How to create practical vision and mission statements

A good mission statement will clearly and concisely express the direction of your organization. Perhaps you’re a one-man (or one-woman) show. That’s okay. A well thought out mission statement will still help you to keep on track in pursuing your business goals. In fact, in consulting for start-ups and new entrepreneurs, what I often find is that while most of them have made a firm commitment to a particular field or niche, they don’t really have a clear vision for what they want to accomplish, and more importantly, who they want to be.

Now, I would like to point out that a vision statement and a mission statement are two very different things. A mission statement will define your purpose and primary objectives. Its main function is internal: it clarifies the central measures of your success, and its key audience ought to be you (or your leadership team).

A vision statement, on the other hand, will also define your purpose, but it ought to do so in terms of values rather than immediate business measure (e.g., the bottom line). It will communicate both the values and purpose of your business in order to provide direction and inspiration. When shared with your target audience, it should help to guide your customers’ perception of why they should work with you.

  • To create a practical mission statement, first identify your “big idea.”
  • This would be the idea, perspective, or methodology that makes you stand out from your competitors: the reason customers will come to you instead.
  • Now identify the most important measures of your success. Choose only a few.
  • Take those success measures and your big idea and form a tangible goal based on them.
  • Now, work on your wording until you have a concise and precise statement that expresses your ideas, success measures, and intended result.

Example: A sales trainer wants to help companies increase sales productivity by improving initial contact skills.

“To become Toronto’s premier sales training firm by helping our clients increase sales by 20% or more through proven rapport-building strategies.”

To create your vision statement, the process is likewise simple.

  • You’ve identified your mission. Now think of the real human value in that mission.
  • What will you, your customers and other stakeholders value most about how you accomplish this mission?
  • What are they key values you must have to accomplish that mission?
  • Combine the mission and values and then rewrite until you have a statement that can inspire people both in and outside of your organization.

“We help Toronto’s sales professionals to achieve the lifestyle they’ve always wanted by providing elite-level communication strategies engage, intrigue and inspire: selling with passion, purpose, and integrity.”