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Is My Mission a Vision?
Many new entrepreneurs often mix up the purpose of a mission statement and a vision statement. If you think about it, however, your vision is your dream and your expectations of that dream. Think of your vision as the what you want to do and your mission as how you plan on achieving that vision.
For example, Nike’s vision statement reads, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete, if you have a body, you are an athlete." This vision tells the reader quickly that Nike’s vision is to inspire and be innovative in athletic products.
If we take a look at the mission statement format of Nike, it reads, “To lead in corporate citizenship through proactive programs that reflect caring for the world family of Nike, our teammates, our consumers, and those who provide services to Nike." This shows the “how" of their vision—they will be proactive and caring with everyone involved in their company and be a leader in how a corporate company that has many consumers will run and be managed effectively.
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Finding Your Mission
In my own company, a Ford dealership, my vision was, “To become synonymous with driving in New Mexico." To me, that meant no matter what a driver’s needs are in New Mexico, my company would provide the totality of that need.
My mission statement on the other hand has to explain how I plan on achieving that vision. It reads, “To ensure every customer who enters our dealership has a fast, accurate, and acceptable buying experience that meets every automotive need they have before they leave the store." Here, the “how" of my mission is that every single customer won’t need to go anywhere else because I will offer the best, no matter what their driving needs are---buy a vehicle or obtain parts or service.
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Formatting Your Mission
Is there a correct format for a mission statement? The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Indiana University’s Office of Diversity, offers a sample Mission Statement Format Worksheet that guides creators of mission statements by answering a series of questions such as:
- Why do we exist?
- Who are we serving?
- How are those services provided?
- What are our values?
- What determines our success?
If we take a look at my company’s mission statement by using these criteria, we could break it down in a mission statement format as follows:
- Why do we exist –To sell products and services (dealership).
- Who are we serving – Any customer who has an automotive need.
- How are those services provided – Via a fast, accurate, and acceptable buying experience.
- What are our values - To fill every automotive need before a customer leaves the store.
- What determines our success – Our assurance of meeting customer’s needs—top priority.
This mission statement format is a basic and easy to utilize when writing your mission statement. Keep in mind that your mission is the “how" you will do things and your vision is the “what" you first thought of to create the business. From your vision, using this format for a mission statement, you should have no problems creating an effective one—even if a few drafts are necessary.
Write a Stronger Mission Statement: A Look at Successful Formats
It's important to put some real thought into the mission and vision statements for your business before you even open your doors to the public. In this series, find useful tips for constructing these statements along with examples of what works - and what doesn't.