The Difference Between A Vision and Mission

12 February 2015


Vision Mission PlanningOften I am asked to explain the difference between a vision and a mission to my clients. There are management teams who have gone to the trouble to develop these statements and wonder why. Some do not understand them and often confuse the two. Quite a few times, I’ve been on the receiving end of “it’s not as if having a mission statement is going to make me and my staff go out and sell any more widgets”.  And these clients may have a point.  Are they really important?

The short answer is, yes. Having a mission and a vision are the two core components of any strategy plan. Without knowing where your business stands right now, without having a clear picture of where you want it to go, how can you plan out the tasks and activities required to get you there?

iStock_000008798782Small1.  Mission – It’s  About the Here and Now
A good mission statement serves as an ongoing guide that spells out what the company is all about. What does your business actually do? Many companies find it difficult to express what they do. It’s so complex. They  have difficulty in communicating it in a few lines?

A mission statement should answer the following questions in relation to your company:

1) WHAT it does;
2) WHO it does it for; and
3) HOW it does what it does.

And that is critical, not only for company directors and owners, but also for your staff. They are your ambassadors. And one thing’s for sure, if you can’t articulate what your company is about, they certainly won’t be able to.

InnocentI love Innocent’s mission. Why do I love it? Because there’s no jargon. It’s simple, straightforward and honest. It states what they do, who they do it for and how they do it. More importantly, it tells the truth.

2.  Vision – It’s About the Future 

A vision outlines the goals and aspirations for the future of a company. Written in the right way, it can be a source of inspiration. Amazon’s vision is such an example. It contains truth, simplicity and direction:

Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”.

Having a mission and vision for your company is a very valuable thing. These statements form the cornerstone of any long term plan for your company’s future.  Your vision identifies an end state of where you want your company to be. The mission will tell you where you stand now. Together they should enable you to understand what is required to get you from one point to the other – in other words what are the gaps?


3.  Or Just a Paper Exercise?

So yes, they are important. But it’s quite obvious that, alone, a Mission and Vision statement will get you nowhere. Without developing a set of coherent plans and actions alongside them, they will simply stand in isolation with no real meaning. They will just be another paper exercise.

Jean Talbot is a Business Coach and Adviser to Directors and management teams of small companies. She specializes in planning, process improvement and managing change for SMEs. If you are struggling with strategy, visions and missions and want to learn how to use them to grow and improve your business, call 07795810639 or email 

Athletes use Coaches. Why Wouldn’t You ?

2 February 2015


Often, we can be taken aback when a successful businessperson admits to having had a business coach or mentor to support and guide them. This contradicts our usual assumption that they did it alone. Successful athletes use coaches to underpin and ensure success. Building a business requires the same energy, focus and attention.


Do we admire Andy Murray any less because he had a coach to help him become one of the world’s best tennis players?  I think not. We can see that Andy concentrates on his sport just as a business owner applies him/herself to building a successful company. If you have a talent for something, you do what you can to nurture it. You find the best support you can. You’ll invest endless amounts of time, energy and money into becoming the best at what you do.

Murray has been supported by some of the world’s best tennis coaches – Miles Maclagan, Brad Gilbert, Ivan Lendl, to name a few.

Is his coach Mauresmo really helping him?

Despite his insistence that last year’s move to his female coach, Mauresmo, was the best choice for him, after his meltdown yesterday during the Australian Open final against Djokovic, today he may be regretting his choice.  Or he may be reminding himself that he is now at a different stage in his career and arguably still needs something different that Lendl just could not provide.

A long or short-term relationship?

The relationship between you and your business or sports coach is entirely dependent on the stage you and your company are at. While there is a time your coach’s experience is relevant and useful, there will always come a time when your requirements change.  Your relationship between coach and client should always ensure that you elicit something new and fresh from the relationship.

Business Coaching is on the rise

It is promising to see that business coaching is increasing in the UK. In fact 20% of SMEs are now using business coaching as part of their growth strategy.  In one international study, 79% of medium and large businesses in the United Kingdom reported using coaching of some type to support their high growth ambitions.

Choosing the Right Coach

Engaging the right coach is key to ensuring success. Your coach must be someone who has a good understanding of your business or sport, ideally with experience in your sector. Most importantly, they must be someone whom you can trust. Trust is key to enabling you to confide very personal information about you and your business to your chosen coach.

Jean Talbot is a Business Coach and Adviser to Directors and management teams of small companies. Jean specialises in planning, process improvement and managing change for SMEs. If you are struggling to determine how to grow and improve your business, call on 07795810639 or email  Let’s see if we can work together to determine your direction and ensure you are succeeding in your business. 



Business Coaching: The Benefits

15 January 2015

Business coaching is on the increase. It is viewed as a cost-effective means of driving enhanced performance. The benefits of business coaching are substantial with 79% of medium and large businesses in the United Kingdom reported as using coaching of some type to support their high growth ambitions.


In my last post New Year, New Start, New Plan, I suggested that setting goals and making a plan for the year ahead was good practice. Research shows that it is two times more likely to happen.

However, there are times when a business can simply become stuck and it takes more than producing a plan or setting a new goal for it to become unstuck. Sometimes, we need a different kind of help. A Business Coach can offer a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ that brings a new perspective to any situation. Especially, when we believe that we have exhausted all the options.

How Can a Business Coach Help?

Coffee Cup

  1. one-to-one coaching sessions can help you to give time to solving the problem that hitherto you have avoided because you are too busy to allocate the time to sort it out.
  2. Coaching helps you to reflect on your own behaviour, learn and grow from it. However, you will only benefit if you have a desire to change behaviour and be willing to take some personal responsibility.
  3. A good coach will ask the awkward questions so all the possibilities are explored in order achieve clarity on how to take the business forward. They will offer an independent review of your business, working with you to establish a business plan for improvement and change.
  4. A coach does not judge but offers an impartial ear enabling you to share your fears, doubts and aspirations with someone who has formerly been in the same position. Being able to confide in someone outside of your business has enormous benefits.

How to Choose a Business Coach

When engaging a business coach, you should ensure that it is someone who has a good understanding of your business, ideally with experience in your sector, and someone whom you feel you can trust. The latter is particularly important because you should be able to confide in your coach, the good and bad things about yourself, your business and you in the business.

Funding for a Business Coach

In the UK, the Government is investing £180m in identifying companies with high growth potential. GrowAccelerator assigns a business coach into the business, to work alongside the Directors and Management Team. The Programme is run via the Business Growth Service.

After more 2 years in operation, the Programme shows that of the 18,000 businesses being supported, 93% agree that it has helped them achieve their goals. Even more importantly, those businesses are currently growing 4x times faster than the average SME.

Although it is problematic to try to quantify the beneficial effect that coaching has on the bottom line, research demonstrates that a number of indirect benefits can be realised, leading to improved engagement, better performance, greater efficiency and effectiveness and, ultimately, enhanced business results.  It’s a new year. Why not think about the reasons why engaging the right coach, can help you, your management team and your business, to grow and improve your business.

Jean Talbot is a Business Coach operating from Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She specialises in long-term change and strategy planning, as well as process improvement SMEs. If you are struggling to shape where you want your business to be next year, contact me on 07795810639 or at I can help you be focused on growing and improving your business.