Starting a new business is exciting: There’s a fresh idea, a million to-do lists, and all the passion and drive to bring an idea to life.
As the brainstorming process gives way to a concrete plan, it’s essential to take time to articulate the vision, mission, and values behind your new endeavor. These are three key elements of the foundation of your brand identity. When you take the time to fine-tune your brand basics, you’ll have greater focus, more motivation, and a better sense of how your business shows up in the world — and online. A solid brand foundation can save time later, simplifying creative decisions and providing clear context to any employees, partners, or collaborators.
Read on to learn more about how to identify your vision, write your mission statement, and craft a list of your business’s values.
Consider your mission statement vs. vision statement
Unlike the vision statement — which focuses on the big picture — your mission takes the abstract ideals of a vision and translates them into action. Since your vision statement is the why, your mission statement is the how. Learn how to craft both statements below.
Identify your vision and beliefs
Though it may feel rudimentary, taking the time to clarify your vision and beliefs is the key to establishing meaning behind your mission. Moving forward, many business decisions stem from the core beliefs of a business, so it’s worth the effort to hone in on what you care about and are building into your business from the start.
In order to figure out your vision, start by considering the following questions:
What’s the problem my business will solve?
Why am I personally invested in providing a solution?
Do others care about this problem, and are they seeking a solution?
For example, a chef like Gaby Melian believes in the healing power of home-cooked meals and the connections those meals facilitate. When she realized how many people dread cooking and see it as a chore, she set out to change the narrative. Since cooking was such an integral part of her family and upbringing, her business has a vision for a world that prioritizes enjoyment — through food, fun, and familial bonds. Her motto is: “Keep Cooking. Be Happy.”
Write your mission statement
Once you’ve identified the problem you’re solving with your vision statement, get to the root of your mission statement by asking yourself:
What are the concrete details of how I will solve this problem? Does it involve developing a product, creating a service, writing a book, or something entirely different?
Is the solution attainable to create? Do I have the financial or physical resources? Do I enjoy doing this work?
Will that solution serve your clients and customers, and provide a satisfactory solution?
For example, Gaby Melian has a vision of bringing the joy and connection of cooking to families. Drilling down into the tangible elements of her business, her mission is to empower home chefs to enjoy the process of cooking through providing a compendium of free tools and resources. Concretely, this translates to her successful social media presence and free recipe database.
List out your business’s values
Unlike your mission, values aren’t tangible objects or plans. Instead, they’re the core ideals of your company that inform decisions moving forward. Strive to identify roughly five or six values to create a complete guide of the principles that govern the way your business shows up.
What makes me feel proud of my work? For example, is it the fact that this product has never existed before? Maybe I value innovation. Is it because I know this will positively impact the world? I likely value making a difference.
What are my favorite traits of the three people I most appreciate? If they’re honest, I probably value honesty. If they’re funny, I may value the power of humor, and integrate playful touchpoints throughout my business. If they’re open about themselves, it’s possible I value vulnerability.
What do I admire in other businesses? For example, if I respect their social media presence, I may value community engagement. If I appreciate that they showcase client feedback on their site, maybe I value transparency.
Every business is different, and there are no wrong answers. Reflecting on how others run their businesses can help improve how you imagine your own business.