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New business owners want to forge the best path for their business. In doing so, they often set out on the strategic planning process. They seek to create mission statements, corporate values and culture. When you delve into this process, however, it can be difficult to separate the different aspects of the strategic plan and corporate philosophy. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between mission statements, values and culture.

Mission Statement

Simply put, your mission statement is a single statement that summarizes what your company aims to achieve and, possibly, how you hope to achieve it. Your mission statement should be specific and concise. Your mission statement should establish what sets your business apart from your competitors. A mission statement is a finite goal that you and your employees can use to inform decisions and actions related to your business. Ultimately, your mission statement should help cement how the work you and your employees do every day makes a difference for your customers.

Company Values

Your company values are the principles that you strive to uphold daily throughout your company. Your values should shape how you and your employees behave and treat one another and your customers. Values are more abstract that a mission statement. Your values should reflect how you want your company to operate internally and the image you want your company to project to the public.

Corporate culture

Put into action, your company’s mission statement and your company’s values become your corporate culture. Your company’s culture is the overall feeling of your company. It’s reflected in how you and your employees behave in the office and the relationships that they have with one another and with the company. Create an effective corporate culture means living your mission and your company values. That means you, as the company leader, demonstrates company values and takes the time to recognize and praise employees who do the same. The company mission also needs to be prominently displayed and emphasized so that all employees know the mission and understand the role they play in seeking that mission. While you do have to consciously work toward creating the corporate culture you desire for your company, it’s well worth the effort. Successful corporate culture results in employees who are happy at work, work diligently toward your company’s mission and help move the company forward.

When you are working to undergo the strategic planning process for your new business, it can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of elements to consider, and differentiating the elements of a strategic plan can be difficult. The time you put into understanding and creating a mission statement, company values and corporate culture will ultimately determine your company’s success.