Difference between Goals, Objectives, Mission Statement
Are you wondering what is the difference between goals and objectives? Are you wondering what this the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement? Most importantly, why are they important? If you are anything like me, you want to get your business running as fast as possible. After all, you can’t make money if you haven’t started your businesses. If you spend weeks, months or years doing nothing but planning, you are not in business. You are simply dreaming about owning a business. So, it is important to know the difference between goals and objectives. It is also important to have a rough idea of your vision and your mission statement.
A goal answers the question, “What do you want to achieve?”
A goal is the desired result or outcomes that a business, or a person for that matter, envisions, plants and commits to achieve. A business will have multiple goals. Ideally, goals need to be measurable and able to be accomplished within a specific time frame.
Objectives are the specific measurable steps that need to be taken to accomplish a goal. As you meet each of your objectives, you move towards accomplishing your goal. Obviously, each goal will most likely have several objectives.
A mission statement deals with the present. A mission statement answers the questions, “Why are we here?” Or “What is the purpose of our business?” It is critical that a business owner or an aspiring business owner know WHY the business exists. The mission statement points the business in the correct direction. The mission statement will help keep the business owner, and employees if applicable, focused on what needs to be done.
Values statements, as a separate statement, is a “relatively” new term that stresses the importance of communicating a business’s or organization’s values to its customers. When I went through business school, I don’t specifically recall a value statement as being its own section in a business planning document.
However, as time has gone by the combination of ethical scandal after ethical scandal along with the recognized need to take care of people and the plant in addition to earning a profit, has made the business community and business educators realize that we need to communicate our values to everyone. Employees and potential employees want to understand an organizations values. Customers and potential customers want to do business with company’s that they share values with.
With regard to a values statement, I like the saying that goes something along the lines, “If you don’t know what you stand for, you will fall for anything.” I will try to find the exact quote and who I should attribute it to at a later point. For now, I’m just trying to get this written.
The vision statement deals with the future. When you are first starting a business, your dream was most likely your vision for the company. In my personal, humble opinion that I am offering your free here – coming up with a nice, concise vision statement for your new, young, company can consume a lot of time that could be better spent elsewhere.
I know this from personal experience. I also have observed and taken part in large established organizations working on their official vision statements. It is not uncommon for large organizations to hire a consultant to come in and help craft the vision statement. These consultants do not come cheap.
Non-business example of the difference between a vision, mission, goals and objectives.
Here is an example that will hopefully help you see the difference between a vision, mission, goals and objectives. This example is also meant to demonstrate that each of theses things do not always have to be written down in some sort of offiicial business plan document. However, a company grows or if you are seeking outside financing, each of these items will be included in a formal, written business plan.
I am envisioning my family enjoying eating a delicious pie that I baked myself. (That is my vision)
In accordance with my values, I want the pie to be healthy and fresh. I don’t want anyone to get sick after they eat it.
So, my mission is to bake an apple pie, using fresh, organically grown apples for my family.
To accomplish this mission, I set the following goals:
1) Finding the perfect recipe,
2) Finding the best ingredients,
3) Serve the pie(s) to my family for holiday dinners.
To accomplish my goals in time for Thanksgiving, I have the following objectives:
1. Find the perfect recipe among the collection of recipes that my Grandmother saved.
2. Find the freshest, healthiest, best tasting apples at local farmers market.
4. Bake the pies
5. Ship the pies to family members that are out of state and who will not be able to make it the family dinner.
Now let’s assume, I bake the pies and sent them to family members that lived in three other states. Let’s also assume that they shared the pies with their guests and the pies were a big hit. I end up receiving a dozens of request for pies for Christmas dinner and New Years Day dinner. My vision changes. I start dreaming about owning a commercial kitchen and selling my healthy pies using my grandmother’s best recipes all over the world. My mission has increased in size so I will want to create a formal business plan so I can see if this could be a viable business opportunity to pursue.
Tips for preparing a written business plan
Once you have a firm grasp on your business’s mission, goals and objectives, you may want to take the next step and prepare a business plan. If I could only give you three tips for preparing a business plan, they would the following:
1. Clearly understand your business mission, goals and objectives. It is very difficult to create a workable business plan when you are not sure what you want to accomplish. However, this is not meant to suggest that your mission, goals and objectives will not evolve the more you work on a business plan and get to know your customers.
2. Utilize the free resources provided by the Small Business Association (SBA). The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) who works in conjunction with the Small Business Administration (SBA) has offices and branches in cities and communities througout the United States. SCORE is another outstanding resource for small businesses. SCORE , which is another resource partner of the SBA, is a network of expert volunteer business mentors that provide free mentoring and education.
3. Do not recreate the wheel. Consider using a free template for your business if one is available. The SBDC website has a list of free business plan templates for a large variety of businesses. The business types are arranged alphabetically.
It is vital for your company to have a mission statement. The mission statement will remind you, the business owner, the reason that your company exists. It will allow you to focus.
Setting and pursuing business goals and objectives will help your business have the best chance of becoming successful. Of course, that assumes that your businesses mission is serving a need that people are willing to have fulfilled. In the case of a charitable, non-profit type of organization, the organization must be serving a need that people are willing to donate to so that the need can be fulfilled.
Do you have any thoughts that you would like to add that might help other business owners determine how much time they should be spending on developing their mission statement, business goals and objectives. If so, please feel free to comment below.