Your mission, vision and values are the very foundation of your business. They help you know what you do, why you do it, how you do it and where you’ll go in the future. Without them, things get murky and you might feel you’re lacking direction. It’s easy for these things to become generic and meaningless if they’re not considered carefully. Here, we’ll look at what a mission, vision and set of values really mean and how you can build a true reflection of your business.
‘If you look at every successful business in the world, there is often one common theme: they live their mission. Their Vision, Mission and Values are core to every decision made; they run through the culture of the organisation and they are the basis of every marketing message. These things give you targets and allow you to set clear and measurable goals for the business, and so by defining and using them, you’re giving yourself a really clear focus.’
Have you ever gone to a company’s website, scrolled for five minutes and been none the wiser as to what they actually do? Your mission should serve as a functional statement (one or two sentences) that summarises what you do; allowing your customers to get a snapshot of you. Think of it as an even more concise elevator pitch.
Be specific. It’s no good saying the same old thing as your competitors. When put side by side, what makes your offering stand out from the crowd? Is it the use of specific innovative technology? Do you work with a niche section of your market that your competitors have glossed over?
Consider what your customers want or need from your business. Have you included a benefit statement within your mission? Remember, your customers want to know how they stand to gain from working with your business.
When we set out in business, we all go in with goals and aspirations. These are the things you should keep in mind when you write your company vision. It’s a glimpse into the future; what do you want your legacy to be? How will you leave your industry a better place than it was before?
Again, being able to summarise this concisely in a single statement will have huge impact when new potential customers and clients come across your business. Not only this, consider the power of your vision when thinking about hiring in the future. Candidates want to know they’re working with a business that’s going somewhere. You can show them with one well written statement.
We all have them. We all put them on our website. But what are they? Your values are the things that make you tick; your ethos. Values are what help people connect with your business; they transcend demographics. In tough times, your values are what you can always come back to to remind yourself why you do what you do.
A trap that many people fall into when creating values is picking attributes that people naturally expect from businesses. For example, most people would hope the business they’re working with acts with honesty and integrity. Those things should come as standard. What are the specific things that matter to you?
Here’s a top tip. When designing your values, don’t think of them as a set of things to sell to your customer. Think of them as the things you would describe to a new recruit. What adjectives make up your working culture that will resonate with your customers? What do you live and breathe everyday?
‘Your values are strong beliefs and actions and drive you to behave the way you do as a brand. They’re not made up or forced. Strongly defined values should come across through your messaging, behaviours and the work you do; there’s no need to add them to your website. If they’re not clear enough to your customers without explicitly saying what they are, it’s best to revisit them to make sure they’re as real and accurate as possible.’
Why do you need them?
When you put the three things together, you’re left with a perfect succinct summary of what you do and what matters to you – a great introduction to your business for both new staff and your clients and customers. Value based recruitment is a great way of building a team that is on the same wavelength as you.
They also help to give you a clear picture of where you are and where you’re going with a way of doing it. As your business grows and evolves, you can instill these things into your teams to curate a company wide culture based on shared values and aspirations.
So, is it time to dust off the mission, vision and values document? It’s natural for things to change as your business evolves. The ideas you originally wrote may no longer apply. Now’s the time to go back to the drawing board and start fresh. If you need help figuring out your mission, vision and values, several of our Northern Affinity partners can help you hit the nail on the head. Head to our partners directory and simply search for branding and marketing & digital. You’ll find all the experts you need.