Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement

Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement

Mission and Vision Statements

Most organizations make confusion about these two topics. But in this article, we’re going to clarify the difference between the Mission Statement and the Vision Statement, so you can have a clear distinction about than and their importance.

What’s that about?

Both the Mission Statement and the Vision Statement are used during the planing of a organization and set basic ground rules about the principles of the organization. You can find out more on our article about Strategic Planning.

In both cases, a concise, easily readable statement is the best way to go. Always in business, direct and clear communication is always better than pretty and complex communication.

Mission Statement

The Mission Statement is the most basic principle of an organization, however, it is extremely important as it defines the ultimate goal of that organization.

A well written Mission Statement should:

  • Be easily memorable (not in its words but in principle)
  • Define the ultimate goal of the organization
  • Be open-ended (no time limit)
  • Inspire your colleagues
  • Be unreachable (non measurable)

To exemplify, a famous entertainment company had a simple mission statement which translates everything above: “Our mission is to make people happy”. All of the criteria are met. It’s simple and easy to remember. Since it’s an entertainment business, “make people happy” seems a perfect fit for an ultimate goal. It does not have a time constraint, it can run forever. It’s inspirational and a guideline for the people in the organization (you should put all of your efforts for a simple goal). And, it doesn’t matter what, they will never make everybody happy (and you can’t measure happinness). Can you guess the company?

Vision Statement

The Vision Statement is a little bit simpler, but should go hand-in-hand with the Mission Statement. The Vision Statement should set a top goal for the organization within a given time. Where do we want to be in 2025?

A good Vision Statement is:

  • One big goal (which can easily be measured)
  • Time-constrained
  • Challenging
  • Achievable
  • Short and easy to remember
  • May have a secondary goal as well, but be careful not to break the previous rule

When setting the vision statement for your organization, you should always focus on one main goal, even that this goal will break into several others. A secondary goal might be considered as well, but try to avoid it, as it might make the vision statement too long or complex.

Here are some examples:

  • “Our vision is to expand to 20 locations by 2022”
  • “Our vision is to have $200 million in revenues by 2025 with 95% client satisfaction rate”
  • “Our vision is to have a 15% EBITDA by 2020”
  • “Our vision is to serve 25,000 patients per year by 2021”

The goals here can vary greatly based on the strategy of the organization and its kind. Preferably, if the vision goal is met, it should mean that all other minor goals (or most of them) are automatically met as well.

That’s why setting financial goals usually are a good idea. You should avoid traps, like setting a main goal of, let’s say, customer satisfaction. Because you (or more often your colleagues) can aim for customer satisfaction and forget about cash flow. Bad idea. You can have 100% customer satisfaction and huge debts. Not a good outcome.

Some considerations

If you go to the web and search for mission and vision statements, you probably will find that almost every business has one. But also, almost every business has created those statements because their web designer asked for them.

Generally, strategy is not something you should let laying around for curious eyes. Depending on your industry, it can kill you one way or another. It might be okay though for non-governmental organizations, but in business, generally it’s a terrible practice. Most businesses would create dummies for the public presentations. You mission, however, in most cases, is okay to share. But the vision statement should get more attention.

This goal of this article is just to present a simple distinction between these two important parts of a business plan, often underrated. If you want to learn more about the importance of these within a business plan, check out our business planning article.


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