I’m often asked what the difference between Vision and Mission are.
A Vision Statement describes the desired future position of the company.
A Mission Statement defines the company’s business, its objectives, and its approach to reach those objectives.
I would add that the Vision Statement is best directed internally (e.g. to leadership and employees). It gives the management and staff a view into the business owners thinking. The Mission Statement is best directed externally (e.g. to customers, partners, vendors, etc.). This is the statement of who you are as a business.
Which is defined first is up to the business owner. However, I believe that the Vision statement is the best place to start.
Here are some good questions to help with your thinking about your vision statement:
- What are our hopes and dreams?
- What problem are we solving for the greater good?
- Who and what are we inspiring to change?
Here are some good questions to help with your thinking about your mission statement:
- What do we do?
- Whom do we serve?
- How do we serve them?
Final thought. While most business owners know what business they are in and why often their employees are not entirely informed. Once you’ve reached clarity on your Vision/Mission statements, convey those intentions fully with your staff.
Here is an example of Amazon’s Mission/Vision statement
Vision: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Mission: We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.
Why it works: Amazon’s mission is cut-and-dry about what they offer to customers. The vision takes the offerings farther, saying their company will offer “anything” customers want.