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Defining Your Startup’s Mission & Vision

A key component in helping you, your employees, and your customers understand your brand is to define its mission and vision. You never want your startup to be flying blind.

First off, the mission statement helps define what you’re trying to do, and also sometimes who you’re doing it for and how you’re doing it. Get specific and ask yourself, “what am I hoping to accomplish by starting this company?” and “what is unique about what I’m doing?”

Don’t worry about being succinct right away. Free write your mission for the company on a piece of paper, or ask a friend or colleague to type while you dictate. From there, see what stands out, resonates, and start to edit it down. Ideally, your final mission statement should be 1-2 sentences, and inspiring to you and your team.

Here are some examples of mission statements from well-known companies across different industries:

  1. Linkedin: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
  2. Disney: “To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products.”
  3. Starbucks: “Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
  4. The United Nations: “The maintenance of international peace and security.”
  5. Virgin America: “Virgin America is a California-based airline that is on a mission to make flying good again, with brand new planes, attractive fares, top-notch service, and a host of fun, innovative amenities that are reinventing domestic air travel.”

For the vision statement, take a step back and think about where you see the company in 5 / 10 / 20 years, or perhaps take an even bigger step back and think about the legacy you wish to leave with this company. What does success look like to you? What’s do you hope this company does for its customers? For the world? Think big.

Again, try a similar exercise to the mission statement, and free write your vision for the company, then start to edit it down, pulling out the “juicy bits”.

Here are some examples of some inspiring vision statements from well-known companies across different industries:

  1. Tesla: “Accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
  2. Disney: “To make people happy.”
  3. Starbucks: “To establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world.”
  4. CVS: “We will help people live longer, healthier, happier lives.”
  5. General Electric: “To be number 1 or 2 in every single market that we serve.”

As you can see, a vision statement can tell a lot about a company, their goals, and their priorities. What are your company’s goals and priorities. Maybe it’s to “win” and “be the best” or maybe it’s to “help the world” or “make someone smile.”

Add your final mission and vision statements to the company website, and/or paste up in the office. They are a great tool to “check” your company. When making a decision, hiring a team, or choosing a partner, take a step back and ask, “does this align with our mission and vision?” It’s also important to ask, “Is this what our customers see or think of our company?”

Leave your mission and vision statements in the comments below!

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