Whilst most corporate organisations have and publish visions and mission statements, you don’t come across many SME businesses that do? Presumably small business owners do not feel that this is important. I think it is.
Firstly let’s clarify the difference between a vision and mission statement as these are often confused and used to mean the same thing.
Vision – this is a statement (or more) about where you want to get to as a business and looks at the longer term view. This might be about a turnover target, or being number one in your industry or a straight forward statement on the ideal position a company wants to attain. Here are some examples you may recognise:
- Amazon: ”Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Budweiser: “Through all of our products, services and relationships, we will add to life’s enjoyment. Enrich and entertain a global audience. Deliver superior returns to our shareholders”
- Toys ‘R’ Us: ”Our Vision is to put joy in kids’ hearts and a smile on parents’ faces.”
Mission – this defines the purpose of an organisation and what it is going to do to achieve the vision or what you are going to commit to undertake to be recognised as representing your vision. Some examples:
- Sainsbury;s: ”Our mission is to be the consumer’s first choice for food, delivering products of outstanding quality and great service at a competitive cost through working faster, simpler, and together.”
- Disney: “We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.”
- McDonalds: “McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
So why would something like this be important to a small business owner?
Didn’t you have a vision when you started your business? It may now be lost along the way. Finding or redefining that vision can help you reinvigorate your business and to try and recapture some of the energy you had when you started (which may have lapsed?).
A lot of businesses are trying to be all things to all people and are not clear on who their target market is. If you are able to clearly define who your are attempting to sell products and services to, this makes your efforts a lot simpler to implement with your marketing and sales efforts. Consequently it makes it easier to define an vision where you could become the leader or the best in your sector.
For example for me to become the leading business expert in the UK is quite a hill to climb; however ‘niching’ to my county, Northamptonshire, it is more feasible to claim this, or look to achieve this, for my region.
Having it written down and shared also helps your customers (and possibly your staff) understand what you are trying to achieve.
Successful businesses know where they are heading, are focused and take action to reach their goals – a vision and mission helps clarify this for both the business owner and to the outside world.
So, what’s the vision and mission for your business?