As we close 2008 and look ahead to the future year it is important for you and your business to look to the future ahead, not simply by thinking about the up coming year but by creating a vision and goals that you want to reach in the next twelve months.
Goal setting will help you to excel in the new year. Taking time to create a step by step process to help meet your goals will send a clear message to your whole company as to which direction you want to head this year.
A mission statement tells what business you are in and what products and services you offer. It is a clear statement of purpose. A mission statement may last for decades.
A vision statement transforms the organization. It provides a picture of what could be. It is a catalyst that can impel an organization to move toward that dream. As dreams come true or realities change, visions change. It is a goal of the highest order.
Both people and organizations need to establish a strategic framework for significant success. This framework consists of:
· a mission that defines your organization and it’s purpose,
· a vision on how what you want to become in the future,
· Milestones that zero in on your success , and
· goals and action plans to guide your daily, weekly and monthly actions.
Your organization’s success and your personal success depend on how well you define and live by each of these important concepts. Today we will discuss the difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement and what part each of these play in your success
Mission or Purpose is a precise description of what an organization does. It should describe the business the organization is in. It is a definition of “why” the organization exists currently. Each member of an organization should be able to verbally express this mission.
A Mission Statement defines the organization’s purpose and primary objectives. A Mission Statement answers the following three questions:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- For whom do we do it?
Mission Statement Creation
- To create your mission statement, first identify your organization’s “winning idea”. This is what you do that makes you unique from your competitors. It is the reason why customers want to work with you rather than your competition. Your “winning idea” is not only what you make or do, but it involves knowing your customer and their needs and how your product or service fulfills those needs. Your “winning idea” is what you do to make your customer’s lives better.
- Next identify how you accomplish your “winning idea”. This will take into account what you make to do and how you get it to your customers. The answer to “How we do it” should fit the need that the customer fulfills to you when they purchase your product or service. This will define the key measures of your success.
- Though many small business owners would like to believe otherwise, not everyone is a potential customer. Customers will almost always have both demographic and geographic limitations. When starting out, it is generally a good idea to define the demographic characteristics (age, income, etc.) of customers who are likely to buy and then define a geographic area in which your business can gain a presence.
- Combine your winning idea, you success measures, and your customer into a tangible and measurable goal.
- Refine the words until you have a concise and precise statement of your mission, which expresses your ideas, measures and desired result and inspires your organization.
An example of a Mission Statement from Dole Foods:
“Dole Food Company, Inc. is committed to supplying the consumer and our customers with the finest, high-quality products and to leading the industry in nutrition research and education. Dole supports these goals with a corporate philosophy of adhering to the highest ethical conduct in all its business dealings, treatment of its employees, and social and environmental policies.”
A vision is a statement about what your organization wants to become. It should resonate with all members of the organization and help them feel proud, excited, and part of something much bigger than themselves. A vision should stretch the organization’s capabilities and image of itself. It gives shape and direction to the organization’s future.
Your Vision Statement answers the following questions:
- What does success look like?
- What will our business look like in 3 to 5 years from now?
- What new things do we intend to pursue?
- What future customer needs do we want to satisfy?
Vision Statement Creation
- First identify your organization’s Mission Statement which includes an analysis of who your customers are and the needs you fulfill for them.
- Next, identify what you, your customers and other stakeholders will value most about how your organization will achieve this mission. These are the key values that your organization has or should have.
- Combine your mission and values, and polish the words until you have a vision statement inspiring enough to energize and motivate people inside and outside your organization.
An example of a Vision Statement from AT&T:
“We aspire to be the most admired and valuable company in the world. Our goal is to enrich our customers’ personal lives and to make their businesses more successful by bringing to market exciting and useful communications services, building shareowner value in the process.”
Some resources used:
· An interesting article on what makes a powerful vision statement. (http://www.clickz.com/3565491)
· An article on strategic planning for individuals and organizations. (http://humanresources.about.com/cs/strategicplanning1/a/strategicplan.htm)
· An article on Core Competence Analysis to help you define the “what you make or do” part of your Mission Statement. (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_94.htm)
· An article on defining your Unique Selling Proposition. This is a practical tool for salespeople, but it can also help you understand the “how you solve your customer’s problems” part of your Mission Statement. (http://www.businesstown.com/advertising/basic-usp.asp)