When you want to start a business, you have to think about a hundred and one things. The most important thing is the core of your business. What do you stand for and what do you want to achieve? That is your mission and vision. Two terms that you often hear, but of which not everyone knows what it exactly means.

We look at the definition, why it is important and what the difference is between a mission and vision.

infographic with definition of the term mission

Mission: definition and explanation

The mission statement of your organization states what the goals and ambitions are for the long term. The English term is also sometimes used: mission statement. With a mission you give direction to your company. A clear course ensures that you are not too distracted by peripheral matters. In a mission statement you answer at least the following questions:

  • What are we doing?
  • Who are we doing it for?
  • Where do we do this?
  • How do we do this?
  • Why are we doing this?

When you use these parts, you have a clear mission. In addition, you formulate the mission statement in such a way that the values and identity of your organization are visible.

A good example is the mission statement of a regulatory technology (regtech) company: 'To be the Leading Cloud Solution Provider in Compliance & Integrity Risk management for​ Banks and Insurance companies in the Euro zone,​ dedicated to protect against criminal activities.'

This company describes what they do: deliver cloud solutions. They do this for banks and insurers (who) in the eurozone (where). They do this with 'Compliance & Integrity Risk management' (how), because they believe that this way they can protect their customers from criminal activity (why). In short: an all-encompassing mission.

Why is a mission statement so important?

A mission statement therefore gives direction to your company. But it does more than that. If you have a clear mission, then you carry it out. And your employees too. With a clear mission statement that all managers and employees believe in, it is easier to get everyone on the same page.

In addition: if you company is going to sell, you must be able to clearly formulate your mission statement for potential buyers. If you can't even convey the core of your business, you can dream exit well forgotten.

Mission and vision

The distinction between a mission statement and vision is not clear to everyone. It is actually very simple: first you create a mission and from that your vision flows. A mission statement is therefore the basis of your vision.

In your view, it is best to dream a little. Your mission is a bit more practical in nature and more focused on your organization itself. The vision relates more to the world around your company.

The mission statement and vision together are the basis for your strategy. Your mission, vision and strategy are the essence of your company. That is why it is important that you have this clear. Woolly language is a no go. If you have clearly formulated the vision, mission and strategy, you can communicate this better. And that is positive for potential buyers.