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Does Your Startup Plan Express Your Vision, Mission and Values?

When you write your business plan, you need to set out your strategies for growing your business and maximising the potential of your idea. This will involve specifying figures and going into detail regarding the execution of your plan and the actions invo

But remember, no business plan is set in stone. All kinds of events outside of your control can make aspects of your plan obsolete or redundant, meaning you need be flexible and change the details and strategies as and when it becomes necessary to do so.

However, there is a crucial element of your plan that shouldn’t change: the reason you’re going into business in the first place.

Just as important as detailing the financial and strategic details of your business plan is articulating your overall vision for the enterprise. The details are important, but it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae and lose focus on the wider elements of what you’re trying to achieve. Your vision for the company and the main reason for its existence should be embedded throughout your plan. For example, you might have started your business after identifying a solution to a problem that will make a positive difference to the lives of consumers or businesspeople. You might have a new product or service that will improve efficiency in a certain area. You might want to provide quality and excellence in your industry. Whatever the vision is, it should be the foundation of your plan.

### Mission statement

A mission statement can be an effective starting point for articulating your vision. Not only can it be used for your business plan, but it can also remain at the heart of your company’s strategy and culture, and remind everyone involved of the direction and overall goal of the enterprise. It should be a brief statement that focuses attention on what you do, why you do it, and what you aim to achieve – your ultimate strategic goal. It needs to be as clear and direct as possible, highlighting any differentiation between your business and its competitors. It also has to be attainable and realistic. If you’re a small startup enterprise and your mission statement expresses a desire to become a world leader, it’s not going to be effective because it won’t seem realistic. Concentrate on what you can and want to achieve.

### Company values

The values you promote and uphold as a business are another important consideration in articulating your vision. Stakeholders, customers and clients need a clear idea of what you stand for as a company. This can sometimes be imparted in a simple slogan – think of Google’s company motto of “don’t be evil”. Your business might pride itself, for example, on excellent customer service – in which case, your business plan should use this as a context for all your strategic plans for the future, otherwise you could find yourself making decisions that compromise this particular value in favour of another objective, such as cutting costs. Your key values can of course be included in your mission statement, but it’s also essential they are expressed throughout your plan and referenced in the context of your overall vision.

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