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Many startups and small businesses create mission and vision statements as part of their business plan.   Through these statements, entrepreneurs endeavor to create an overriding purpose for their business.  They attempt to go beyond the “what business are you in question?” by crafting a few sentences that will define the company’s direction in the future.

Have you ever asked anyone what they were doing, and received an answer that described the end result of their current actions?  For instance, if you asked a gardener who was digging holes with a shovel what she was doing, she might reply “I am planting flowers.”  Or, if you asked a home owner who was painting the bedroom walls what he was doing, he might answer “I am decorating the room.”

Why didn’t the gardener say “I am digging holes” or the homeowner say “I am painting the walls.”  Instead of telling you the obvious, these individuals described to you the final outcome of their current actions, or their mission.  Similarly, as you describe your small business, don’t tell people what your current actions are, tell them what final outcome will be.

In order for your company to be successful, you must understand what business you are in.  Start with the end result, and work backwards.  Define your mission statement, then create the goals and objectives that will help you to accomplish your mission.  For instance, if your mission is to plant flowers, then you must dig holes first.  If your vision is a beautiful landscape, then you must dig holes and then plant flowers.

Once you have a mission, with corresponding goals and objectives, readers of your business plan will want to know how you will be successful in your chosen industry.  They want to know whether you are trying to dig holes in concrete, or moist topsoil.