When running your business, it’s so easy to get caught in the day to day and forget about the big stuff, such as your strategic foundation and overall brand. There’s a lot of risk in not defining these things, but when you’ve taken the time to define both your vision and your values, it guides everything in your business.
Why is it so important to define your mission and vision?
Your brand is everything you do. It’s every interaction someone has with your business, from seeing your logo to receiving a brochure. Defining your vision and mission within your brand lets these items act as a north star that guides your decisions.
When this strategic foundation isn’t clearly defined, it results in messaging that is too broad and difficulty in setting the right goals to align with your business.
The purpose of a mission and vision
Your vision and mission are internal-facing, which means it acts as a guide for you and your team internally but is reflected out to your customers through the things your mission and vision guide – which is everything,
This strategic foundation works to define the transformation you bring to clients and the reason why you do what you do, whether it is a huge project or a difficult email that you need to send. These are at the bottom of your strategic foundation. If you were to look at building your brand like building a house, your vision and mission are the foundation of the house, and without them, it’s like building a house on sand.
Defining your vision and mission helps you keep the bigger picture in mind. Let’s get to defining them!
Important Questions to start with:
These are important questions to answer and keep handy when formulating your mission and vision. Everything should be consistent and work together.
- Pain points: What problems are you solving for your customers? Think both literally and emotionally and jot down some bullet points.
- How do I want people to feel from interacting with my brand? Write single words about how you want people to feel experiencing your brand and keep your list at 5 to 10 words to make sure you cover everything but still keep the list actionable.
- What is the primary message you want to convey to your customers? This specific question will help you to speak to the actual change your product or service brings.
Keep these questions with you as you follow the next steps.
How to Write your Vision and Mission: The What-How Method
Right before we get into defining your vision and mission, it’s important to understand how they work together. The mission and vision of your company are entirely dependent on each other and we discover them using the What-How Method.
The “What” is the vision and the “How” is the mission.
What- What are we aspiring to be?
How-How do we get there?
The vision is at the bottom of your strategic model and the mission is built on that.
Let’s Write your Vison
Your vision is your “What”, which means it is your purpose! What is the vision? If you think about it in a realistic sense, vision means sight and looking ahead, or forward.
- Purpose for being
- The impact you make
- The aspiration- What you aspire to be
The questions you should ask to help you uncover your vision are:
- Why are we here?
- Where are we headed?
- What difference are we making?
The best vision statements are simple, forward-looking, and inspirational. The format for a vision statement is:
My/our vision is to (aspirational action)___________ (who you are serving)_________ (Why? What is the outcome or benefit?)__________.
For the aspirational action, try to go beyond your service and look instead at the transformation you are offering. The mission statement is meant to stay constant even as your business expands so it needs to be broad and encompassing.
Make sure that it flows as a cohesive sentence.
Let’s Write your Mission
Your mission is the “How” to your vision statement. Write your vision statement out and then write “by” after it.
While your vision is future-focused, your mission is much more rooted in the present. The questions you should ask to help you uncover your mission are:
- How do we make the vision come true?
- What do we do?
- What is the impact of what we do?
The structure for a mission statement is:
By (what you do)___________ (how you do it)__________(what happens from this)________.
The future of your vision and mission statement
Now, it’s time to separate your vision and mission statement. The What-How method combines them to make sure that they are written as a cohesive strategy but after using that method, separate them into their own statements to carry you forward in your business.
Great job defining your mission and values! Now, this isn’t something we just put in a drawer and forget about. This is something that should be known and remembered by both you and your employees.
Most companies will include the vision and mission in onboarding packets for new employees because it is so important to work as one cohesive and consistent team in having the same vision and working towards that by following the same mission.
This strategic foundation forms the foundation that everything else in your business is built on, from your company’s voice to the way you interact with customers to what goals are set within the company and even to the visual identity of the brand such as the colors used and the way posts look on social media.
Your vision should stand the test of time and remain mostly constant unless there is a massive pivot or change in your business. Your mission should be re-evaluated from time to time as how we deliver to our customers can change with new innovations or adding different offers.
About the Author
Christy is a brand strategist and designer who works to inspire confidence in the women she works with so they can align with their higher self. Owner of asymdesigns.com, she passionately teaches the importance of great branding and offers strategic branding for online entrepreneurs that makes consistency and authenticity easy.