Create Mission and Vision Statements That Drive Your Business

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Teresa Riccobuono

We often hear that advisors should create mission and vision statements for their businesses. I agree, but with one caveat.

Before dedicating time and resources to craft those statements, start with an exercise to determine or clarify your values. After all, if you craft a mission or vision statement that is not in line with your core values, the statement is of no value.

In this article, I will explain how to create values statements, mission statements and vision statements to best achieve your goals.

Why start with values?

Values provide a moral compass, helping leaders and employees make better decisions in both good times and bad. I encourage you to focus on these values when dealing with prospects, clients, service providers and wholesalers. Incorporate your company’s values into the recruiting process so you can add team members who share the same values as you and the company.

If you don’t already have a value statement, one place to start is this detailed list of suggestions. I suggest you narrow your list down to the top three to five values in order to maintain focus.

Depending on your situation, it may be wise to include all primary team members when determining your company’s values. Going through this process is an eye-opening experience as well as a team-building exercise.

For example, one of my close colleagues told me her personal values are family, friends, happiness, health and helping others. This same person developed a list of values for her advisory business and charitable work: cooperation, creativity, fairness, integrity and helping others.

Creating a mission statement

A corporation’s mission statement is the single most important public-facing tool it has. As with the list of values, a mission statement provides guidance for behavior toward customers.

A mission statement should be short, simple, memorable and inspiring.

For example, Bill Gates’ mission statement is, “All lives are equal.” At this time in his life, he is living out his mission through philanthropic pursuits by helping those who are in need.

You might be thinking that this is a life philosophy, not a mission statement. But a mission statement is simply what inspires you and your team. There is no right or wrong mission statement.

The mission statement you craft should be full of passion. If you are ho-hum about your mission, how will you inspire others to partner with you in your mission?

Every mission requires action, so every mission statement requires verbs. A detailed list of action verbs can be found here.

Narrow your final list of action verbs to the top three to five words.

Here is one colleague’s list of action verbs: create, encourage, inspire and unite.

As with the values exercise, going through the mission exercise with your partners or team members is a terrific team-building activity. It tells how each person experiences the various words on the list. Be open to the discussion that ensues.