When you initially set out on this adventure to create your successful enterprise, you likely identified a “pain” in the marketplace, and developed a unique idea that provided the most effective “aspirin” to relieve it. You designed your vessel, assembled a crew, and set off to conquer the world.

If you are like most entrepreneurs, you did not have the time or inclination to architect the structure of a “corporate culture.” As a matter of fact, that might have been exactly what you were trying to escape when you started your own business!

However, a few furlongs into the journey, as your business grows, you may find yourself grappling with what your company values really are, and how to clearly inculcate them into your growing team, as well as how to effectively articulate them to partners and customers.

Helpful in this process are well-crafted and effective vision and mission statements. Since there has been no end of confusion regarding these two concepts, a definition of terms may be helpful.

A vision statement defines the future that your organization aspires to achieve over time. It provides guidance and inspiration, serving as your Polaris, your “North Star” — it encapsulates a philosophy that, as one of my mentors once told me, allows your employees to understand, “the goals and objectives of their company, and their role in achieving them.”  It should be written succinctly, in an inspirational manner that is easy for everyone to understand.

A mission statement describes the current state of your organisation and its primary goals, which should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Your mission statement provides a “constellation” of information about what you do, how and why you do it, and for whom. Unlike the vision statement, its focus is short-term; however, it is related to your vision statement, in that it maps the measurable milestones that empower achievement of the long-term vision of your enterprise.

A recent study, conducted by global management consultants Bain & Company, indicates that organisations that have clearly-defined vision and mission statements, aligned with a strategic plan, outperform those who do not. Companies that neglect to put them into play miss opportunities to attract and retain high-potential talent, and to increase productivity by building a robust organisational culture and effectively levering all resources to achieve well-structured, long-term strategic objectives.

Mission and vision statements are critical for successful navigation of the uncertain currents and murky waters of the competitive marketplace.  As you chart your future course, these guiding lights will help lead you to your desired destination of wealth creation, business growth and success. Enjoy the journey!


Contributed by  Glenn E. Robinson

Managing Director at IC2 Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, and XLr8 Andhra Pradesh Technology Business Accelerator, Senior Training Consultant to the DHI Business Acceleration Program (BizAP).