standards, and guide employees. Externally, the garner external support, increase better communication with others and help people know what you stand for.

Vision Statement Vs. Mission Statement: Which One is Right for You?

Now that you know how both the mission statement and vision statement work, you need to decide if you want to have one or both. Most companies have both a mission and vision statement for a simple reason; they help promote one another. In fact, a lot of organizations also include a value statement as well. These statements aren’t mutually exclusive to one another, and, in fact, they often work well as a pair. By having both, you clearly define who you are and where you plan to go. Both give you something to follow to keep your business on track.

business plans

Examples of Mission and Vision Statements that Work Well Together

Company: Tesla

Mission: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Vision: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.

Why it works: While both serve different purposes, they relate to one another through the word “transition.” Here, you see that Tesla stands for creating cars using sustainable energy so that they can bring more electric vehicles to us in the future.

 

Company: Patagonia

Mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Vision: A love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet.

Why it works: Again, the mission statement clearly sets up the brand’s values and beliefs, while the vision statement explains how they’ll put those beliefs into action outside their business.

 

So, which one do you need? The best answer is that you need them both. Because mission and vision statement serve very different purposes while still working together, they provide a complete, well-rounded picture of your company that people can understand and believe in.

make a business vision

How to Write a Mission Statement for a Business

Writing a mission statement for your business isn’t quite like writing for SEO. When writing a mission statement, you need to take a slightly different approach than if you were writing a blog.

When writing your mission statement for your business, start by thinking about what you want your mission statement to accomplish. At its core, a mission statement should answer two basic questions:

  • Why does your business exist?
  • What makes you different?

Whatever your method for brainstorming and writing for your business, it is best to write down these questions and then answer them before doing anything else. Through creatively and clearly getting your answers down to these questions, you can uncover the heart of your business. Once you have the answers to those first questions, you can begin to craft your actual mission statement. Think about what you would want to read if you were the customer. Additionally, here are some other tips:

  • Keep it short and concise – Your final draft should be no longer than a single paragraph. Sometimes, one sentence is enough.
  • Think long-term – Your vision statement is the place to outline your goals for the future, but don’t limit your mission statement to the now. Make it evergreen.
  • Get feedback – You want your mission statement to positively reflect your organization and be something your employees can rally around. Get feedback from your organization.

Overall, when it comes to writing a mission statement, keep in mind that it’s a reflection of everything your business stands for and shows people why you’re unique. A well-crafted and thought-out mission statement or vision statement is one of the best ways to reach and connect with your audience. Not only can a great mission statement help your business reputation, but it can also increase your reach.

make a mission statement

What Can You Do with Mission and Vision Statements?

These statements can also be extremely useful tools for your employees across your business. Whether you’re creating content like blogs or working directly with customers to solve issues, following your statement as your north star is a perfect way to stay consistent throughout your organization.

FAQs

  • What is a mission statement?
  • How to write a mission statement?
  • Mission statement examples?
  • Does my business need a mission statement?
  • What is a vision statement?

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