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Do You Have A Mission That Matters? 3 Key Tips For Creating Truly Inspiring Business Mission And Vision Statements


by Ken Burke, author of “Intelligent Selling: The Art & Science of Selling Online

Your vision and mission statements are the heartbeat of your entire business. Your business was likely born out of an audacious dream. Vision and Mission statements invite others to share that dream.

Tip #1 – Use the 4 ingredients of a Compelling Mission and Vision Statement.

You want your mission and vision statements to move people. Yet your business vision and mission should not only move people, but achieve four specific things for your customers, investors, as well as everyone who comes in contact with your business: direct, guide, inspire, and excite.

Your mission and vision should direct people, telling them where you’re headed and why they should follow you, support you, and invest in your vision.

You mission and vision should guide people, indicating what future you’re creating and where they are headed with you, as a partner, employee, or customer.

Your mission and vision should inspire people, creating a sense of awe or even magic about what you’re hoping to achieve, how you’re changing the world, or revolutionize an industry.

Your mission and vision should excite people, getting them energized about your idea, excited to be part of it, and optimistic about the future.

Tip #2 – Understand the Difference between a Mission and a Vision.

People often confuse vision and mission. Indeed, mission and vision statements have some qualities in common. Both your vision and mission illustrate that you have the ability to think big, beyond the day-to-day or just getting the doors to your business open. Investors might think you’re exaggerating but they don’t care that much because they want a vision-driven person.

Here’s how they’re different:

Vision Statement.

Your business vision statement describe where your business is headed. A vision statement is your big idea, it’s far-reaching, and you cannot know how you’ll reach it or get there at this point.  It’s the difference between saying that you’re going to “Open a fresh cut flower shop in my town,” versus declaring that you’re going to “Revolutionize the way flowers are delivered direct from growers at a fraction of the cost.”

Toyota’s vision statement is, “Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people.”

Mission Statement.

Your business mission statement clarifies what your business will be doing day-to-day to achieve your big dream. A mission statement describes what your business plans to accomplish, what you’re setting out to do, what you’ll create, and the means to achieving your vision.

Toyota’s mission statement says what they are doing day-to-day:  “To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.”

Tip #3 – Know Yourself, Know Your Mindset.

Before you can get into a visionary mode, you must first understand where you stand in terms of your mindset.  Ask Yourself this question: “Where do I fall on the spectrum between risk-open and risk-adverse?”

Determine which of the four mindsets you have, then you can play to your strengths and alleviate your blindspots:

The Visionary.

A visionary mindset contains a blend of the other mindsets below, but its hallmark is that a visionary can see what others cannot see, is open-minded, and can be persistent and resolute about their vision.

The Pragmatist.

If you’re a pragmatist, you like being on the ground, “safe,” and you like practical, proven methods of achieving a goal. The pragmatist in you may resist visionary thinking because there isn’t a model or path to follow.

The Strategist.

If you’re a strategist, you are the type to take calculated risks and make plans that move you toward your goal, incrementally. You want a roadmap and you believe that a plan is the only way to reach a destination. The strategist in your may resist visionary thinking because you want to know how to get there — but no map exists for achieving a vision.

The Pessimist.

If you’re a pessimist, you’re the one who can quickly see the reasons why an idea isn’t viable. You spot flaws, risks, and issues lightning-fast. The pessimist in your may resist visionary thinking because you so readily see potential problems in the way.

By being aware of your mindset, you can encourage your mind to bypass its typical way of thinking and become comfortable with visionary thinking — even if you have to tell yourself you’re just “pretending” to be a visionary.

For more entrepreneurial insights, watch this video about how to Create Vision and Mission Statements for your business.


Ken Burke is a speaker, serial entrepreneur, mentor, and author. He founded eCommerce giant MarketLive in 1996, which he sold to Vista Equity Partners in 2016, and authored the online sales playbook, “Intelligent Selling: The Art & Science of Selling Online” ,as well as hundreds of industry articles. Ken earned his MBA in Entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business, which later awarded him the honor of Entrepreneur of the Year.