Why does your business exist? Where is it going? How will it get there? These are the questions potential partners and investors will want answers to before they commit any money or resources to your business. To find these answers, they won’t have to look any further than the purpose, mission and vision statements within your business plan.
Understanding what their meaning, how they differ from each other and how they work together is a great first step in developing the purpose, mission and vision statements for your business.
Talk about your why
Your purpose statement tells the world why you do what you do. And for most people, it's usually for more than financial gain.
What issue are your solving? What demographic are you serving? What wrong are you righting? In the business world, this is often called your “why.”
Because your purpose often comes from something that exists deep within, it doesn’t often change. Also for this reason, it’s not something that you need to create. You just have to uncover it.
Tell us how it’s done
The next part of this trio of business statements is your mission. Think of your mission as a road map. It’s the path you’ll follow to get to where you want to go (your vision). This statement provides more detail than the other two because it explains how your business delivers on its purpose every day to get you closer to your vision.
The mission statement often includes the types of products or services you provide, who you provide them to and how your business does it differently or better than your competitors. Unlike your purpose, your mission may change over time if there are changes to your target or market.
Take us where you’re going
Remember, that road map we talked about? Your vision is where that path will take you. Whether you’re looking one year, five years or 10 years down the road, you have a vision for where you want your business to go and what type of impact it will have. The vision statement is aspirational, giving your partners, employees and customers something to strive toward.
Describe how it’s done
Now that we’ve covered how each of these statements stand alone, it’s time to see how they work together. Here is an example of what a purpose, mission and vision statement may look like for a fictional company.
Purpose: We believe no dog should go to bed hungry. Ever.
Mission: To ensure that all dogs have nutritious food to eat by providing high-quality and affordable dog food options to pet owners and free dog food to anyone who can’t afford to feed their pet — no questions asked.
Vision: We will eradicate canine hunger and reduce the number of dogs who are given up or abandoned in the United States because their owners can’t afford to feed them.
Consider these tips
Aside from their importance in helping people outside of your business understand their value, your purpose, mission and vision statements can serve as powerful tools. They help keep everyone in your business aligned, motivated and working toward common goals. Follow these simple tips to ensure these statements represent who you are, what you do and where you’re going:
- Choose your words wisely. Sometimes it’s harder to say something in fewer words. So make sure every word has meaning. Don’t rush it. It may take a couple of tries to get it right. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally, the purpose, mission and vision statements are no more than three sentences each.
- Make sure your purpose, mission and vision statements work together to support each other. If your purpose is to save the environment but your vision is to become the number one manufacturer of foam cups, you’ll never achieve both. In the same way, if you have a great vision but your mission puts you on the wrong path, you’ll never get there. Compare finished statements to make sure they strive toward a common goal.
- Clearly identify and communicate these statements with your entire team. It’s important that each person understands your company’s purpose, its day-to-day mission and its long-term vision — and is working together to achieve them.
- Revisit your purpose, mission and vision statements every year. Timely Regular checks help ensure that these statements still reflect your company. Typically, the purpose will not change. However, your mission and vision may shift based on societal, market or economic changes.
The bottom line
The purpose, mission and vision statements are typically included in the business description of a complete business plan. Remember that writing a winning business plan can take time and careful consideration. Reach out to a Chase business banker for tips and guidance on financial aspects of crafting a business plan, questions about starting your business or banking products and services.
For informational/educational purposes only: The views expressed in this article may differ from those of other employees and departments of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Views and strategies described may not be appropriate for everyone and are not intended as specific advice/recommendation for any individual. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates and/or subsidiaries do not warrant its completeness or accuracy. You should carefully consider your needs and objectives before making any decisions and consult the appropriate professional(s). Outlooks and past performance are not guarantees of future results.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2022 JPMorgan Chase & Co.