Without a clear understanding of the difference between a business mission and business objectives, it is nearly impossible to achieve a consistent focus upon each. Although you may very well be capable of continuing business without such an understanding, it will be a more cumbersome task to think clearly about how you go about conducting it. A business strategy for not only growth, but continued operation, all but requires a sound business mission supported by business objectives.
Your business mission should state, in clear language, what it is your business aims to achieve. The business mission should state what your business does, why your business is doing what it does and, perhaps most importantly, what it is about how or what your business does that is important. An adequate business mission will not leave any aspect of what your business does to assumption. It is not sufficient to assume that potential customers and needed vendors or suppliers will be able to make the leap to understand your range of operation if you have not taken the time to clearly understand it and articulate it yourself. Business missions are utilized both internally and externally.
For example, if your business designs, manufactures and markets tomato harvesting equipment but your business mission simply states that you manufacture farm equipment your business mission doesn't clearly and accurately define what you are in the business of doing. Yes, you manufacture farm equipment however you manufacture a very specific type of farm equipment and customers in the market for tomato harvesting equipment aren't necessarily targeted within your business mission.
Pitfalls in Creating a Business Mission
Do not confuse vision with mission. Although a clear vision is needed for an effective business, it is not the same thing as a business mission. A vision statement will clearly define where the company is going, what they hope to achieve and may include areas of growth that are attractive. It is wholly separate from defining what it is you are doing today. A vision defines a desired future and serves as a guide to everyone involved in getting your business there.
Your business objectives are the means by which you are going to achieve your business mission. Specifically, you are not only going to produce a product, but you going to design it and then market it after production, and know what objectives need to be achieved to facilitate the entire range of that operation. Business objectives are primarily utilized internally. Your business objectives should be oriented around achieving results in both the short term and long term. And they should be clearly stated and relate to everyone involved in your business including employees and investors.
For example, if your business designs, manufactures and markets tomato harvesting equipment but your business objectives only address the design phase, marketing and sales will not flourish because there is no strategy or objective addressing those other portions of your business.
Communication of Business Mission and Business Objectives
A business mission will often be found in its entirety on a company website, stockholder reports, brochures; portions of it are often included in advertisements or even on business cards. Business objectives, being primarily internal in nature, will be found on annual reports forecasting future growth or as line items in a stockholder meeting or simply on motivational bulletin boards.