Business Planning: The Essential First Steps

How to write a mission statement, define your vision and register a business name

A well-crafted business serves as a roadmap for your business, helping you to check off the essential steps for starting a business, grow in the right direction, and make decisions with your customers’ best interests in mind.

That’s a lot to ask of a single document. But when you zoom in, it’s easy to see why a good business plan is essential.

Let’s start by looking at the mission and vision statements, two of the fundamental first steps in business planning and registering a business name that resonates

The importance of mission and vision statements

Mission and vision statements do a lot of the heavy lifting in communicating a business purpose. They provide clarity and focus for business owners, inspire employees, attract customers and investors, and help companies make intentional decisions and adapt to changes in the market or society.

Mission and vision are often bundled together into purpose statements. However, they serve slightly different purposes.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement defines the purpose of a business and encompasses everything it strives to be. A good mission statement looks beyond products and services, instead becoming a public declaration of what your company stands for. 

How to write a mission statement

  • Be clear: Share your mission statement with friends, family and colleagues to see if it’s easy to understand.
  • Be concise: Mission statement should be a few sentences long at most.
  • Be specific: Encompass the founding principles behind your business and the impact you seek to make.
  • Be unique. Don’t copy and paste; sum up what your business stands for.
  • Be aspirational. Your mission statement should inspire employees and encourage customers to join your journey.

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement defines a company’s long-term goals in broad and ambitious terms, giving employees and customers a future point to focus on. It paints a vivid picture of the company’s future without getting too specific.

Where a mission statement is rooted in the company’s values and reason for being, a vision statement sets out what the company aims to accomplish. 

How to write a vision statement

  • Be ambitious: Identify what your business is striving for and what inspires employees and customers.
  • Be realistic: Vision statements should be achievable given enough time and resources, although not within your immediate grasp.
  • Be inspiring: Your vision statement should unify customers and employees behind a common goal.

Vision statements, like mission statements, should be clear and concise. The form and structure vary from one business to another, but as a general rule, they should be unique and punchy.


Writing mission and vision statements: The practical stuff

In the sections above, “How to write a mission statement” and “How to write a vision statement”, we shared tips for shaping a compelling statement.

Now it’s time to actually write the thing. Here’s the process we find works for small businesses.

  1. Identify strengths

Mission and vision statements should be aspirational and realistic. Articulate your strengths and factors that will guide your company’s growth. Analyse company performance, listen to feedback and think critically about what makes your business stand out.

  1. Define core values

A company’s core values should be believable, relevant, memorable and shared by the team. Strong values attract and retain employees, build a resilient business, and guide marketing, customer interactions and supplier relationships.

  1. Look ahead

A company’s long-term objectives should be realistic and relevant, but they do not need to be measurable. They do not even need to be attainable. Measurable short-term goals should be a distillation of broader long-term business objectives. 

  1. Shape your statements

Everyone in the organisation should contribute to crafting the mission and vision statements because they will live and breathe it. Sole traders might reach out to mentors or their network for help honing and strengthening a business plan.

While there’s no one agreed way to write a mission or vision statement, these formulas might be helpful as a starting point:

  • Our company aims to [state your vision] because we believe [incorporate your mission].

  • We want to [state your mission] by [explain the vision].

Vision and mission statement examples

These mission and vision statements are creative and concise without becoming catchphrases.

  • Shopify: Make commerce better for everyone, so businesses can focus on what they do best: building and selling their products.
  • TED: Spread ideas.
  • Cochlear: We help people hear and be heard. We empower people to connect with others and live a full life.
  • Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.
  • QANTAS: We take the spirit of Australia further.
  • Etsy: Keep commerce human.

Why you need a mission and vision before registering a business name

Mission and vision statements aren’t standalone or static. They communicate what a business stands for and what it will do, two ideas that should flow into the registered business name.

Plus, the background work to instil your company’s purpose and plan into two concise statements is incredibly valuable for coming up with a great name

Mission, vision and naming are all fundamental to building a business plan. Branding is, too, so look out for future guides on the topic.

Business name registration made easy

Crafting a vision and mission statement can be challenging, but the effort is worth it. On the other hand, registering a business name couldn’t be easier.

Registry Australia’s user-friendly online business name registration portal makes it easy for small business owners to conduct a business name check, register and renew business names, and manage ASIC requirements like ABN registration. 

Ready to register a business name in just a few clicks?

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