Mission and vision statements tend to get mixed up. Most people think a vision statement is a reworded mission statement, while others pick three words from their vision statement and create a sentence for a mission statement.

It is easy to get the words and their meanings mixed up, especially in the business arena. But both these statements are integral to how clients and investors will view the business.

Mission statement

A mission statement is all about the cause of the business, answering why it was formed.

Why a business needs a mission statement

A mission statement is a statement that explains most straightforwardly and concisely the purpose of a company/organization/business. It is used to get to the heart of why the company exists. A mission statement is not a short business plan or sales pitch. It should answer the question "Who are We?" by explaining the organization's culture, values and ethics.

The three key reasons a business needs a mission statement are:

  1. It provides a clear template for any decision making, both current and future: All decisions made should align with the mission statement. This will help shape the business culture and provide consistency in all matters of the company.
  2. It facilitates business improvement and growth: A company can use the mission statement to map out growth strategies. A business can also use it to come up with new ideas.
  3. It focuses on the company's future: It determines which direction the business will grow toward to keep fulfilling the mission and not disappoint clients. It enables the team to stick to company values by being a constant measuring rod.

Mission statement example

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

MotherEarth intends to sell organic beauty products to women. Their mission statement may be something like this:

"Our mission is to provide organic beauty and self-care products to women of all ages around the world. We are committed to ensuring each woman feels as beautiful, cared-for, and connected to her truest self when using our products."

Vision Statement

Create a vision statement after a business plan has been made to ensure it covers the future's key goals.

Why a business needs a vision statement

A vision statement describes the long-term goals a business has in the simplest way possible. The vision statement succinctly states what the organization/business/company is trying to build by revealing what the future looks like at the highest possible business level. It should answer the question, "Where are We Going?"

The two key reasons a business needs a vision statement are:

  1. It is a way for employees and partners to connect with the company: A vision statement allows employees to feel at home. They are more involved and invested workers without being pushed and threatened to do good work.
  2. To attract the right investors: Many companies attract investors who do not share the same vision, and this causes problems, disparities and eventual loss in the end. A clear vision statement will ensure the business attracts investors who share the vision or, at the very least, agree the direction the company hopes to go is the most profitable one.

Vision Statement Example

Let's use the fictional company MotherEarth again for our vision statement. The vision statement may look something like this:

"To ensure earth-friendly, quality, accessible, and affordable beauty products for every woman, everywhere."

Key differences between a mission and vision statement

  1. A mission statement focuses on who the business is right now and what values they promote. A vision statement focuses on what the company hopes to achieve in the future.
  2. A mission statement is in the present tense. A vision statement is in the future tense.
  3. A mission statement drives the company by motivating the team and the clients alike. A vision statement directs the company by guiding the team to make plans that envision the future.
  4. A mission statement is for the clients as it describes who they are supporting in business. A vision statement is for the business team and the investors as it describes where the company hopes to go, thus helping direct growth, investment and planning.
  5. A vision statement states where a business hopes to be, a mission statement explains how the business hopes to get there by providing the values they stand for and products/services they provide.
  6. A mission statement offers a broad statement on why an individual formed the business and determines its need(s) it hopes to meet and how. A vision statement explains where the business is hoping to go and drives action to get there.
  7. A business' mission statement can and sometimes changes over time. Many successful businesses have changed their mission statements as the business has grown and needs have shifted. It shifts to reflect changing times, philosophies, markets, cultures and more. A vision statement should never change as it should reflect what the future looks like for the business. Very rarely does this change.
  8. A mission statement is developed by answering the questions, "What do we do? For whom? How do we do it? and Why do we do it?" A vision statement is developed by answering the questions, "Where do we want to go? When do we want to get there? How do we want to get there?"
  9. A mission statement informs while a vision statement inspires.

Conclusion

It comes down to this: a mission statement gives the cause of the business while a vision statement shows the business' effect. A vision statement states where the business is going, the mission statement describes who the business or company is.