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How do businesses measure success? Everyone wants to be profitable, naturally, but dollar signs aren’t the only success metrics to pay attention to. Companies can set their sights on goals ranging from culture to public perception and writing clear mission and vision statements is a great way to set a course to those ends.

What is the difference between a mission and vision statement?

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement answers the questions: “what do we do?” and “how do we do it?” It defines the company, its objectives and a strategy for reaching those objectives. Companies can use a mission statement as a north star in day-to-day operations to ensure they’re moving towards the objectives they’ve set. [1]

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement is more about the future. It describes the position the company aims to find itself in down the road. Companies can use a vision statement to track their progress over time and ensure they’re on track to put themselves in that position. [1]

Importance of mission and vision statements

Why are mission and vision statements important? Think about it like this: if you put a boat in the ocean it will float on its own and eventually get carried somewhere new. But that will take time, and the new destination could be anywhere. If you give that boat a captain and turn its engine on, it can chart an intentional course to a specific destination, and even determine how long it will take to get there. It’s the same with a company. Giving your business a mission and vision statement provides the drive and direction needed to go to that specific place you want it to be.

Here are four mission statement writing tips you can use to steer your business in the right direction.

Tips for writing a mission or vision statement

Know your “why”

You already know what your business does or will do. Now, you need to think about the “why.” To truly inspire employees and delight customers, it’s important to emphasize why you’re doing what you do. What impact do you want your “what” to create? Are you making something more accessible? Creating a more sustainable product?

Once you have your “why”, connect it to your “how” and see if what you’re trying to say is coming through.[2]

Make your mission actionable and quantifiable

Using buzzwords and vague terms doesn’t help convey your company’s true mission. Get specific and explain what you do and how you plan to do it.

For example, don’t simply say, “We create an exceptional experience for our employees and our customers.” Instead, write down what an exceptional experience looks like for both employees and customers by giving a specific example. Describe what their needs are and how they feel. Then, explain how your business provides an experience or meets those needs. The more specific it is, the easier it is to put into practice and to make sure the statement is reflective of your company’s culture.[3]

Keep it succinct

In addition to being specific, a powerful mission statement is also succinct. It gets to the heart of who your company is and how you reach your objectives. The more targeted and succinct it is, the easier it is to remember—and to put into practice.[4].

Make your vision work for you

There are different ways to go about developing a mission statement. The right way for your small business to develop a powerful mission statement is to use the process that works best for you. Do you want everyone in the company to help contribute ideas? Do you want it to be a project that the founders or owners handle?

Whichever process you use to develop your statement, the most important thing to remember is to create a statement that’s accurate and that rings true for both employees and customers.[5]

Looking at other companies’ mission statement examples can help you more closely define what your mission statement looks like. Keep in mind that your mission statement should be unique to the needs of your customers and employees—and to what your business offers them.

Your mission statement may change over time as your business grows. Having a powerful mission statement in place to guide you is an important part of better understanding your business and ensuring its success.

Another important part of running a business successfully is having an insurance policy that safeguards the company. Learn more about small business insurance solutions to protect what you’re working diligently to build.

Additional resources for small business owners

With your mission and vision statement in hand, you’re ready to steer your business towards the future you’ve envisioned. And if you find yourself needing a bit more help along the way, we’ve got your back. Visit the Nationwide Business Solutions Center for tips and information on everything from cyber security to marketing.

[1] “Mission and Vision Statements,” https://www.bain.com/insights/management-tools-mission-and-vision-statements/ (Accessed October 23, 2022).
[2] “How to Write a Mission Statement,” Susan Ward, https://www.thebalancemoney.com/how-to-write-a-mission-statement-2948001 (Accessed October 23, 2022).
[3] “The Art of Words: How to Write the Perfect Mission Statement,” Business.com, https://www.business.com/articles/the-art-of-words-how-to-write-the-perfect-mission-statement/, Feb. 22, 2017.
[4] “The Art of Words: How to Write the Perfect Mission Statement,” Business.com, https://www.business.com/articles/the-art-of-words-how-to-write-the-perfect-mission-statement/, Feb. 22, 2017.
[5] “The Art of Words: How to Write the Perfect Mission Statement,” Business.com, https://www.business.com/articles/the-art-of-words-how-to-write-the-perfect-mission-statement/, Feb. 22, 2017;
“Four Tips for Writing a Powerful Mission Statement,” Nationwide.com, https://blog.nationwide.com/mission-statement-tips/, Nov. 8, 2017.

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The information contained in this blog was obtained from sources believed to be reliable to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing in this brochure is intended to imply a grant of coverage.