How To Write Vision and Mission Statements

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 3, 2021 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated September 3, 2021

Published January 3, 2020

Vision and mission statements guide organizations through decision-making, strategic planning and establishing goals. Developing a statement for your business can inspire and energize your employees and help you stand out in the marketplace. In this article, we explore the importance of having a vision and mission statement and how to develop one for your business.

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement is a public declaration of what a company will accomplish. It describes an idealistic view of the business and provides the foundation that action plans are built on.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is a public declaration of an organization’s core values. It addresses a company’s greater purpose, the impact it hopes to leave on the world and shapes its culture. These are commonly used as slogans for marketing campaigns.

Related: Decision-Making Methods for the Workplace

Why is a vision and mission statement important for your business?

A vision statement denotes “where” a business wants to go while the mission statement explains the “why.” Many organizations combine elements of each to concisely state who they are, what they hope to accomplish and the mark they wish to leave on the world. Developing a statement for your business is important because:

  • It inspires and unifies employees under one goal for the organization.

  • It tells a broader story and can provide more inspiration for the members of an organization.

  • It provides a foundation for strategic decision-making.

  • It informs investors, stakeholders and the public of your intentions.

How to create a vision and mission statement for your business

An effective vision and mission statement has core elements that drive a company’s success. It should function as the central focus of your efforts. Developing the right statement for your business may require a few brainstorming sessions and adjustments over time. You want it to be specific to the ideal future of your business and a distinct reflection of your company’s values.

The following steps will help you create a vision and mission statement for your business:

  1. Identify your company’s strengths.

  2. Determine your organization’s purpose.

  3. Visualize where your business will be in five to 10 years.

  4. Shape your statement.

1. Identify your company’s strengths

The most successful companies know what they’re good at and they infuse it into every aspect of their business. Understanding your business’s strengths makes it easier to set specific goals and establish your company in a niche market.

To discover what your company is best at:

Analyze what customers and employees are saying

Make a list of the most common compliments to help you understand what your business is already doing well. Examples of business strengths include open communication, a positive business culture and personalized customer service.

Review opportunities for improvement

List areas your company can improve, which can help you find a unique fit in your market. Identify why customers might choose your company over competitors and how your company is viewed by the public. You could also determine what helps your employees function at their best or if there are areas of workflow that could be streamlined.

Identify outside opportunities

Outside opportunities are ones that your business utilizes to provide your target audience with the highest values. These may include market trends, government funding programs or relevant technological innovations, among others.

Determine influencing factors

Areas that affect your business but that you don’t have direct control over present unique opportunities for leverage. For example, in a saturated market, corporate franchises may hold the market share but are unable to move as quickly as a smaller company. They may also lack the ability to create personalized services. Example areas that influence business markets include competition, economic trends, seasonal business trends and consumer tastes.

2. Define your organization’s purpose and core values 

A business’s purpose is a set of core beliefs or a philosophy that dictates the company culture and how it functions in the market. Knowing your business’s values can help you make more intentional decisions. To define your company’s core values, make a list of things you and your team value. Group similar ideas together, and narrow your list down to three to seven words or small phrases, such as equality, honesty, sustainability and continuous learning.

3. Visualize where your business will be in five to 10 years

Understanding your company’s goals when writing your vision and mission statements can provide your company with clear paths for forward and upward progression. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound to be most effective. Determine what success looks like for your business, and use the information you gathered in step one to identify short- and long-term goals. 

For example, a business whose strength is customer service may have a goal to reduce customer response time over the next year by upgrading to customer relationship management software. A long-term goal for this business in a saturated market may be to lead the market in personalized service by using innovative technology, knowing what customers want before they ask and continuously learning the changing market. This company’s vision and mission statements should focus on their commitment to providing the best customer service they can.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

4. Shape your statement

Your vision and mission statement is for everyone in the organization to work with the same goals in mind and give focus to your business’ efforts. It should be concise and specific, around 50 words, or two to three sentences, to make it memorable. A memorable statement will remain in your mind when facing daily challenges and planning for the future. 

In addition to its length, this statement should use clear and strong language to have the most impact. Effective vision and mission statements utilize these core elements among others:

  • Clarity

  • Specificity

  • Attainability

  • Uniqueness

  • Inspiration

Vision and mission statement examples

If your goal is to stand out in the market, you want your vision and mission statement to reflect this. Write the first draft of your statement and edit it a few times to capture the right wording, length and emotion. 

Try this formula to get started:

  • “It is our goal to [state your idealistic long term vision]. We believe [state your core values].”

  • “It is our goal to lead the industry in athletic performance wear, believing that anybody with ‘any body’ is an athlete.”

  • “It is our goal to supply safe drinking water to every man, woman and child on the planet. We believe that when humans have the right tools to survive they can do good things in their communities.”

  • “It is our goal to inspire great minds to create innovative products because great ideas combined with the tools to achieve them can change the world.”

  • “We will provide attractive, stylish furniture at an affordable price. We believe that luxury furniture does not have to have luxury prices.”

  • “Luxury furniture at affordable prices.”

  • “It is our goal to lead the industry in coffee kiosks. We believe coffee does not have to be fancy and expensive to be good.”

  • “Quality coffee that’s fast and fair.”

Using your vision and mission statement

When you have a statement you and your team can agree on, make it visible. Post it in your office and employee handbooks to remind employees of your common goal. Post it on marketing materials and your website to inform customers of your greater purpose. By making it public, you inform people of what you hope to accomplish in the world and of your core values. It acts as public relations for your business.

As your business grows, you may need to update your statement to reflect your new values. You may discover the market you function in has required you to change focus. Once a year, evaluate if your statement still provides the same value to your organization. Update your statement by working through the original steps.

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