Value and Vision Statements in Business Planning

Your mission statement and your business goals and objectives provide a business planning road map that keeps your company moving in the right direction, but a map isn’t enough by itself.

You also need a good, reliable compass — something that you can count on to keep you oriented, particularly during rocky times. You need a clear set of values and a strong vision:

  • A values statement is a set of beliefs and principles that exists behind the scenes to guide your business activities and the way you operate.

  • A vision statement is a precise set of words that announces to the world what your company hopes to make of itself. The vision statement defines your highest aspirations for your business. It explains why you’re doing what you’re doing, in terms of the greatest good you hope to achieve.

Uncover values you already hold

So, what are the values that you hold for your company and your business? You can probably come up with a list off the top of your head. People tend to take values for granted — beliefs and principles that serve as a hidden foundation for what you choose to do and how you choose to get things accomplished.

How to write a values statement

The vales statement doesn’t have to be long and fancy. In fact, a simple list, with values written as plainly and clearly as possible, is an ideal form for a values statement.

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How to write a vision statement

A vision statement is a short phrase or sentence that describes the enduring purpose of your business. To distinguish the vision statement from other statements, remember the following list:

  • Your mission statement describes who you are and what you hope to achieve.

  • Your goals and objectives set the mileposts that help you get what you want.

  • Your values statement reminds you of why you’re in business in the first place.

  • Your vision statement expresses, in the simplest language possible, what you intend your business to accomplish. This statement captures the essential reasons you’re in business: the intentions that will remain constant even when strategies and practices — and even your products and services — change in response to a changing world.

Consider the business venture started by an entrepreneur whose business values are listed above. His company’s mission statement reads as follows:

To create an online marketplace that brings together unique and creative folk artists from around the world with serious collectors from beginner to expert.

His enduring vision statement reads

To promote the continuing production of folk art and the livelihood of folk artists around the world through Internet technology.

In 25 words or less, capture the vision you have for your company. Your vision statement makes its way into your written business plan as part of your company overview.

The vision you have for your company is something you should be very proud of. Make copies for each person you work with. Consider including your vision statement in your company brochure, on your website's “About Us” page, and even on your letterhead or on your email footer to remind everyone of the essential reasons that you’re in business.

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