“In an era when change happens fast and creates new normals regularly, being able to lead and create with purpose rather than with mere authority is key to adapting and thriving. It is a way of understanding how business can positively affect the lives of individuals and societies, which is the paradigm of the transformative economy. This is important because, unlike human beings, organizations must constantly justify their existence in order to remain.” – Benoît Heilbrunn
Often when I ask people why they chose to go into business, they’ll say because they wanted to have more time for their family or they wanted to make a living doing what they love, and so on. Those are great ideas, however, I want to remind you that business is not easy. You need a lot of resilience and you need to have continuous motivation. That is where vision and mission come in.
What is the Difference Between a Vision and a Mission
Now, you might ask: “What is the difference?”
Your vision is about where you want your business to go: how big it's going to be, how much money it's going to make, and what is the pathway to get there? But what is often lacking is the mission.
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The mission is really what ultimately drives you. If you don't have a mission, it's not only difficult for other people to believe in your business, but it's also difficult for yourself to stay motivated at times. For example, my mission actually has nothing to do with my business or with people. My mission is based on animals. I am very passionate about anti-poaching initiatives. Illegal hunting of mainly elephants, but it could also be any other animals that are hunted down and who are close to extinction, for trophy hunters. In my opinion, money is neutral, it really depends on who the steward of that money is. So I want to be a steward of money to do good in the world by fighting money with money in a way. I want to make profits, huge profits, so that I can invest those in anti-poaching initiatives. That is my mission. So, if I have a period where things don't go exactly my way, which happens, then I always have this to get back to. This is more important than my little nervous breakdown because Plan A didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to. And that resilience is something that will come with time, with maturity, and when you learn to put your ego aside sometimes.
Can Your Mission be Too Big
The answer to this is – it really depends on what your mission is based on. Is it based on your own beliefs and your own deep values? Or did you pick it up somewhere else?
Your idea of success, how you define success could be something that you inherited from your parents or from your society; but it could also be something that you picked up in the market, in the digital coaching world in particular where you have people talking about multiple seven figures income. And the truth is, not everyone needs seven figures. And what often happens is that that belief is actually not your core motivation and it’s not that meaningful in the end.
For example, you can get financial freedom and time for your family with multiple six figures, you wouldn't need seven figures for that. So, there needs to be something more there.
Also, another thing that comes with it is the timeframe. If you have an unrealistic goal, a purely financial goal with an unrealistic timeline that is just not going to happen, because it takes momentum and momentum takes time, then your mission is too big and it can lead to more frustration than anything else. However, if it's based on value, meaning something important to you, something near and dear to your heart, then it cannot be too big. Maybe you want to support a certain community, maybe you want to support education globally, maybe you want to support civil rights of a certain group of people; whatever it is, if it’s something that's deeply important to you, then I would say no, your vision cannot be too big, because it's going to drive you it's going to motivate you.
Can Your Mission Be Too Small
Now let's look at the other side – can a vision be too small? I would say absolutely, yes. A lot of people have a vision that is way too limited and too small. Running a business only because you want to be financially free and because you want to have more time for your family, it's most likely not going to be enough to really keep you at the game of this.
This is going to make it more difficult for you to think on a larger scale. Now, this doesn't mean that I want you to think in the mode of a startup that wants to get a really high evaluation and sell, but if you really truly want to become seriously financially independent, you will need to scale to some extent, because there's only that many hours in a day. Even if you're very good at what you do, and you sell high ticket, you still need to have that anchor in the future somehow.
Now, the other thing is, I don't want you to confuse small with simple. You can have a highly lucrative business that is super simple. It doesn't mean that you need to have 100 employees offices all over the world, not at all. My specialty is actually to build simple businesses where as much as possible is automated and streamlined. Being able to do that requires leadership, it requires CEO thinking. That is what can help you to build a simple yet really powerful business that will ultimately help you to make a true impact.
Does Your Mission Make Sense
Now the next question that I would throw out there is: does your mission make sense, is it actually aligned with what you do? For example, the fact that my ultimate mission has to do with poaching doesn't mean that I have to work with animals. However, when I do think about my marketing collaborations, it's very clear that I will not be officially collaborating with companies that have done animal experiments or have been involved in poaching to some extent. So, when I make my decisions from a company point of view, I would be very mindful of those things. When you stand for your values as a company, that’s really going to guide you in your marketing decision.
Another thing you need to consider is doing an audit of your company in order to see if you can actually get there. The only way that you can really make an impact is by having a big profit margin so that you can use parts of your profits (not revenue) to make that impact. In order to do that, you need to know how much revenue you actually need to make in order to have profit, which means to have to know your business expenses and what marketing efforts are actually valid and are actually working out for you. And then from there, you can design your strategy to build a higher revenue, hence a high-profit margin. So, you can create a roadmap based on your mission.
What Your Road Map Could Look Like?
Any business that is built to make a big impact, to have a high-profit margin, is built on automation and a clear structure with standard operating procedures and very clear key performance indicators for the people who work there. Now, those don't need to be employees, they can be freelancers, but using technology to outsource or automate as much as possible, is a huge key.
You’re the CEO, you're there to keep track of that path, that roadmap to its division. It's not your job to go into the nitty gritty. So what can you automate? Where do you need to hire people? Where do you have people that don't get to those key performance indicators and that you have to fire? Being objective and answering these questions will help you get to that next level.
If you are someone who wants to make an impact and leave a legacy, but at the moment, you can’t see that happening with your business, I highly recommend that you get in touch. First, have a look at my free training, where I walk you through how you can audit your business, and then you can get in touch with me and I can actually do an audit of your business. It's at a very affordable cost and I go in, do a quick audit of your business, and then we go from there.
You can subscribe to the Christine Means Business podcast here and leave us a review as well! We would love to hear from you.