Whether growing or just starting out, your business has an overarching goal that drives you. To keep that goal focused, to yourself, employees and customers, you’ll need a clear Vision Statement and Mission Statement.
Purpose is a lifelong journey—whether personal to you or to the life of your business. Even very large companies commonly start out with a mission statement. I believe it confuses the picture.
Purpose comes from your Why—so start there and study what is behind your starting or buying the business. Watch out for the notion that you’re in business to make money; that is not actually a sustainable purpose. But, a well thought out and defined purpose will result in making money.
Your Why informs your Purpose and gives you the substance that can carry you through the ups and downs of business life. Make sure this comes from your Why and not your “Shoulds.”
Once you clearly define your Purpose, you need to be able to state it in one or two sentences that roll off your tongue. It’s easy because they are an inherent part of you.
From this Purpose statement, you can flesh out the Vision of what and how you are going to fulfill it. Keep in mind that Purpose is a lifelong journey, the forms of the Vision will change over time, even if the essence of your purpose will remain the same. If you have employees, give them a chance to help write and express that Vision. This includes them, giving them a buy-in to participate.
Over the life of your business you will set certain goals and strategies, in line with your Purpose and Vision, to bring this all to life. Your Mission is a goal or strategy that you set, to complete within a certain time frame. You may carry out several missions at once, assigned to various people or departments within your organization.
I’m aware that companies will continue to confuse Purpose and Vision statements with Mission statements. However, my years of business coaching (36+) have proven to me that these differentiations are key factors in determining clarity and success for entrepreneurs. They also help you keep a finger on the pulse of the true life blood of your business: the people you work, serve and collaborate with. Their understanding of these concepts let you know that you are leading in a transparent and authentic