Customer behavior is subject to constant change, and that’s one reason why marketers are in such high demand. There is, however, a universal truth when it comes to purchase decisions. The best elaboration I’ve seen is in this video featuring Simon Sinek.
In short, he explains that people don’t really buy your product or service, but why you made it in the first place. I'm oversimplifying, of course, but the takeaway is that when you start a business, it’s essential to take the time to create the best vision and mission statement.
A vision statement indicates where a business aims to go, while the mission statement explains the why.
These are both important because they act as a base for all future decisions you make about your online course business, and they tell the story your potential course buyers need to hear to decide whether to purchase or not. So here are four great tips oh how to create your vision and mission statements:
1. Know your strengths
If you are on the brink of launching (or re-branding) your e-learning business, your main asset should be your expertise and love for learning. Those may be enough to gather a group of enthusiastic people interested in your courses, but you need more to grow a business.
Being an entrepreneur means that you can get personal and share your own values and hopes in your work. Authenticity is in high demand these days, so you need to present yourself as you are (in the best possible light, of course) and allow your audience to know you.
If your potential customers feel that you are genuine and what you are all about matches their own views and expectations, you are on the right track. It’s good to take the time to do a little research and see what is most appealing about your presentation so you can build on that.
2. Purpose is everything
Why did you start an e-learning business in the first place? Why not a bakery, a flower shop, or an online retail store? What exactly about your work will improve people’s lives, job performances, how they feel about themselves, and how they handle complex situations?
Finding a meaningful "why" to your endeavor is paramount in getting people to buy the concept before buying your products. Your personal values are also big selling points, but you need to state ones that are true and close to your heart; otherwise, it will be difficult to build a business that lives by them.
Contrary to popular opinion, decision making is not 100% rational. Our emotions also play a part in our choices – even if later we find elaborate rationalizations about how we feel. It is crucial to get your customers to trust you, to make them experience positive emotions.
3. Figure out your business goals
It’s important to be aware of what success means to you. Thinking long-term rather than focusing on getting things started will provide a clearer big picture of the direction you want to take and your desired destination.
Of course, your objectives should be both ambitious and attainable. If you are only starting out, they may have to do more with brand awareness and reputation than sales numbers.
Since your business is all about e-learning, a good social media presence is not only recommended but required, so you may need to set objectives in that area.
Whatever you choose to aim for, you should set goals after thorough consideration and analysis of the market, the competition, and how you fit in this larger scheme.
Once you zero in on what you want to accomplish, deadlines, and how you will measure it, you are ready to put together your vision and mission statement.
4. On to the writing
Your vision and mission statement is meant for you, the people you collaborate with, and your potential and existing customers. It should be short enough to be easily remembered (at least in broad lines) and use clear and impactful language.
You might want to try for some characteristics: uniqueness, specificity, and inspiration (meaning both that it should be inspired and inspire others). It’s a tall order for sure, but if you nail this, you are already on the way to greatness.
To find some inspiration for your own wonderfully original and memorable mission statement, here a few examples that stand out today:
- “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.*If you have a body, you are an athlete.” - Nike;
- “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” – LinkedIn;
- “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” – Tesla;
- “The advancement of learning by teaching and research and its dissemination by every means.” – Oxford University;
- “Spread ideas.”- TED;
- “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”- Patagonia.
All in all
Even if it’s a handful of words, your e-learning business’s mission statement is reflective of your vision and, therefore, of great importance for your brand. You need to craft it carefully for the best impact and make sure all your actions are congruent with it – show that you truly walk the talk.