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Defining the Difference Between Your Company’s Vision and Its Mission

Discover the fundamental values that are conducive to your successful business plan.

Every entrepreneur knows the basic concept: every successful business starts with a vision and a mission. However, not every start-up realizes the valuable difference between the two, or which one comes first. Here’s the scoop.

Does it really start with a vision?

The short answer is no. This is a common confusion in the business community. At first thought, it makes sense that the vision for a company would come before understanding what the mission is. Most people correlate the word with dreams and aspirations, which are the foundation of starting a business.

Defined by Entrepreneur as “the picture of your success in the future”, a company’s vision statement isn’t truly clear until you know the what and why. You can’t measure success without setting a goal first.

First, define your company’s mission statement.

Psychology Today lists vision and mission as two of the six core elements to a strategic business plan. The article goes on to describe a company’s mission as a statement that “answers three questions about why an organization exists”. In other words, this is your company’s “whole-picture” purpose.

A mission statement is a little more cut-and-dry in comparison to a vision statement. It is a realistic assertion of your organization’s principles. To determine your purpose, start by asking yourself:

  • Why does your business exist?
  • What is your organization’s overall intention?
  • Who does it cater to?
  • How does your company achieve this?
Discover your vision

Once your organization has a clearly defined mission, you can go on to determine the vision you have for your company’s future. These are the goals you want your business to achieve in the years to come. Think about the detailed successes you want it to reach. This will bring clarity to your vision as your reflections become a starting point to an insightful, passionate vision statement.

Defining emotive objectives initiates the steps needed to make your mission happen. To understand the goals you have for your company, answer the following questions:

  • What does your organization seek to solve?
  • Where do you see your business in 5, 10, or 15 years from now?
  • What do you love most about what your company does?