Why you need a clear vision, mission and values

Chart your course with a clear why, what and how

A successful business journey requires a precise and purposeful roadmap. Learn how to write your vision, mission and values to get where you’re going faster.

Why vision, mission and values matter

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many people to reassess their priorities, bringing new focus to concepts like sustainability, social equity and community. As a result, customers are more interested in brands with a conscience than ever before. 

In addition to long-standing purchase drivers like affordability and convenience, many customers now place equal importance on engaging a business whose values align with their own. They’ll be loyal if they find a match and take their business elsewhere if they discover a conflict – often sharing their concerns with friends, family, colleagues and social media in the process.

As well as connecting you to customers, a clearly defined vision, mission and values help to align employees, management and shareholders. They act as a guiding force for where your business is going and how you intend to get there – enabling you to achieve your goals faster and smarter.

But building these strategic statements is not a one-person job. By involving key stakeholders in the creation process, you’ll ensure they accurately represent your business, establish a shared understanding and align to your business goals. 

So, what are vision, mission and values exactly – and how do you write them for your business?

What comes first?

First things first, in what order do you write them? Setting the order requires an understanding of their purpose.

  1. A vision statement outlines the future of your business – essentially, where it’s going and what it wants to achieve and contribute.
  2. A mission statement describes what your business will do to achieve that vision.
  3. Core values define how you will behave during that process.

Essentially, your vision provides direction, your mission creates focus, and your values define behaviour.

Setting your vision

What it is
Your vision defines the purpose of your business – including why your business is important, what you are aiming to achieve and how you will contribute to your industry and the community at large. It acts as the starting point for your business strategy and planning, and informs your brand, marketing, recruitment and induction processes.
Why you need it
To chart your course for the future and inspire stakeholders to get on board for the journey ahead.
How to create it
  1. Gather management, staff, shareholders and external business advisors together for a business vision workshop.
  2. Start by considering your overarching purpose and why the business matters to staff and customers.
  3. Identify your long-term goals and aspirations.
  4. Summarise 2 and 3 into a clear and concise statement, written in plain English and easily interpreted by someone outside the business.
  5. Implement your vision across the business by displaying it publicly, in staff common areas, your code of conduct and other key policy documents.
  6. Review and update it on an ongoing basis.
Flight Centre Travel Group example
To be the world's most exciting and profitable travel retailer, personally delivering amazing experiences to our people, our customers and our partners.

Setting your mission

What it is
Your mission describes how you put your purpose into action – including what you do, who you serve, and your key functions and offerings. It may refer to your industry, products or services, competence, market segment or geographical area.
Why you need it
To ensure your everyday activities are in alignment with, and contributing to, your vision for the future. 
How to create it
  1. Interview your team to answer key questions like what is our business? Who is our customer? How do we best serve them?
  2. Hone in on the key ideas, focusing on words that inspire and excite you.
  3. Use these words to form your mission statement, ensuring it is written clearly in present tense with a powerful and emotive tone.
  4. Finalise the statement and incorporate it into key operational documents to ensure your everyday activities align to your business goals.
  5. Review and update it on an ongoing basis.
Flight Centre Travel Group example
To open up the world for those who want to see.

Setting your values

What it is
Core values are the deeply ingrained principles and beliefs that guide your company’s behaviour around the actions you take to bring your mission and vision to life. Your values act as your North Star, helping you to make decisions, foster a unified culture and create a positive difference.
Why you need it
To set clear expectations of how and why you do things for employees and connect with customers who share your values.  
How to create it
  1. Gather management, staff, shareholders and external business advisors together for a values creation workshop.
  2. Seek inspiration from other companies you admire – identifying which values do and don’t resonate.
  3. Reflect on the beliefs and principles that matter to your business. For SMEs, a company’s core values will often reflect the business owner’s personal values.
  4. Together, brainstorm your business values across common categories like customer service, sustainability, social equity, teamwork and culture.
  5. Review your list and prioritise the top 3 – 5, ensuring a good mix of principles, beliefs and standards of behaviour.
  6. Translate your values into a set of actions, ensuring the values are easily understood and applied across your business.
  7. Review and update your values on an ongoing basis.
Flight Centre Travel Group example
  • Irreverence - We take our business seriously but not ourselves. We respect our customers, our partners and each other.        
  • Ownership - We take full responsibility for our business and treat it as our own.
  • Egalitarianism - Everyone has the same opportunities, rights and privileges. Self important people don’t fit in. There is no “us and them”.

Get clear to go far

Clearly defining your vision, mission and values will ensure your day-to-day decisions and actions are guided by an agreed sense of purpose. With your future direction and connection to customers at stake, it pays to get external support through business advisory services to get these statements right. Once you have these foundations in place, an accountant can then help you align your purpose with your operational and financial strategies to ensure you’re on track to achieve success.

Speak to your accountant about business advisory services.

Ask for a callback from JTU Accounting.