Vision vs. mission statements: How to define your company's purpose and future

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Have you ever come across the terms "vision statement" and "mission statement" and wondered what sets them apart? While these concepts are often mentioned in the same breath, they each play a distinct role in defining your company's purpose and direction.

In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of vision and mission statements, and provide a step by step guide on how to write compelling vision and mission statements for your business. 

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement is a brief declaration of a company's future aspirations and the overall impact it aims to make. It provides a clear picture of what the organisation wants to accomplish in the long term, often emphasising the change it hopes to bring about in the world or the industry. The vision statement acts as a guiding principle for the company's strategic planning and decision-making processes, ensuring that all efforts are aligned with the organisation's business objectives and values.

Why is a vision statement important?

A well-crafted vision statement serves as a guiding light for your company's future direction and success. 

A vision statement:

1. Sets a clear direction

A vision statement provides a clear and inspiring direction for your company's future, guiding decision-making and strategic planning.

2. Motivates and inspires

It serves as a source of motivation for your employees, inspiring them to work towards a common, ambitious goal.

3. Attracts talent and customers

A compelling vision statement can help attract top talent and customers who resonate with your company's long-term aspirations.

4. Differentiates your brand

It sets your company apart from competitors by articulating a unique and ambitious future that your organisation strives to create.

5. Provides a framework for goal-setting

Your vision statement serves as a foundation for setting more specific, short-term goals and objectives that align with your long-term vision.

6. Communicates your company's essence

It succinctly conveys the core essence of your company to stakeholders, including investors, partners, and the broader community.

Key elements of a vision statement

A strong vision statement typically includes several key elements that work together to create a compelling and inspiring picture of your company's future. Let's break down these essential components:

1. Future-oriented

A vision statement should focus on your company's long-term aspirations and the impact it seeks to make in the future, usually looking ahead 5, 10, or even 20 years.

2. Clear and concise

It should be brief, typically one to two sentences, and easy to understand. Use plain English and avoid jargon or complex language.

3. Ambitious 

Your vision statement sets a high bar for your organisation, reflecting ambitious goals that challenge the company to grow, innovate, and strive for excellence.

4. Aligned with your values

It should reflect your company's core values and beliefs, as these guiding principles will shape your journey towards your vision.

5. Focused on impact

A vision statement should emphasise the positive impact your company aims to make on its customers, industry, community, or the world at large.

6. Unique 

It should set your company apart from others in your industry, highlighting the distinct value you bring and the change you seek to create.

7. Inspiring and motivating

Your vision statement should evoke emotion and enthusiasm, inspiring your team, customers, and stakeholders to rally behind your company's future direction.

8. Provides direction

It should serve as a guidepost for decision-making and strategic planning, helping your company stay focused on its long-term goals.

How to write a vision statement

Writing a compelling vision statement takes time, reflection, and collaboration. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you craft a strong vision statement for your company:

1. Gather input from stakeholders

Engage key stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and partners, to gain insights into their aspirations and hopes for your company's future.

2. Reflect on your company's purpose

Consider why your company exists, the impact you want to make, and the long-term change you hope to bring about in your industry or the world.

3. Envision your ideal future

Imagine your company's ideal future state 5, 10, or even 20 years from now. What does success look like? What impact have you made on your customers, industry, and society?

4. Identify your core values

Define the guiding principles and beliefs that will shape your company's actions and decision-making as you work towards your vision.

5. Brainstorm key themes

Based on stakeholder input, your company's purpose, ideal future, and core values, identify the central themes and ideas that will form the foundation of your vision statement.

6. Craft a concise and inspiring statement

Using the key themes you've identified, write a concise, clear, and inspiring statement that captures your company's long-term aspirations and the impact you aim to create. Aim for one to two powerful sentences and make every word count. 

7. Ensure it's ambitious yet achievable

Your vision statement should be ambitious enough to inspire and challenge your team, but still grounded in reality and achievable with dedication and effort.

8. Make it memorable and emotionally engaging

Use language that evokes emotion and enthusiasm, making your vision statement memorable and inspiring for your team and stakeholders.

9. Refine and seek feedback

Share your draft vision statement with key stakeholders and gather their feedback. Refine your statement based on their input to ensure it resonates and accurately reflects your company's aspirations.

10. Align your mission and strategy

Ensure that your mission statement and overall company strategy align with and support your vision, creating a cohesive roadmap for your organisation's future.

Remember, crafting a vision statement is an iterative process. It may take several revisions to arrive at a statement that truly captures your company's long-term aspirations and inspires your team and stakeholders. 

Vision statement examples

Here are examples of vision statements from iconic brands:


"To make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it."


"To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online."


"To help people and businesses throughout the world realise their full potential."


"To provide access to the world’s information in one click."


"To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)"


"To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles."


"To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time."


"To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company."

Facebook (Meta):

"Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is a brief, powerful declaration that outlines a company's core purpose, fundamental goals, and the approach it takes to achieve those goals. It serves as a roadmap for the organisation, guiding day-to-day operations and strategic decisions. While a vision statement focuses on the future and what the company aspires to become, a mission statement centres on the present and what the company does to reach its objectives.

Why is a mission statement important?

A mission statement is a vital component of any organisation's strategic framework, serving several critical purposes. 

A mission statement:

1. Provides clarity and focus

It clearly defines your company's purpose and primary objectives, providing a sense of direction and focus for your team. It helps ensure that everyone in your organisation is working towards the same goals and understands how their individual roles contribute to the company's overall purpose.

2. Guides decision-making

A mission statement acts as a guideline for decision-making at all levels of your organisation. When you encounter strategic choices or need to allocate resources, your mission statement helps to ensure that the options you choose are in line with your company's fundamental purpose and values.

3. Differentiates your brand

A compelling mission statement distinguishes your company from competitors by clearly articulating the unique value you provide to your customers or stakeholders. This differentiation can help you attract and retain customers who resonate with your purpose and values.

4. Attracts and motivates employees

A powerful mission statement can be a valuable tool for attracting top talent who are inspired by your company's purpose and want to contribute to its success. It also helps to motivate and engage existing employees by giving them a sense of meaning and purpose in their work.

5. Communicates your value to stakeholders

Your mission statement is a brief way to communicate your company's purpose and value to key stakeholders, such as customers, investors, partners, and the broader community. It helps establish trust and credibility by clearly articulating what your organisation stands for and what it aims to achieve.

6. Provides a basis for strategic planning

A mission statement acts as the cornerstone for your company's strategic planning process, ensuring that your long-term goals, objectives, and initiatives are in line with your core purpose and values.

7. Fosters a sense of unity and teamwork

A shared mission statement fosters unity and collaboration among employees, promoting a common goal and teamwork.

8. Serves as a public declaration of your purpose

Your mission statement is a public declaration of your company's purpose and commitment to creating value for your stakeholders. It helps build brand awareness and reinforces your reputation as an organisation dedicated to making a positive impact.

Key elements of a mission statement

A well-crafted mission statement typically includes several key elements that work together to clearly define your company's purpose, activities, and value proposition. Here are the essential components of a mission statement:

1. Purpose

A clear articulation of your company's core reason for existence, answering the question, "Why do we do what we do?"

2. Business activities

A description of the main activities, products, or services your company provides to achieve its purpose.

3. Target audience

Identification of the key stakeholders, customers, or markets your company serves and aims to create value for.

4. Value proposition

A statement of the unique value and benefits your company offers to its target audience, setting you apart from competitors.

5. Values and guiding principles

An emphasis on the core values and beliefs of that guide your company's actions and decision-making.

6. Concise and clear

A mission statement should be brief, typically one to two sentences, and easy to understand, avoiding jargon or complex language.

7. Specific yet flexible

Specific enough to provide clear guidance and direction, but not so narrow that it limits your company's ability to adapt and grow over time.

8. Memorable and inspiring

While not as emotionally charged as a vision statement, a mission statement should still be compelling and memorable, inspiring your team and resonating with your stakeholders.

9. Aligned with vision

Your mission statement should align with and support your company's long-term vision, ensuring a cohesive strategic direction.

10. Reflects your brand identity

A mission statement should be consistent with and reinforce your company's brand identity, values, and unique positioning in the market.

How to write a mission statement

Writing a clear and effective mission statement involves reflection, collaboration, and a deep understanding of your company's purpose and values. Follow these steps to craft a compelling mission statement:

1. Define your company's purpose

Start by answering the fundamental question, "Why does our company exist?" Consider the core problem you aim to solve or the value you seek to provide to your customers and stakeholders.

2. Identify your key activities

Outline the main activities, products, or services your company engages in to fulfil its purpose. Be specific about what you do and how you do it.

3. Determine your target audience

Clearly identify the primary stakeholders, customers, or markets your company serves. Consider who benefits from your products or services and who you aim to create value for.

4. Articulate your unique value proposition

Define the distinct benefits and value your company provides to your target audience. Consider what sets you apart from competitors and why your customers choose you.

5. Incorporate your core values

Reflect on the guiding principles and beliefs that shape your company's actions and decision-making. Ensure that your mission statement aligns with and reflects these core values.

6. Brainstorm with stakeholders

Engage key stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners, in the process. Gather their insights and perspectives on your company's purpose, value, and impact.

7. Synthesise and refine

Analyse the insights and information you've gathered to identify common themes and key ideas. Use these to draft a concise, clear, and compelling mission statement, typically one to two sentences in length.

8. Ensure clarity and specificity

Your mission statement should be easy to understand, avoiding jargon or complex language. It should be specific enough to provide guidance and direction, but not so narrow that it limits your company's ability to adapt and grow.

9. Make it memorable and inspiring

While a mission statement is more practical than a vision statement, it should still be compelling and memorable. Use language that resonates with your team and stakeholders and inspires them to contribute to your company's purpose.

10. Align with your vision and strategy

Ensure that your mission statement aligns with and supports your company's long-term vision and overall strategy. Your mission should be a clear roadmap for achieving your vision.

11. Seek feedback and refine

Share your draft mission statement with key stakeholders and gather their feedback. Refine your statement based on their input to ensure it accurately captures your company's purpose and resonates with your audience.

Remember, your mission statement is a living document that should be regularly reviewed and updated as your company grows and evolves. 

Mission statement examples

Here are examples of mission statements from iconic brands:


"To bring the best user experience to customers through innovative hardware, software, and services."


"To empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more."


"To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."


"To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world."


"To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy."


"To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time."

What is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?

A vision statement and a mission statement serve distinct but complementary roles in defining a company's purpose and direction. Here's a detailed comparison of the two:

Vision statement

1. Future-oriented

Focuses on what the organisation aspires to become in the long term. It describes the desired future state or the ultimate goal.

2. Inspirational

Designed to be motivating and aspirational, inspiring employees, stakeholders, and customers by painting a picture of a better future.

3. Broad and overarching

Provides a high-level view of the company's long-term aspirations and impact. It sets the direction without detailing how to get there.

4. Defines success

Articulates what success looks like for the organisation, often reflecting ambitious and lofty goals.

5. Timeless

While it may evolve, a vision statement is generally meant to remain relevant over a long period.

Mission statement

1. Present-focused

Concentrates on the company's current purpose and primary objectives. It describes what the organisation does, who it serves, and how it does it.

2. Action-oriented

Emphasises the actions and strategies the company employs to achieve its goals and fulfil its purpose.

3. Specific and practical

Provides clear, concrete details about the company’s core activities, guiding daily operations and decision-making.

4. Defines purpose

Explains why the organisation exists, outlining its fundamental goals and the value it provides to stakeholders.

5. Dynamic

While it also can evolve, a mission statement is more likely to be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in the company's strategy or market conditions.

mission vs vision statement

Key differences

1. Time horizon

Vision statements are future-oriented, focusing on long-term aspirations, whereas mission statements are present-focused, detailing the company’s current purpose and objectives.

2. Purpose

Vision statements inspire and set a broad, aspirational direction for the future. Mission statements define the company’s core purpose and provide practical guidance for achieving its goals.

3. Content

Vision statements are typically broader and more abstract, painting a picture of the desired future state. Mission statements are more specific and action-oriented, describing what the company does and how it does it.

4. Audience

Both statements are intended for internal and external stakeholders, but vision statements primarily inspire and motivate, while mission statements guide daily operations and strategic decisions.

How to put this to use

Creating a clear and concise vision and mission is a foundational step when starting a company. These statements are not just formalities - they serve as essential guides that shape every aspect of your business operations and strategy. Here's how you can put them to effective use:

1. Setting the foundation: Vision and mission statements

  • Vision: Your vision statement articulates your company's long-term aspirations and the overarching impact you aim to create. It provides a future-oriented, inspirational goal that aligns and motivates everyone in the organisation.
  • Mission: Your mission statement defines your company's core purpose and the primary objectives you seek to achieve. It focuses on the present, detailing what you do, who you serve, and how you operate.

2. Developing your strategy

Once your vision and mission are clear, the next step is to develop a strategic plan that outlines how you will achieve these goals. Your strategy should be directly informed by your vision and mission, ensuring that all actions taken are aligned with your company’s core purpose and long-term aspirations.

Strategic planning: Define your key priorities, allocate resources effectively, and set specific goals that will help you move towards your vision while fulfilling your mission.

3. Setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

OKRs are a powerful tool to translate your strategy into actionable and measurable goals. They help ensure that every team member is working towards the same objectives, fostering alignment and accountability across the organisation.

  • Objectives: Broad, qualitative goals that are aligned with your mission and vision.
  • Key Results: Specific, quantitative measures that track the progress towards achieving your objectives.

4. Executing your strategy

Execution is where your strategic plans and OKRs come to life. It involves implementing the actions and initiatives defined in your strategy and tracking your progress against the key results.

  • Action plans: Develop detailed action plans that outline the specific steps required to achieve your OKRs.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Regularly track progress, review performance, and make necessary adjustments to stay on course.

5. Business structure flow

Your business will generally be structured in the following way, where each step informs the next:

  1. Vision: Defines the ultimate goal and the future state your company aspires to achieve.
  2. Mission: Outlines the core purpose and primary objectives that guide your daily operations.
  3. Strategy: Develop a comprehensive plan to achieve your vision and mission.
  4. OKRs: Set specific, measurable goals to track progress and ensure alignment with the strategy.
  5. Execution: Implements the action plans and monitors performance to achieve the set objectives.
business structure flow

Importance of alignment

Before diving into strategies and execution, it is crucial to ensure that everyone in your organisation is aligned on the vision and mission. This alignment provides a clear direction and a shared sense of purpose, which are essential for effective collaboration and decision-making. Getting the vision and mission right from the outset ensures that all subsequent actions and initiatives are coherent and focused, driving your company towards sustained success.

The wrap

Vision and mission statements are essential for defining your company's purpose, guiding its actions, and inspiring your team and stakeholders. By crafting clear, compelling statements that reflect your core values and aspirations, you set a strong foundation for your organisation's success.

Remember, a vision statement paints a vivid picture of your company's ideal future, while a mission statement outlines your current purpose and how you aim to achieve it. Together, they provide a roadmap for your business, ensuring all decisions and actions align with your long-term goals.

Developing effective vision and mission statements is a collaborative process that requires input from key stakeholders and a deep understanding of your company's unique value proposition. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and seeking feedback along the way, you can create statements that truly resonate and drive your business forward.

But the work doesn't stop there. Your vision and mission should be living documents that evolve as your company grows and adapts to new challenges. Regularly reviewing and refining your statements ensures that they remain relevant and continue to inspire and guide your team.

Next steps...

Now that you have considered what your company represents and how you plan to achieve it, it may be a good time to think about your goals. Tability empowers teams by ensuring alignment with strategic goals, enhancing focus on high-impact tasks, and providing clear visibility into objective progress. Our AI-powered platform simplifies goal tracking with real-time updates and data-driven insights, boosting productivity and engagement while streamlining processes to achieve better business outcomes.

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Bryan Schuldt

Co-Founder, Tability

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