When I start working with a new client, I ask them three things: Do you have written vision and mission statements? What about a written brand statement? Why these three things? Because my client and I are about to embark on a journey together and, these three things are going to save us a lot of gas.
Yes, I said “gas.” Because the analogy I like to use to define vision, mission, and brand is a road trip. Because when you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, it makes the trip easier, cheaper, and more direct. Let me explain:
Your vision statement is where you want to go. This is your end destination – be it Disneyworld or the big city. A well-written vision statement is the heart of every successful business, it explains why you’re doing what you’re doing and the ultimate good you want to achieve through your success. These future-based statements are an “eyes on the horizon” statement designed inspire and motivate you and your employees. It’s a living statement that can be revisited and tweaked over its lifetime as goals are met and new goals are set.
You mission statement is the road map that will get you to your destination. Your mission statement sets out the roads and byways your business will travel on its way to your goals – the exits and stops you will make along the way. This written definition plainly states your purpose for existing, your core purpose, and puts forth a focus that normally remains unchanged over time. It defines what’s important to your business, clearly defines what markets you will serve and how, and communicates a sense of direction for the entire organization.
Your brand is the vehicle you’ll use to travel the road (mission) to your destination (vision). It’s the car you’ll drive and the music you’ll listen to. Whether you stop at the World’s Largest Ball of String or pull off to dip your toes in the Gulf of Mexico, when your customers take a journey with you your brand is the moments and memories that makes up their experience with your company.
The most successful businesses have written versions of each of these statements, and they use them as living tools within their operations regularly.
“Whoa!” I hear you saying. “I’m ready to hit the road, cruise control is engaged! Why can’t I just wing it like I always have?”
There are some good reasons to take the time now to craft written statements for these three areas. Reasons that will positively impact your operations, team management, and bottom line.
- First, written statements help your team and your business to succeed by reminding your employees not only why your company exists, but where you want to go. This helps keep everyone’s eye on the prize and moving forward.
- Second, these statements provide useful, living tools you can employ to streamline your operations. Clear mission statements and brands set important boundaries that you can use as templates for decision-making. They provide a framework for overall business strategy, and help guide the development of systems and procedures that keep your business aimed at its goals.
- Third, they provide security for your employees. Plainly defined mission and vision statements let your employees know what they are working towards, and what you’re looking for in their performance. In addition, when change and adjustment are needed, it minimizes stress on your team, as it allows everyone to see the value of change and how it helps the organization accomplish its mission.
- Finally, when working with providers and consultants like me, having well-defined goals and strategies allows us to get up to speed on your overall objectives quickly. Which saves you money because you don’t have to pay for our learning curve, and it lets us deliver a better product more quickly.
Before you hop into that snazzy little convertible that is entrepreneurship and kick your feet up on the dash, ensure that you have your trip well-thought out. Not only will you avoid detours and breakdowns, but you’ll save time and gas, too.