Do you find it easy to explain what your business is all about to other people? Do you spew forth in great detail what it is you do, explaining everything in minute detail until people’s eyes begin to glaze over, or do you mutter a few words about selling widgets?
If you fall into either of those camps, you could most certainly benefit from setting out your business’s Vision, Mission and Values statement.
It may sound like another of those wishy-washy things that take up inordinate amounts of time only to be filed away, never again to see the light of day.
But instead, consider it as a valuable investment which gets to the crux of your business and helps you to nail your introduction to potential customers.
Not only that, it can also act as your North Star, helping to inform every decision you make regarding your business and keep you on track to getting to where you want to be.
So, what are they and how can you create an effective Vision, Mission and Values Statement?
Writing Your Vision Statement
As the name may suggest, your Vision Statement is about looking to the future.
It outlines your business goals, providing a guiding light for where you are ultimately heading and trying to achieve.
In short, your Vision Statement is aspirational, inspirational and motivational.
At Red Shoes, our Vision is short, sweet and simple:
Red Shoes Media & Marketing champions small businesses to help them be the best they can be, by being the best we can be.
You may want to look at your elevator pitch and your goals to help you write your Vision Statement and be guided by your company values too.
Gather as much information as possible and then just start to write. You can always take the best bits from several draft vision statements to make up the final version.
You can also ask for feedback from other people involved in your business, or those who have helped you shape your current business.
Like a goal, once you achieve what you set out in your vision, you will need to set a new one to aspire to and to inspire and motivate yourself and your team.
A VISION STATEMENT:
- can be between one line and several paragraphs long
- provides direction and inspiration for your company.
- sets out your most important goals, but doesn’t include a practical plan to achieve those goals.
- outlines how you help people, the value you offer to the world, and what you plan to achieve as a business.
- should be written in ordinary, everyday language that is meaningful to you, your customers, and your employees. Where possible, avoid business jargon.
Writing Your Mission Statement
A mission is all about action and it’s the same for your Mision Statement.
This is where you describe what your business does and the actions it takes to move towards its vision.
To write your Mission Statement it is best to have your Vision Statement in front of you and then ask yourself: “What must I do to make this happen?”
Mission statements tend to be customer-focused, so another way of asking the question is: “What must I do for my customers to make this vision a reality?”
Try asking yourself these four questions to help you write your Mission Statement:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- Whom do we do it for?
- What value are we bringing?
For example, Red Shoes Media & Marketing’s Mission reads:
Red Shoes Media & Marketing is on a mission to help small businesses grow and succeed by supporting them to identify and implement new marketing strategies and systems which make them more effective and efficient.
As you can see, our mission statement doesn’t go into great details about what we do.
There’s a lot of stuff that goes into “identifying and implementing new marketing strategies and systems”, but our mission statement explains simply what we are going to do, for whom and why.
As with your vision statement, your mission statement should be under continual review. As your vision statement changes, your mission statement will need to change, too.
Defining your business’s core values
Identifying your core values can be tricky , but it’s an exercise worth having a go at as your values can provide guidance for ambiguous scenarios and tough tradeoffs, as well as influence the million daily decisions you have to take to propel your company on its mission to achieve its vision.
There is no right or wrong way to do it, but you can evaluate your mission and your vision to see if those statements embody your values.
Another way to think of your values is your commitments – or vows – to your team and your customers.
They are about how your business will behave. Imagine if there was a decision to be made which affected the company’s profitability, for example. Would you be guided by your value of honesty above making a quick buck?
Values are about your business “mindset” and behaviours – if your Mission Statement is the “why” your business serves customers, your values are the “how”.
As an example to help you see how values guide your business, here’s our’s.
Red Shoes helps small businesses grow and succeed by operating to our values:
R – Reliable and Responsible
E – Entrepreneurial and Energetic
D – Daring To Do Things Differently
S – Straightforward and Simple
H – Honest and Happy
O – Open and Optimistic
E – Exceptional and Encouraging
S – Support and Service
Vision, Mission and Values tie-up
So, that’s it. Your Vision, Mission and Values Statements are now complete.
Print them and stick them up where everyone can see them, or tuck them away in your desk drawer to take out on a regular basis to inspire you.
Whatever you do with yours, be sure to refer to them regularly to make sure your business stays on track.
But remember, your statements do not have to look like anyone else’s. They are as individual as your business and reflect you, your personality and your goals for your business.
Use them to inspire and motivate you to get to where you want to be.