How to Write Mission Vision and Values Statements for Your Company
In the business world, getting caught up in all the numbers and statistics that go along with running a company is easy. Whether you're just starting out or have been operating for a while, it can be difficult to remember why you began your business in the first place.
In order to keep things on track, many businesses create mission, vision, and values statements as an internal compass to help guide them through future decisions.
Before you can begin working toward your company's future, you need to establish a set of guiding principles. These statements are what give your business its vision and mission, and they provide the principles upon which you will build your values.
But creating them can be challenging because it requires you to think critically about where your business is now and where it's going.
And while these statements might seem like small details, they significantly impact how well your company operates.
Mission, vision and values statements are about putting your company's principles into words. So you can refer to them in the future when you need guidance or inspiration. They also help you and your team stay focused on what's important.
This article covers how to write each of these statements as well as how they fit together. Each is fairly short – they should take no more than an hour or two to complete if you have good points of reference from which to begin. Keep reading to learn more!
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement explains what purpose drives your company. It describes your company's product or service and the need they fill. It explains why your company exists.
Mission statements describe the core reason your company exists. This can be summed up in one or a few sentences.
It also includes specific information about your target audience. It may discuss your company's overall goal or deal with a particular aspect of your business, like its approach to sustainability.
A mission statement usually falls at the top of the other mission, vision, and value statements. They have a significant impact on how well your company operates.
The best way to understand a mission statement is to consider it the "why" behind your business. And that "why" is often discovered through a process of elimination.
Typically, you'll write one mission statement for your company and one for each of your product/service lines.
Why do you want to start a business in the first place? What problem are you trying to solve? What do you want to add to the world? What is your offering to customers?
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement describes what your company will look like in the future. It conveys your hopes for the company's future and its impact on the world. A vision is not a goal but a picture of the ideal future state of your company.
A vision statement is aspirational. It's not a list of what you want to achieve. It's a description of the way you want your company to be. Because a vision statement describes an ideal future without a clear path to get there, it is often used in conjunction with a mission statement.
The mission statement provides the path to get there, while the vision statement describes what the company will look like when you arrive.
A vision statement describes what you want your company or product line to be like in the future. It should be clear, concise, and inspiring. Some call this a "positive future statement."
That means it should paint a picture of what your company looks like when it's at its best – not what it looks like struggling to stay afloat or barely getting by.
How does your company look when it's operating at peak efficiency? What does it look like when everyone is excited to go to work? What does it look like when everyone is putting forth their best work? What does it look like when everyone is passionate and fulfilled in their jobs?
That's what a vision statement is for. It's for painting a picture of what your company looks like when everything is going right.
What is a value statement?
Value statements describe the qualities and core principles you want to see in your organization and the people who work for you. Your values will depend on your industry. For example, if your company is in the health or education space, you might have values like collaboration, responsibility, and integrity.
If your company is in the financial services space, you might have values like trustworthiness, transparency, and constant improvement. You can also use values as a philosophical framework to help you make decisions.
Say you have to make a tough decision and have no idea which way to go. You can refer to your values and ask yourself, "Does this decision reflect the values of our company?"
Why do you need mission, vision, and value statements?
These three kinds of statements fall under the larger umbrella of "company culture." They are a way to codify your company's culture so that it is clear to everyone from the moment they walk through the door.
- Your mission statement answers the question: "What do you do?"
- Your vision statement answers the question: "What do you want to be?"
- And your values statement answers the question: "Who do you want to be?"
Mission and vision statements are particularly helpful in bringing new employees up to speed quickly. New employees who understand the company culture will be much more effective in their first weeks and months on the job.
They'll be able to hit the ground running, empowered by a clear sense of where the company is going and what it wants to achieve.
Why Create a Company Mission Statement?
A mission statement helps you understand the reason your company exists in the first place. It's an opportunity for you to explain what your company does and how it benefits the world.
This is not meant to explain what you do on a day-to-day basis. Instead, it's a broader view of your business and how it fits in the world.
It's also important to note that your mission statement doesn't have to be a big, fancy paragraph. It can be one sentence long if that's all you need. Mission statements are intended to be flexible enough to change as the company grows and evolves.
A mission statement is a point of reference for any future decisions you may make. It's an internal compass that will keep you on the right path.
Why Create a Company Vision Statement?
A company vision statement is a broad view of what you hope your company will be in the future. It's not a specific goal but rather an overall picture of what your company will look like when it's successful.
Vision statements are meant to be guiding principles that help you make decisions when you're not sure what to do next. If you're ever caught in a sticky situation and aren't sure how to proceed, refer back to your vision statement. It will offer you direction and help you make the right decision.
Why Create Company Values Statements?
Company values are what make your company unique. They're the guiding principles that make your employees feel like they're part of an amazing team. Values are also what make your customers trust you.
If your values are honest, dependable, and friendly, your customers know you'll treat them respectfully and honestly. Additionally, values are the qualities that separate you from your competitors. Values are specific, and you can use them to highlight why customers should choose your company over others.
For example, if you work in the financial advising business, your company might value integrity. If so, you can use your integrity to set you apart from other financial advising companies.
What's the Difference Between Mission, Vision, and Values Statements?
All three statements are directly related and work together to help a company grow and succeed. While mission and vision statements are often used interchangeably, value statements differ.
Company values are a direct reflection of the culture within an organization. They're not actionable like mission and vision statements are.
If your company's values are to provide excellent customer service and offer high-quality products, that's great. However, it doesn't tell you what to do if a customer service representative makes a mistake or how to handle a product quality issue.
Mission and vision statements will give you direction in those situations. They'll help you know what to do and why you're doing it.
How to write a mission statement?
The best way to create a mission statement is to think critically about your company and what drives it. There are several ways to go about this, but they all end with you asking the right questions.
Understand what your company does now: Ask yourself, "What do we actually do here? What do we provide to our customers? What are the products or services we sell?" You will undoubtedly have a good idea of the answers to these questions already.
But it's important to dig deeper and think critically about these issues.
Understand how your company does its operations: This is a critical distinction. You can ask yourself, "How and what do we provide? What process do we use to manufacture our products? What service does our company offer?"
Figure out why your company does what it does: This is where you really dig in and think critically about why your company exists. Why are they manufacturing that product? Why are they selling that service? Why are they filling that need?
A mission statement should be a positive, aspirational description of what your company does and why it exists. It is not about what you do but about why you do it.
It should be a summary of your company's core values, with a focus on helping people. You can (and should) use your mission statement to inspire employees and clients.
For example, run a bakery that bakes gluten-free goods. Your mission statement might look something like this: Our mission is to provide gluten-free baked goods to our community.
We do this because we believe everyone deserves to have tasty treats and because we know being gluten-free can be a challenge.
We do this for everyone who needs a gluten-free alternative, and we're different because we bake everything from scratch, including the gluten-free flour we use.
Our customers get tasty treats that they can eat without fear of getting sick.
How to write a vision statement?
The best way to create a vision statement is to start with your mission statement. Once you clearly understand your mission statement, you can ask yourself, "What does the company look like when it achieves the goals outlined in the mission statement?"
Mission statements often include metrics and targets. A mission statement might say something like, "Our company will reduce the number of carbon emissions produced by 5 percent each year." Your vision statement will then translate those metrics into actionable items.
It might read: "Our company will be carbon-neutral." Understand what drives your company: This is where you look inward and think critically about what drives your company.
What is the general philosophy of your company? What drives the employees? What are the guiding principles that guide the company?
A vision statement should be a positive, aspirational description of what your company will be like in the future. It should focus on the end state of your company, not the path you'll take to get there.
It is a summary of your company's mission and values, focusing on delivering value to customers. You can (and should) use your vision statement to inspire employees.
A vision statement is a little broader than a mission statement. It's not meant to give you direction every day. Instead, it's designed to help you understand the big picture of where your company is going.
A good vision statement will help you imagine what success looks like. It will also help you see past immediate challenges and remind you why your company exists.
A great way to write a vision statement is to use the S.W.O.T. analysis. This analysis will help you identify your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Then you can combine all of those things into a vision statement.
How to write a value statement?
Value statements should be derived from your mission and vision statements. You should be able to look at your vision statement and clearly see what values drive the company.
A values statement should list your company's core virtues and principles. Each value should be something that's aspirational – but not an unachievable ideal.
Values are core philosophies that should be reflected in your company's decision. They should be easy to remember and applicable in any situation.
You can (and should) refer to your values when making decisions and when making hiring/firing decisions. They're easy to refer back to and give you a solid philosophical foundation for making important decisions.
If you have trouble generating a set of values, consider asking yourself the same questions that you did when creating your mission and vision statements. You can also draw from research and feedback.
For example, a sustainability-focused company might investigate what sustainability means. You can also use surveys and polls to solicit customer, employee, and stakeholder feedback.
The best way to write value statements is to imagine sitting across a table from your customers and employees. You want to ensure they know who you are and what sets you apart from the competition.
While mission and vision statements deal with the internal workings of your company, values statements are something you can share externally. Values are also something that should be revisited regularly. As your company and industry change, your values statements will likely need to be tweaked.
Mission Vision Values Statement examples:
Here you can find a selection of mission vision and values statement examples.
Mission Statement examples:
- Sweetgreen: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
- IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
- JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
- Tesla: To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
- Nordstrom: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
Vision Statement examples
- Alzheimer's Association: A world without Alzheimer's disease.
- Teach for America: One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
- Microsoft: We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.
- LinkedIn: Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Value Statement examples:
- HubSpot: Employees who work at HubSpot have HEART: Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent
- Target Corporation:
- More for your money
- The best shopping experiences
- A healthy, happy, and valued team
- A brighter future
- Ethical business practices
- Wegmans Food Markets:
- High Standards
- Make a Difference
- Zoom Communications: Care: for Community, Customers, Company, Teammates, Selves
The mission, vision, and values statements that make up your company's culture are critical to the success of your business. They give your company a clear sense of direction, which is essential for staying on track.
They also serve as a guide for new employees and partners looking to join the team. Making these statements part of your company culture may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be difficult.
They help keep everyone on the same page and move towards a common goal. They're also very useful when making decisions because they can help you determine the best path forward.
Because these statements are so short, it's important to consider them before writing them. Refer to your company's core values and goals, and use them as a guide to writing these short but powerful letters.
You can generate mission, vision, and values statements using the same process you would use to create a product or service.
Mission, vision, and values statements are all about putting your company's principles into words. So you can refer to them in the future when you need guidance or inspiration.