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Defining Purpose, Vision and Mission for your Startup Business.

Bringing the principles of purpose, vision, and mission to life in your startup or early growth business becomes the foundation of your culture and gets all concerned rowing the boat in the right direction. This is not a marketing exercise.

Many Founders struggle to clearly define and communicate the purpose, vision and mission of their business. Having clarity to define your purpose, vision and mission (PVM) becomes the foundation of your strategic positioning and competitive advantage in the marketplace.

More importantly, expressing your PVM effectively will enable you to guide and align your leadership teams to establish and provide the intellectual direction that employees need to embrace these principles as their own.

Purpose, Values, Mission Defined.

For many leaders in early growth companies, these principles are commonly misunderstood.

A PURPOSE statement answers WHY you exist.

A VISION statement answers WHAT you aim to achieve.

A MISSION statement answers HOW you plan to achieve your vision.

The purpose of your business never changes and remains relevant for as long as your enterprise exists. Purpose (why your business exists beyond money-making) communicates the emotional connection of being part of an “idea of value” that will benefit the world. Your purpose is an inspirational concept that attracts the right talent and higher value customers who value the very existence of your business.

Your vision (what you aim to achieve) is very straightforward and clarifies your business goals. Your vision must be precise in detail, measurable, attainable, and single-minded. To be practical in the age of clutter and noise, your strategic vision needs to focus on achieving both near term (one year out) and long-term business goals (3-5 years out).

Your mission (how you plan to achieve your vision) describes the aspirational and motivational depiction of the key customer benefits and differentiating initiatives. Clarity and brevity are essential in communicating your mission so customers, employees and stakeholders are motivated into action to fulfill your vision.

Guidance for developing a your purpose statement:

  • Focus on how your purpose improves the lives of people.

  • It’s has nothing to do with business goals or money-making.

  • Stays relevant forever.

  • Bigger than the individual.

  • So motivating that people are excited to join in your purpose.It evokes a meta-physical aspiration.

Guidance for developing your vision statement:

  • Measurable – so your organization will know progress is being made.

  • Attainable – it must stretch your current capabilities but not be lofty “pie in the sky”.

  • Inspiring – must engage your people emotionally.

  • Cultural – must fit within your organizations unique “way of being”.

  • Single-minded – must be specific and detailed.

  • Vivid – must be clear and understood by all.

Guidance for developing your mission statement:

  • Focus on actions or initiatives and make sure they are clear enough so people can understand and be motivated by them.

  • Simplicity and clarity over verbosity. For example, Google’s mission is “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”

  • Focus on an all-encompassing idea of value that ties back to your vision.

Your PVM is the bedrock on which your growth and success will depend. It’s worthy of the time and effort to invest in developing your statements of purpose, vision and mission. Your PVM are three legs of the stool on which a strong and highly differentiated strategic positioning depends.


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