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Branding Basics for Small Businesses / Part II: A Mission + Vision Workshop


The words mission and vision superimposed over handheld sign that reads "impossible" with the "im" crossed out, leaving only "possible"

By Tania Zamorsky

In today’s continuing discussion of mission and vision statements, we will be offering "live workshop" prompts to help you to create—or revise—your own. We'll even play along!


As we reviewed in our first, branding overview post, a mission statement typically describes your current business—what it is, who it’s for, how and why. Your vision statement describes what you aspire to accomplish ultimately, in the future. And, finally, some people go a step further, with a statement or list of values that further speaks to their core principles and the driving force behind it all (but we'll save this discussion for the next post).


In whatever format you choose to do so (notebook, iPhone note, etc.), jot down your answers to the following questions:

  • What do I make or provide?

  • For whom am I creating or offering this product or service?

  • How would I love to be known or described by clients/customers?

  • What makes me special/different? (Unique technology or innovation, experience, great prices, etc.?)

  • Why? What inspired me to start this business? To solve what problems or challenges, and/or because of what underlying principles, philosophy or values?

  • What are my ultimate goals? What do I want to be?

While the answers to these questions will give you the necessary puzzle pieces to pull from, all of these components will not make it into your final statements. This is a good thing, since mission and vision statements, anyway, are typically distilled down into one sentence each.


If your answers to the questions are very long, that may seem a bit like trying to cram a whole lot of clothes into a very tiny suitcase—but it’s also a fun exercise, especially if you keep in mind that there is no one, right answer. Any extra content can and indeed should be used for other purposes, e.g., future website copy of other marketing collateral.


Based simply upon our answers to the questions above, Bincubate's mission and vision statements started out looking something like this:


Bincubate Mission: "To educate, inspire and empower small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially those that may be feeling left out of the process or disenfranchised in some way, and to give them access to the sophisticated tools and strategies that the big guys get - and often pay big bucks for."


Bincubate Vision: "Through articles, interviews and other educational offerings (including from talented professionals in complementary industries), to build an ever-expanding "library" of resources for small business owners, on various topics.


What might a first draft of your mission and vision statements look like?
_____________________________________

While you should absolutely NOT copy anyone else's statement, doing some online research for “best mission and vision statements” will give you a wide range of other helpful examples to guide and inspire you.


We're not going to reproduce them here (we did originally, but they kept changing!), but we analyzed a few then-current examples from very well known companies and created alternate mission and vision statements for Bincubate that were similar only in general approach (e.g., length, rhythm and style). See if you can guess which companies inspired each version!

DRAFT VERSION 2

Bincubate Mission: “Provide creative and actionable ideas, information and inspiration to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs, who may otherwise not yet have access to sophisticated PR, marketing and other key strategies.”


Bincubate Vision: "To create a vibrant and ever-expanding educational resource for small business owners, especially those with small budgets but big dreams."


Inspired by this slightly different style and rhythm, what might your revised statements look like? _______________________________

Don't overthink it. Think of the elements of your small business that are most important to you and just get something down on the page.


DRAFT VERSION 3

Bincubate Mission: "To inform, inspire and empower the small business owner - one proven tip, tool and PR & marketing tactic at a time.


Bincubate Vision: "As our educational and inspirational offerings continue to expand, to become a go-to resource and 'library' for small business on various relevant topics that will help them grow.

Inspired by this slightly different style and rhythm, what might your revised statements look like? _______________________________

Again, there is not right or answer at this stage. These are just prompts to help you figure out the core concepts that resonate most with you and your business.


DRAFT VERSION 4

Bincubate Mission: "Boost small-biz."


Bincubate Vision: "We believe small businesses and entrepreneurs deserve the same level of 'big company' PR, marketing and other best practices."

Inspired by this slightly different style and rhythm, what might your revised statements look like? _______________________________

Which version of Bincubate’s mission and vision statements, above, do you like the best? (Tell us in the comments!) And even more important, what version of your own mission and vision statement did you like best? Will you keep tinkering, or have you arrived at a final?


Crafting mission statement concepts can be a great group or crowdsourcing activity, by the way - so don't be afraid to open up this brainstorming session to friends, colleagues and team members - and even possibly your customers, who can help you to better understand what you mean to them.


Again, once you have arrived at your final mission and values statements, don't discard or delete any of the "work product" you used to get there. Everything you came up with – from your answers to the questions, to your different statement variations – can be repurposed in your website, marketing materials or other communications. (Nose-to-tail branding, baby!)


Also keep in mind that, as you mature as a company, your statements might change too - and that is fine. While, for the sake of brand identity and consistency, they shouldn't be changed too drastically or often, they can definitely expand and take new shape along with you.



If you have any questions, or would like some help coming up with your OWN mission or vision statement, drop us a line at bincubate@zamopr.com.


1 comment

1 comentario


This is soooo cool... I now have homework for the weekend! Great job Tania

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