Sound like very simple questions? Perhaps in the back of your brain you know the answers. Getting them onto paper is a different matter.
Running a design studio involves hundreds of day-to-day decisions. Some of them are important: 'Will I have a cappuccino on my way to work?' And some of them are more profound: 'Will I take that $1m project in Brisbane and open an office, or relocate the business?' You will always be able to answer the first questions. If you haven't defined your mission you definitely can't answer the last.
These statements are the basis for all your major decisions. A decision to take on a large project needs to be viewed against your mission and vision statements. If the work is outside your stated mission and vision then you probably shouldn't take the project.
Your vision, mission and values give you a focus. It's the start for determining your target market, the service you will offer them, and where you will offer it. This gives you boundaries that you will place on your business, and allow you to concentrate within those boundaries.
After you have written your statements the construction of a business model is a bit like using building blocks. You have a broad category for your target market so that you can begin to build a database and an approach that will win business in that market. You have defined what it is you do so you can then analyse your strengths, weaknesses and threats.
Use your mission statement to assess those companies you want to work with - ask yourself if they will help you meet your mission and vision, and do they match your values. Similarly, use it to work out which other companies or individuals you want to form strategic relationships with.
In the corporate world, clients look favourably at those business that have a mission and vision because it demonstrates that they can walk the walk and talk the talk.
The business of design shows you how to develop Vision, Mission and Values statements that can be extended into a marketing strategy for your studio.