Let’s begin this topic
with the question of “why”?
Why do you do what you do? Being a business owner comes with its own set of challenges, blessings, and growth opportunities. There are days when you are building things where you may be working very late nights and very early mornings. So why? Why are you doing it?
Is it simply for money, and that you see the possibilities of a lifestyle that you cannot have in any other way? Is it to build a lifestyle of more time and flexibility? Is it because you are passionate about your craft? Are you trying to impact the world in a certain way?
There is no right or wrong way to answer this question, but it’s important that you do know the answer. On the days where customers are upset, where you must make decision after decision, when you realize you are sacrificing the present for your future, feeling your why in every cell of your body helps you orient to the motivation needed to get through these moments not only well, but at a super high level.
You are likely getting into this business not because you just want to get by, but because you want to fly and sore in your life. And most people do not get to that level of success without some trying periods.
Your why is your lifeline, your anchor in these hard times. It is a driving force and something that can keep you calm and centered in your body during stress.
The vision of my company, “Bitch to Boss,” is to help women around the world be free. Can you see that this is very broad, and while you can conceptualize it… it is difficult to see exactly how to get there? Nike’s vision statement is to do everything possible to expand human potential.
Visions statements are exactly that… visions of the future – a future that is brighter in some way. Vision statements also help companies know WHO they are. For example, if the company has to make a major decision (or even a minor one) and is having difficulty knowing which way to go with that decision, the leaders can run the possible decision choices through the vision statement. They can ask themselves this question: “Of all the various choices we have in front of us, which decisions move us closer to, or further from, our goals and vision?” This is how a well written vision statement can be a guide through hard times.
In my businesses, at our staff meetings, we talk a lot about what our visions are. We empower our team to know the vision so well so that they too can run major decisions through the lens of the vision to help them determine what decisions to make. This understanding of the vision by the entire team helps to make sure that we are all making decisions that are in alignment with the company’s ultimate vision and goals.
In addition, I also use our vision as a way of screening/interviewing potential candidates for working on my various companies. It is important that we have a team that is all working towards the same goal. This helps the team function more in unison and can unite everyone over a common goal. When a candidate is interviewing for a new position in the company, we ask about their vision in life and speak about the vision/mission of the company. This helps us make sure we are gathering people for our team that share common goals.
Now Let’s talk about the Mission Statement and Then We Will Talk About Writing Both
Mission statements tend to be more specific and tangible. They are the some of the “How” that help you get to the why. Out of the mission statement, easier-to-implement, tangible steps are born. For example, Nike’s mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete. Can you see how that is more tangible than the vision of expanding human potential? “Expanding human potential” does not really give us anything to grasp. It is very broad and is not telling us how they will do it or who they will target to do this.
Business mission statements are more tangible… they tell us a bit more of the how that we use to get to our vision. At Bitch to Boss our mission is to help women gain the commitment, confidence and clarity that they need to build a business they love with a lifestyle they design.
Everything we offer is to move the needle towards this. We donate 10% of our profits to charitable organizations aimed at helping women be free and have a better chance at this to support our mission beyond the business coaching and training we offer.
If you are a female entrepreneur looking to get business training/coaching to help you scale and build the lifestyle you want, check out our business training HERE.
Creating Your Own Business Mission
and Vision Statements
To create your own business mission and vision statements, consider the answers to the following questions (if you are doing this exercise with your team, have them consider the answers for themselves as well):
1) What sort of injustice is happening in your community, country or the world that really irks you?
2) Is there a system, a culture, a belief, or a practice in the world that you want to change?
3) What do you feel is your purpose for being on this earth?
4) What sort of problems do you solve in a way that is unique?
5) What do you find yourself fired up talking about when you are hanging with friends?
6) What sorts of things make you want to get out of bed in the morning or stay up late doing?
Once you understand the answers to these questions, the next step is to form your why.
If you do not know your why, let’s start with that right now. It is the reason you are doing what you are doing. It is what can get you out of bed on hard days. Essentially, your why is essentially your vision statement.
If you are doing this exercise with a team, it is worth having everyone come up with their why. Provided that your team is fairly small, having everyone speak their why out loud can help everyone feel included in the vision. Essentially, this is your business, and you are the leader, so the vision has to be in alignment with your goals for the company. But if your vision is different than those on your team, it is typically worth taking a few minutes to hear why other’s visions are important to them. Is there a way that their vision can connect to your vision in any way?
Seeing if you can find a way to connect the dots between their vision and yours can help them buy into your vision more (if it is different). This sort of buy-in can help motivate the team to be more aligned with where you want to go as a company. When everyone is bought into the same vision, morale tends to go up and people are willing to work harder because they believe in what the company is doing. We want staff and team members that feel proud to be part of a bigger movement.
If your team member is purely motivated by money and not by the vision, they may still do great work for you (if they are paid well) but will likely move on as soon as another better financial opportunity comes up. Therefore, it is helpful to get people on your team that are aligned with the vision. Of course, you want to pay well and take care of them AND if you can get them aligned to your vision, team members are more likely to stay during challenging times and corporate growing pains.
If you have never done this (or not done it in a while), put your vision on paper. It is advisable to put your why visible around your office and home. This can help encourage you on difficult days and remind you why you are doing what you are doing.
If you have a team, I encourage you to write these with them. It is your company, so obviously they need to align with what you are doing and the reason you are going into this business. AND if you can have your team help with the writing process, you will get much more “buy-in” from them, and this usually means they will be more interested in working hard towards that vision.
Most people respond well internally to doing work that is bigger than themselves. As humans, giving back to the world tends to make us feel purposeful and good about ourselves and what we are doing with our time. This is what you are working to provide to yourselves and your team. You are working to provide something outside of themselves that they can connect to and work hard for.
More on Business Mission
and Vision Statements
In general, vision statements are often more outward facing, and mission statements are more inward facing. This means that companies tend to utilize their vision statements in public facing material. It may be used on the website and other marketing materials. This is not to say there is a “rule,” and certainly both can be outward facing. But the vision is truly more the EMOTIONAL statement. It tends to be easier for people to get behind. Not as many people may care about how a company reaches their vision. But the fact that a company is working to do good things in the world, that is something people can get behind.
The other thing that the vision and mission statements help illustrate are the company’s values. What does the company stand for? You will not find that everyone aligns with the values, vision, and mission.
In fact, it is best to write a vision and mission statement that while easily understood, will not connect to every single person. For example, people that are not athletes will likely not connect to Nike’s mission statement. But, their customers, the athlete, will.
As an athlete since a young child, I remember so clearly when the Just Do It campaign by Nike came out. There was a commercial of a woman running on an open road. The emotional state that I connected to through the commercial that was communicating Nike’s mission and values, is something I STILL remember 30+ years later. Now that is a well-done mission (and commercial). When your ideal customer can feel what you are doing and recall it many years later, you have nailed it.
How do You Know if Your Business Mission and Vision Statements Are Good?
Once you have your vision statement and your mission statement down, run them by family and friends. Especially since the vision statement tends to be the outward facing statement, see if your friends and family both understand it and connect to it. Talk to your clients about the vision statement. Is it clear to them what your company stands for? Does it make them excited to invest in your company when they hear the underlying vision that the company has? Run the mission statement by them as well.
If you do not find that people are responding well to your business mission and vision statements, you are not done yet. Another possibility is to do a survey of your customers. The Ask Method by Ryan Levesque is a methodology for doing surveys of customers in a way that helps motivate people to complete the survey, but also offers a way of interpreting the survey to make sure you are paying most attention to the results from your ideal customer. If you are going to do a survey to get feedback about your vision/mission statements, this methodology is a great tool. I have used it in my businesses for outward facing decisions such as rebranding. It is important that the image we are presenting is attracting our most IDEAL customer. The most ideal customer is not simply the person that wants our product/service, but it is the ideal client that we want to work with. Everything outward facing should resonate with our most ideal customer. This is how we fill our business… not only with raving fans, but with the types of people that we ultimately desire to work with.
That is the summary on why you need business mission and vision statements, as well as how to write them. I always encourage people to plan for writing these. Do not just put it on a list somewhere to MAYBE come back to. Look at your schedule and pick a date (include your team if applicable) to get this done. When it is done, write it on a whiteboard in your office and put it around your house as a reminder. Encourage your team to memorize it and ask them from time-to-time if they know what it is. If you want help with this and various areas of growing and scaling your business and you are a female entrepreneur, check out our business trainings HERE.