Where Are You Going, Anyway?

Mission. Vision. Goals. Objectives. What’s what?

Some consultants do nothing but lead corporations and organizations through the visioning process, helping them clarify why they exist, what they hope to achieve, and how they intend to get where they want to be.

Small companies rarely have the funds to dedicate to this kind of a strategic process. For that matter, they rarely have time to stop and think about what they’re trying to accomplish beyond the survival objective of bringing in enough revenue to cover the expenses. That’s why your business will have an edge — and a greater chance for success — if you devote some time upfront to setting your sights and aiming yourself and your business in the right direction.

The “vision” thing

Well-run businesses set annual goals that are supported by the foundation of a business vision and mission. The terms vision and mission are often used interchangeably, but there is a fine-line difference.

remember.eps Your vision is a statement of what your company strives to be. It defines your desired future. It’s the big picture of where you’re going. Your company’s mission, on the other hand, is the path you plan to follow to achieve success.

A hallmark example of clearly defined vision and mission statements comes from the Oregon Trail, the 19th-century trek from Missouri to Oregon. If ever an organization needed a vision to overshadow ...

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