Business Planning Basics – Your Vision Statement

In Business Planning Basics – Your Mission Statement, the need for a Mission Statement as a starting point in developing your business plan was discussed. Now I want to introduce the concept of the Vision Statement. The Vision Statement is different from your Mission Statement and for some businesses they may be the same but in any case they should complement each other.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Mission Statement is to describe the business at a high level. It serves to help guide the organization’s strategies and communicate it to the stakeholders such as employees, shareholders, suppliers and customers. Generally the Mission Statement is more short/mid-term in nature(3 to 5 years). The Mission Statement should answer three basic questions:

  1. What do we do?
  2. How do we do it?
  3. For whom do we do it?

Vision Statement

Conceptually the Vision Statement helps you describe why it is important to achieve the Mission, the overall reason(s) the business exists, and what you are trying to accomplish. This is big goal stuff –  “It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning ready to go”. By its nature, the Vision Statement is long term goal and to some “lofty” ideal. Some examples of a vision statement could be:

  • Ford (Old)
    • “Democratize the automobile.”
  • Heinz sample vision statements
    • “To be the world’s premier food company, offering nutritious, superior tasting foods to people everywhere.”
  • Sears
    • “To be the preferred and most trusted resource for the products and services that enhance home and family life.”
  • Stanford University (Old)
    • “Become the Harvard of the West.”
  • Sony (Old) sample vision statements
    • “Become the Company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products.”
  • Anheuser-Busch sample vision statements
    • “To be the world’s beer company. Through all of our products, services and relationships, we will add to life’s enjoyment.”
  • My Art Business
    • “To have every art gallery that specializes in modern art want to represent my art.”
  • My Non-Profit Art Business
    • “To eliminate women’s poverty in the _____ region of _______ by providing the women with an outlet to sell their arts and crafts on a worldwide basis.”

What Do I Need – Mission or Vision

You definitely need a Mission Statement. Depending on the nature of your business and your “big world saving/changing” idea you may also need a Vision Statement. If you are just starting out you probably have a “vision” – think about it! My advice is to combine the two and call it a Mission Statement and leave the semantics and finer points to the MBAs and business professors. What is your vision for your art business?

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto

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