The heart and soul of your business

If your business’s daily operations are its skin and bones, keeping you moving forward and standing upright, then your mission and vision are its heart and soul. They keep blood pumping through your veins, keep you alive, and ensure you have the strength and support to achieve everything else you want to.

Without a powerful beating heart, we couldn’t get up and go about our days. We wouldn’t be able to walk, breathe, sweat, feel, or think. We wouldn’t be human. And it’s no different with a business.

Mission and vision

What they are…

Put simply, your vision is what your business hopes to become and your mission is how you’ll get there.

Vision tends to be a more emotive, personal goal that can be kept private within your business. Some organisations choose to share their vision, but plenty of others don’t. An example would be “within five years, this business will achieve…” and then either X amount of turnover, staff, or operating in X amount of countries. You get the gist.

Your vision should be strictly tied to your business plan, playing a big part of your internal communications, decision-making, work culture, and the work you take on.

On the other hand, a company’s mission is a public statement. It might sit front and centre on your website or be used by your staff when networking. It describes your business in a clear, digestible way:

We do [this…] for [these people…] to help them achieve [this benefit] by [these values, this philosophy, etc].

It should accurately reflect your business’s philosophy and resonate with your target audience. In this way, your mission statement is a way to resonate with people.

As humans, at Luma we want to work with businesses that understand their responsibility to leave the world better than they found. People whose heart is in the same place as ours, who understand why this matters.

What they aren’t…

Your mission shouldn’t be a vague claim, consisting of adjectives that could belong to anyone. Words such as ‘innovative’, ‘professional’, and ‘quality’ are overused and struggle to convey any real value or meaning. “Serving clients with excellence and working hard” says something without really saying anything.

A good mission statement forms part of your employees’ every day language. It’s how they describe your company to others and introduce themselves. They won’t want to sound like a self-important automaton when doing so. It’s the heart of your business, so make it human.

Let’s look at two examples:

“to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” – Amazon

“to shape the future of the internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.” – Cisco

Amazon is along the right lines. As customers, we can clearly see the benefit they’re adding to our lives and feel valued by the business. Their statement gives direction to their employees and positions their brand exactly where they want it to be. Whereas Cisco is saying they want to add value and opportunity to plenty of people but fail to portray what that value actually is.

Similarly, your vision shouldn’t be an immeasurable goal. “We want to be known as the best in the business”. That’s nice and all, but how exactly are you going to measure that? Your vision needs to be measurable, otherwise, how are you going to identify when it’s been reached?

Finally, both your mission and vision should be in plain, meaningful English. If they’re complicated to read or understand, you’re tripping at the first hurdle.

Why they’re important…

So, every company has one. But do they actually matter? They should.

These statements draw people in and convey your brand in a few words. But they will only deliver value if each member of your team understands their personal role in achieving this larger, collective goal. This is why it’s important to reinforce both your mission and vision wherever possible – on internal documentation, during staff meetings, or in training for example.

Done properly, your mission and vision connect every part of your business and underpin every decision made by every person on your team. In a rapidly changing business environment, these pillars of your identity should remain stable and unchanging.

You might evolve and grow, but your core stays the same. The same beating heart provides the strength and momentum to push you forward.

So look deep within yourself and ask: what do your mission and vision statements say about you?

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