Many advisors are aware of the advantages of having a mission or vision statement for their businesses, says Mark Wardell, president of Wardell Professional Development Inc. in Vancouver. Yet few actually develop those documents and put them into practice.

While definitions can vary, Wardell defines a mission statement as a statement that expresses the purpose of your business. For example: “My business exists to provide financial peace of mind to my clients.”

A vision statement, on the other hand, is a set of goals for your business that answers the question, “Where am I headed?” For example, you could have the goal of being the most trusted resource for financial advice in your community.

A mission statement is static, Wardell says, while a vision statement can change over time.

Here are four reasons to create mission and vision statements and to put them into action for your business:

1. They provide your business with a clear direction
When you are stuck with difficult decisions, mission and vision statements can help make the choices easier.

The statements outline the focus of your business and how you plan to achieve your goals. They can act as guidelines or references for all decisions, big and small, related to the business, Wardell says.

For example, if you are trying to decide whether it’s worthwhile investing in a new product, to expand your business or to seek a new market, you can ask yourself how this move would tie in with your mission statement and your vision statement.

These statements can also help reduce stress, says Wardell, because they help you put difficult and unusual challenges into perspective.

2. They make your business stand out
Documented vision and mission statements show clients and prospective clients how you are different from other advisors.

“A mission and a vision [statement] let your uniqueness shine,” Wardell says.

In general, the public views financial advisors as a homogenous group, he says. Mission and visions statements demonstrate to prospective clients that your practice has direction and operates differently form other financial advisory teams.

3. They help you attract the right staff
Mission and vision statements can help you hire the best people for your business.

Knowing what you want for your practice means you can find new employees who are the best fit, says Wardell. Also, potential candidates will easily see and understand how you work with clients.

4. They can create an office culture
Mission and vision statements create a positive tone in your office by showing your team how your business is unique and that you care about more than the bottom line.

People become engaged and enthusiastic, Wardell says, when they know they are working toward a common goal.