18 Apr Developing your small business vision and values
Determining and articulating your small business vision and values is an important part of your business planning. Your vision and values communicate why you are in business and how you do business. Together they play an important role in directing your branding strategy, marketing activities and operations.
This article looks at vision and mission statements as well as business values. There are explanations, examples and tips for developing them for your small business.
Vision and mission statements
A vision statement articulates your purpose and the longer-term goals of your business. It outlines why you do what you do in your business, beyond the financial benefits, and what you hope to achieve. A mission statement outlines what you do and how.
As an example, my client George, a regenerative farmer, has recently developed the following vision statement: ‘Healing our farmland and stabilising our climate.’ His business’s mission statement is: ‘To nourish our community and our farmland by using regenerative management practices to produce fresh, tasty and nutritious food.’
Vision and mission statements give you focus, and keep you motivated and inspired. They can also guide you in decision making. For example, if your mission is ‘to design and build superior quality surf craft with a reputation for strength and speed’, when developing new products you wouldn’t focus efforts on designing a low cost, mediocre paddle board.
It’s also a good idea to communicate your vision and/or mission with your customers. People will be interested in why you are in business, what you plan to achieve, and how you are different. Your vision and mission can be woven into your brand story, elevator pitch, social media bios, or you can use the statements on your website or in presentations.
Business values are the core ideals that inform how you operate your business. They can be based on principles, beliefs, attitudes and standards of behaviour. And they can relate to various aspects of your business, such as customer service, business conduct, business development, decision-making, teamwork, reputation, social impact and environmental responsibility.
For example, if environmental sustainability is one of your values you may choose to purchase Green Power electricity, compost food waste and use recycled or recyclable materials in your office. Or if one of your values is to ensure exceptional customer service, you would have a highly customer-centric returns policy.
When defining your core values you may use a list of keywords or sentences, or create a values statement. Refer to the examples below.
- We ensure quality craftsmanship.
- We listen to our customers and provide first-class customer service.
- We foster long-term partnerships.
- We are open, honest and down-to-earth.
We are passionate about consistently providing unique and delicious baked treats in order to take everyone to their happy place. We aim to foster long term partnerships with our customers and suppliers.
Creating vision and mission statements
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle is a great tool for determining your ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’. Which are the key parts of your vision and mission statements. View the short version of Sinek’s original ‘Start with why’ presentation which explains the Golden Circle.
To develop your vision statement you can also ask yourself these questions:
- What is my business purpose and passion? Why do I do what I do?
- How will I make a difference in the world or in my industry?
- What do I want to achieve in the future?
When writing a mission statement ask yourself:
- What is the problem my business solves and how?
- What is unique about my business? What makes it stand out?
- How is my business different from my competitors? What are the distinctive benefits?
- Who are my customers and how do I want them to feel?
Defining your values
When defining your business values keep in mind there is no right or wrong. It can be helpful to look at examples of values from other businesses, large or small. You can also use the following questions as prompts.
- What am I proud of in the way my business operates?
- What traits do I admire in my favourite businesses?
- What are the key principles and morals that guide my business?
- What beliefs most influence my decision making?
Your small business vision and values at work
Once you have defined your vision, mission and values, communicate them with your customers across your various touchpoints. You can also have them up on your wall or noticeboard as a reminder and guidepost. They will be invaluable as you develop your branding and marketing strategies, and in decision making within your business.
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