If you’re running a business or plan on starting one soon, you may require both a vision and mission statement. These two statements help shape your company’s purpose and outline what you want to achieve.

Though they can help an organization focus and give it direction, there is often confusion around what mission and vision statements are and their differences. You need to strike a balance: mission and vision statements must reflect a business’s status quo and point to an achievable future. They mustn’t be too vague, interchangeable, or unrealistic.

A clear, compelling mission statement can enhance your business’s image and explain its goals, while a concise vision statement can provide the foundation for developing your objectives and action plans. What follows is a guide to help you develop and realize your organization’s mission and vision statements.

A bulletin board with sticky notes of mission and vision statement ideas

What Is the Difference Between a Mission and Vision Statement?

A mission statement will typically describe what the company is, what it does, its purpose, and who it serves. Mission statements highlight an organization’s principles and values, are action-oriented and should inspire people to act.

On the other hand, a vision statement usually describes where the company wants to be or what it wants to achieve. It should also be inspirational, but it’s a declaration of what the company will become based on its long-term goals.

Mission statements typically stay the same, while vision statements may evolve as the company grows and expands into new markets and launches new products or services.

Both statements can help inspire both you and your employees to work towards achieving the company’s mission and vision. While a mission statement can be made public, you may want to make it private and for employees’ eyes only as it may tip off your competitors if it becomes public information.

How to Write a Mission Statement

If you want to learn how to write a mission statement, you should have some questions in mind for yourself and your leadership team:

  • What problems does our company solve?
  • What is our company’s purpose?
  • Who are our customers?
  • What do our customers value the most?
  • What makes our company different from our competitors?

Once these questions have been answered, see if you can identify any common themes. Then you can begin the process of creating a statement. However, you should remember to:

  • Make it realistic. Your company should be able to reach the goal it’s trying to achieve. You don’t want to set a target that’s impossible to attain.
  • Be clear. The statement should be easy to understand for everyone inside and outside the company. It shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning something else or be challenging to understand.
  • Make it inspirational. You should have a mission statement that is inspiring for everyone who works at your company.
  • Be unique. Don’t copy and paste someone else’s statement and change a few words to suit your needs.

Once you have some statements prepared, try to be as succinct as possible. Take your time crafting it and eliminate any words that aren’t needed. 

Here are a few examples of mission statements:

  • “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
  • Shopify: “Making commerce better for everyone.”
  • “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”

Once the mission statement is agreed upon, a vision statement should be created.

How to Write a Vision Statement

The vision statement will typically guide the company’s strategic planning. Here are a few things to consider when creating a vision statement:

  • The company’s mission. Keep your mission statement in mind. You can’t create a vision statement without understanding the company’s purpose and who it serves.
  • The company’s core values. What is your company’s identity? How does the company interact with employees and the community? These values can help shape what you envision your company will be.
  • The company’s culture. Your company’s culture may be friendly, motivating, or collaborative. Whatever it is, the vision statement should be aligned with the culture.
  • The company’s goals. You need to know where your company is and where it wants to be. The company’s goals should be realistic, but revenue targets shouldn’t be included.

You should ensure that a vision statement includes certain traits. Like a mission statement, it should be clear, realistic, and inspirational. You should also remember to:

  • Have a future objective. The vision statement is about where the company sees itself, not where it is now.
  • Include a time horizon. Target a point in the future that you expect to achieve your vision and determine whether the statement needs to be updated.
  • Have a challenging target. The goal should be reachable but not too easy to reach. You don’t want to be able to hit your target within a few months and need to rewrite your vision statement that soon.
  • Keep the future in mind. The market can change quickly, or technological advances can affect your company’s ability to reach its target. Remember these before crafting the statement.

Like creating a mission statement, you should have a few options in mind before presenting it to the management team or company. Here are some examples of other companies’ vision statements:

  • Ikea: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
  • RBC: “To be among the world’s most trusted and successful financial institutions.”
  • CIBC: “Our vision is to be the leader in client relationships. We will build the most trusting and enduring client relationships by putting our clients at the centre of all that we do. We will listen intently to our clients, offering them what they need, and striving to exceed their expectations.”

Make Protecting Your Business a Part of Your Mission

If you want to write a good mission and vision statement, the above steps will help you get there. Once those are complete, it’s up to you and your company to try and achieve the goals you’ve created.

Also, it’s vital to have the right business insurance to protect your company as it grows to ensure that you and your team can reach those inspirational goals. There are different factors to  consider before buying a small business insurance policy, but that’s how Zensurance can help: we take the hassle and confusion out of purchasing insurance.

So take a few minutes to fill out an online application and get a free quote. Our licensed brokers will find and customize the policy to suit your needs from our network of more than 50 Canadian insurance companies.

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About the Author: Craig Sebastiano

Craig Sebastiano is an award-winning business writer based in Toronto. He has written for a variety of financial publications and websites. He has written about several topics, including investing, insurance, real estate, mortgages, credits cards, banking, pensions, saving for retirement, and taxes.