What’s in a vision and mission?

January 8, 2014

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A start-up company or community organization has a lot of thinking to do and many tasks to carry out when setting up their business model. Pitching their first customers and considering who to ask for (financial) support are examples of what must be done.

It helps tremendously for any start-up to have a clear vision and mission statement. These statements create a simple framework into which the above-mentioned tasks, considerations and more fit into – making them much easier.

What are vision and mission statements?

Both statements are often confused. Though they may seem similar, they serve different purposes. In short:

  • A vision statement: Describes what the organization wants to be and/or achieve in the future.
  • A mission statement: Describes how the organization wants and plans to reach its goal.

Another way of looking at this is to ask “what question is each statement is answering?”

  • Mission statements answer the question “What makes us different and what do we do?”
  • Vision statements answer the grander question of “Where do we aim to be?”

The picture above is a representation of the idea “The sky is the limit”, meaning your vision can be as grand as you like. The ladder and its steps represent your mission and your how-to.

“All successful people are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, goal or purpose.” – Brian Tracey

Which qualities should the statements have?

A vision statement should concisely describe a bright future in a clear picture that is memorable.
A mission statement shares the values of the organization, names its primary stakeholders and talks about the main objectives.

An example, Kaleidoscope’s vision and mission

Instead of using formal statements, I have chosen to have one clear introductory paragraph to all my materials.

“As start-up organizational adviser and mentor, Lisette Andreyko provides strategic focus to small businesses and community organizations through hands-on and personalized workshops that create a business action roadmap.”

My vision is to have small business and community organizations succeed with a good strategy (the roadmap is the picture I am using to convey a clear picture).

My mission is to provide strategic focus (=objective) through hands-on and personalized (=values) workshops to start-ups (=stakeholders).

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” – W. Clement Stone

How do I get started on my vision and mission?

Your vision is always evolving. As you learn more about your business, its strengths and see the opportunities in the market. To get started, do this simple exercise and ask yourself the following questions.

Vision statement

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. What do we want to do?
  3. What are my personal values?

Mission statement

  1. What is it the start-up does?
  2. How does the start-up want to do it?
  3. What is the main benefit?
  4. For whom do we start our business?

Lastly, I share with you one of my favourite quotes:

“For me, the winning strategy in any start-up business is think big and start small.” – Carmen Busquets

Author

Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.