When it comes to planning for business success, having a clear vision, mission and goals is extremely important, though it’s not always easy, especially when you’re a startup.
While we may know (roughly) where we want to go, getting really certain with why we are in business and what we dream of, can be confronting and challenging. And so, many people avoid getting these elements of a business plan down on paper. I find that working through these areas with key members of my team (and my team includes both staff and advisory board members, as well as trusted colleagues), helps cement ideas and move the business forward.
Here are three things to know about vision, mission and goals:
- What are Vision and Mission Statements? A vision statement is a statement about where you see your company in the future. It answers the question “Where do we want to go?” While it doesn’t tell you how you’re going to get there, it does set the direction for your business planning. A vision statement is for you and the other members of your business. A mission statement, on the other hand, is defined as: “a statement of the purpose and reason for being of the business”. It includes a description of your business function and your overall business objectives, and is written to inform your customers or clients of your business function. It should be as direct and focused as possible. Vision and mission statements are not the same. A mission statement provides a path to realise the vision. The Australian Businesswomen’s Network vision is: To empower and inspire ABN Community Members to reach their full potential in business. The Australian Businesswomen’s Network mission is: To Educate and Inspire The ABN exists to provide business education and resources for women across Australia and facilitates opportunities for them to connect, learn and be inspired by mentors, role models and each other. This ultimately enables women to grow both personally and professionally.
- How are business goals achieved? By setting goals, vision and mission statements can be realised. Effective goal-setting involves using the S.M.A.R.T technique:
- Specific – Those that are identifiable, behavioural and observable.
- Measurable – Those that have outcome criteria associated with them, that can be assessed objectively, and for which a degree of successful accomplishment can be determined.
- Aligned – Those that are congruent with the overall purposes and vision of the company. Their accomplishment contributes to the broader good.
- Realistic – Those that are not so far above the capacity of the organisation that they become discouraging. Realistic does not mean easily achieved, just achievable.
- Time Bound – That is, a time for accomplishing the goals is specified. Goals that have no ending point are not effective.
- Why set goals? Many successful businesses have clearly articulated objectives and directions – which help ensure that a business builds, maintains, and continually strengthens. Twice a year we, at the Australian Businesswomen’s Network, review our goals and align these to our strategic objectives. We then try and ensure that out activities also align to the achievement of those goals. Regardless of the size of your business, goals, vision and mission are a key part of a business plan. And, I encourage you to work on these. Get help if you need to, but get them done.
The Business Plans Made Easy course gives you step by step instructions on how to create a business plan that you love and visits these three areas (vision, mission and goals) which form the foundation of any great business plan.