Is your business on the right track?

Vision and mission on track

In an effort to give real direction, most businesses develop mission and vision statements. When correctly communicated and properly understood, these can be great tools that provide the business with strong purpose, moral compass and clear direction. However, the reality in most businesses is that understanding of either a mission statement or defined values is often a mix of light and shade.

Three groups of people

There will be team members who grasp onto both with real energy and commitment; and these people use them to direct their activities along a clearly visible track.  This group, though often a small one, is standing firmly in the light.

Then there is a second group – usually the majority – that stand in partial shade with one foot in sunlight and the other in the dusk. These people will come to a slow understanding of the vision and mission statements you set, and it is important to nurture them on their journey.

The final group stand exclusively in the shade, waiting for others to act and watching carefully for the outcome. This group has no realistic grasp or understanding of what you have tried to communicate to them; and if mishandled and left uninformed they can represent a ‘roadblock’ to overall success.

External and internal groups

It is important to realise that the groups outlined above are not purely internal either.  The communication of your vision and mission statements externally is as vital as ensuring that your own team understands them. Knowing who you are and what you are trying to achieve doesn’t only help you understand what your business is about. It also makes your direction and purpose clear to anyone interacting with you; whether this is customers, influencers or partners. It shows what you are all about as a business.

How to start

When I start working with any new client, one of the first things I ask them is what their vision and mission statements are.  If they do not know (or cannot articulate) what these are, then I can help to frame this for them.  To be honest, most businesses do know what they are about, or they would not exist. However, what I find really interesting is how many don’t share this with the external world; or (even more scarily) with their own employees.  When I ask ten people what the business is about, I will quite often get ten different answers.

In some cases, the two statements are lumped together as one or used interchangeably despite their distinctive differences. This creates confusion that often makes it harder to achieve set objectives and goals.

It also makes it hard for me to help them market their business, whilst making it equally hard for customers to know what the company does, what drives it and how it delivers. After all, if your own staff find understanding difficult, what chance does a customer have?

So why do we need ‘Vision and Mission statements’ and what is their true value?

  1. First of all, they give purpose to organisations and provide employees with a sense of belonging, identity and in some cases a “cause.”
  2. They also provide employees with a reason why the business exists and clarity on what it is trying to achieve, alongside where the business is heading.
  3. Clear vision and mission statements can also help employees to translate individual work tasks into their own objectives which may relate to costs, performance, and time related measures.

As identified earlier, people sometimes get confused with what each of them really are; so, what is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement? To clarify:

Mission statement

This describes why your business exists, and what its core purpose, focus and aims are today.

A great example is from Tesla – “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”

Vision statement

This describes what your business wants to ultimately become, its aspirations and the wider impact it aims to create in the future.

A great example of this is from the Alzheimer’s Association “A world without Alzheimer’s disease.”

Some other examples of both from two companies:


  • Mission statement: Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
  • Vision statement: To create a better everyday life for the many people.

SouthWest Airlines

  • Mission statement: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
  • Vision statement: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.


  • Well thought through and succinct mission and vision statements are strong and influential tools.
  • They can amalgamate a company’s strengths and be the tracks along which the company runs, continually focusing everyone’s efforts on the things that are really important.
  • The key to great mission and vision statements is clarity.
  • Remember, a mission statement is the “what” and the “how,” and the vision statement is the “why.”

I am reminded of a great saying by the author Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In the end, it is vitally important to stay on track; and your vision and mission statements are key to ensuring that you do so.

If I can help with your marketing, please feel free to contact me by either completing the enquiry form or call  me on +44 (0) 7966 192597.

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