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Vision, Mission, Values – How relevant are they for Startups and MSMEs?

Most entrepreneurs get into a business for a deeper purpose apart from the standard stuff like money, freedom, liking etc. Generally, we tend to call it an entrepreneur’s passion.

This passion makes the entrepreneur work, slog, invest, suffer and still stay put and eventually build a business.

But ‘Vision’, ‘Mission’ and ‘Values’ are larger than the entrepreneur’s personal passion. Entrepreneur’s passion can be the reason for the startup’s existence. Perhaps it may lead to a certain amount of growth as well. But it cant make the company turn into an enterprise.

That is where vision and mission come in. Together they define the long term ‘purpose’ of the enterprise. Vision is a long term ongoing journey whereas Mission is typically is a short term goal or milestone in that journey.

The key question is does everyone in the enterprise understand the company’s vision and mission? Do all your customers understand the same? Does it make everyone feel good about working with you?

Another thing about these vision and mission statements is that they are not just meant to be put in an exotic frame on a wall. It is important to feel and internalise them.

Everything that the company does must take it one step towards fulfilling its long term vision. Everything that the employees do inside and outside the office must be based on the core values that define the company.

These values are the ones that set companies apart. Else there are hundreds of companies manufacturing cars, real estate, consumer goods, and everything else. The vision, mission and values of companies are the core underlying principles for their brand definition, differentiation, culture and even business strategy.

So how do you get these vision and mission statements right? It is very simple. You don’t need flowering language for it. All you need is honesty. There is nothing more powerful than honesty.

You may have a passion, but all passions are not great for building businesses. You may have your own drives and motivations. They are not good enough for driving a startup strategy.

This is something far simpler. It lies in the most ignored and therefore disregarded fundamental human need. The basic human needs are NOT food and shelter. Those are animal instinct wants. The thing that sets humans apart from other species is this fundamental need of helping others.

Do you remember the last time when you helped someone cross the road, or fill up a form or heave a load or anything, however insignificant it may have been? Do you remember how you felt after that? That feeling is happiness. We live to be happy.

Helping others makes us happy.

Just think about your business. What is that element in your business or your startup that helps people? What is the problem you are solving for them? Just make that your mission.

Think a little long term. If you stick to this mission of yours, what difference will it make to the world? Envision that world. That becomes your vision statement.

It is so simple.

Once you get that right and align your activities to your vision and mission, employees will start loving the company. Customers will want to buy from you. Investors will want to fund you.

Can life be more beautiful for an entrepreneur?

– DB Prabhu – Author, Entrepreneur, Alumnus of IIM Bangalore, Gold Medalist for Innovation in environment centric business, named among the global top 50 thought leaders in startups, Founder of Respose Waste Management and Research Pvt Ltd (

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