Vision, Mission, Values: Your secret weapons for successful brand and business strategy
One of the hardest things to do as a creative entrepreneur is to decide what activities and strategies you need to be focused on to grow your business.
When you’re just starting out, everything feels new and overwhelming. How do you decide which strategy will actually generate results for your business?
And as you begin to grow and gain traction, you’ll be presented with new opportunities — ideas for products and services, ways to collaborate with your growing network and community, and the ever-present array of marketing strategies you feel you could be using to reach your goals and serve your audience.
Over and over again, you’ll be faced with the need to make a choice about whether to act on something. Which direction should you go? What should you prioritize? Which options are the best investment for your business and to serve your audience?
Today I want to talk about three strategic tools that will be essential to helping you make the right strategic choices for your business. These tools help you to keep your eyes on the prize: the reason you started your business, what you’re really trying to accomplish, and what is most important to you.
They’re your vision, your mission, and your values. In this post, we’ll go through each one: what it is, why you need it for your business, and a few pointers for creating your own.
Your vision is the highest-level statement of purpose and direction for your business. It’s all about your why — that “North Star” that you’re moving towards.
Your vision should be big picture and aspirational, almost to the point that it’s impossible to meet. That’s because your vision isn’t actually about what you do — it’s about who you are as a business and why what you do matters. It’s focused on hopes and dreams, on your contribution to making the world a better place.
A good vision keeps your business strategy focused on the overall impact that you want to have on the world. It’s exciting and empowering. It inspires and challenges you and your team to think creatively, to innovate, and to keep pursuing that dream.
Questions you should be asking yourself as you consider your business’ vision:
- How are we making the world a better place? What will a better world look like, as a result of what we’re doing?
- What problem are we trying to solve?
- How are we inspiring change?
If your vision is all about your why, your mission is all about your what and your how. Your mission statement looks at the “tomorrow” of your vision statement and says, “here’s how we’ll get there today.”
Your mission is practical, focused on what your organization does, who you serve, and how you are taking steps to make your vision a reality.
This should be the strategic centre your business. It helps you to identify your core business objectives and then build out goals, strategies and tactics that support your core. If you have a team, it keeps everyone pulling in the same direction, providing focus, unity, and common purpose.
Questions you should be asking yourself as you consider your business’ mission statement:
- What do we do as a business to achieve our vision?
- Who do we serve?
- How do we serve them?
Vision vs. Mission - Some examples
It can be easy to blur the lines between your vision and mission statements. But done right, they should be working together to create a picture of what your organization is really all about — both in terms of what you aspire to and how you are working to get there.
To help illustrate how vision and mission statements are different but work together, take a look at some good examples:
Mission: Belong anywhere.
Vision: Tapping into the universal human yearning to belong — the desire to feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for who you are, no matter where you might be.
Mission: We are here to help our customers kick ass. We do that by living our strategy and ruthlessly prioritizing our work to create simple elegant technology that delights our customers – all while delivering service that is second to none. Every single day, we join forces across teams and groups to break down barriers, build new markets and stare down the impossible until the impossible blinks.
Vision: We will radically shift the global economy toward small business by empowering people to easily start, confidently grow and successfully run their own ventures.
Mission: Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Vision: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
JDRF (Canadian Type 1 Diabetes research foundation):
Mission: Today, we realize that we are engaged in a process of curing T1D – that a cure is not just a destination but also a journey along a path. And we recognize that a part of our mission must be to help those living with T1D today to live healthier, easier, and safer lives until we arrive at the end of that path.
Vision: A world without Type One Diabetes. (Tagline: Let’s turn Type One into Type None)
Your business’ values are all about your guiding principles, philosophy or beliefs. They identify what really matters to you as an organization — what you stand for and how you operate.
Where your vision and mission are focused on direction, your values are focused on what you believe to be important or true as you move forward on a daily basis.
This has a powerful impact on your culture and your brand. Your values drive your brand’s message, the way you serve and interact with customers, and the choices you make in terms of your products and services. Your values should infuse every aspect of your brand and business, setting you apart and creating the environment in which your business and community thrive.
Questions to help you identify your business’ values:
- What do you want your brand or business to be known for?
- What principles or beliefs are essential to successfully achieving your mission?
- What principles or beliefs are important to your business’ culture and decision-making processes?
Want an example? You can see my mission and value statements right over here.
Whether you’re just starting out or in a phase of growth and expansion, taking the time to develop clear vision, mission and value statements will bring you clarity and purpose. They’ll keep you focused on what your ultimate goals are, making it easier to set priorities and make decisions that support those goals.
Just as importantly, these strategic “secret weapons” have the power to connect you with your customers and their priorities and values. Your mission, vision and values should be the driving force behind your brand, shaping the way you interact with and serve your customers.