Success is not an accident, nor is it luck. It is the result of proactively driving your business towards its goals, making sound strategic decisions — and remembering why you opened your doors in the first place. Your company’s mission and vision statements simultaneously keep you focused on the present while empowering you to move into the future.

Mission Statement vs. Vision

While often used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences between a vision and a mission statement:

  • Mission: A statement that defines your purpose, goals, and your approach to reaching those goals. Trader Joe’s mission is, “…to give our customers the best food and beverage values that they can find anywhere and to provide them with the information required to make informed buying decisions. We provide these with a dedication to the highest quality of customer satisfaction delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, fun, individual price, and company spirit.”
  • Vision: An aspirational statement about what your business would like to achieve or accomplish in the future. The Alzheimer’s Association does this simply, and powerfully: “A world without Alzheimer’s.”

Your mission guides decision-making and keeps everyone — from the CEO or owner to front line employees — on course. While the vision statement is future-oriented, the mission is more grounded in the now. It’s your reason for being.

Some brands intertwine their vision and mission into a single cohesive statement. For example: “Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”

Why It Matters

These short, snappy statements are much more than sound bites that promote a company’s values or positions. They create buy-in at the most essential level: among employees.mission statement

According to research conducted by Forbes, employees who do not find their company’s mission and vision meaningful have average engagement scores of 16% (compared to an average of 40%). They are there to put in their hours and collect their paycheck. Nothing more.

When employees connect with the mission and vision, though, their average engagement scores are well above average at 68%.

Employee engagement ties directly to bottom line results:

  • Companies with high levels of engagement report 20% higher productivity and 21% higher profitability (Gallup).
  • They also report higher profit growth (10-15%) compared to those with low levels of engagement (0-1%) (MIT Sloan Review).
  • Engagement is linked to increased operating income — average 19% over 12 months versus a decrease for organizations with low engagement (Towers Perrin).
  • High engagement companies generate earnings per share 342% higher than the industry median average (Gallup) and shareholder returns 22% higher than the average (AON Hewitt).

Employee engagement is just one way that an effective mission statement and vision make an impact on your business. From communicating your purpose and passion to aspiring to greater heights, these words matter.

Crafting Winning Vision and Mission Statements

How do you create statements that capture your purpose, your ideal future, and harness the energy of your people and target audience?

KISS. Keep it short and simple. Rather than wordy (and let’s face it, boring) corporate documents, craft a vision and mission message that is easily digested by employees, clients, and investors alike.

In terms of your vision:

  • Think — and dream — big. This is the time to be ambitious, and even audacious.
  • Project five to ten years down the road. What will success look like?
  • Align your vision with your business values and goals.
  • Use short, simple, passionate language and use the present-tense.

A few examples:

To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy (Tesla)

Spread ideas (TED)

To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground (JetBlue)


In terms of your mission statement, it should be anchored in the present, encompass your purpose, and answer key questions:

  • What does our company do and how?
  • For whom do we do it?
  • What value do we deliver?

In one simple sentence, Make-a-Wish captures the essence of their organization, their reason for being:

We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

Other examples:

San Diego Zoo is a conservation, education, and recreation organization dedicated to the reproduction, protection, and exhibition of animals, plants, and their habitats.

Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.

American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Without a vision and mission statement, your company is like a rudderless ship. Any strong wind can blow it off course. These statements anchor you in your purpose and values, while allowing you the flexibility to aspire — and achieve. For a look at Haven’s definitive blueprint on creating a successful marketing strategy, download our 9 Steps to Effective Marketing in the Design and Construction Industry eBook.