Mission Invaluable

Good morning, Mr. (or Ms.) Proprietor. Your business, Wonder Widget, has just celebrated its first birthday. Intelligence reports indicate the presence of a positive bottom line. However, some ominous occurrences signal trouble ahead.

Mission Statement

Productivity has begun to slip. Your employees are becoming complacent and susceptible to surfing the net and texting their friends. Your competitors have gained ground on you and kidnapped some of your customers.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to craft a business mission statement that will fire up the troops and focus their work, catapult Wonder Widget over its competitors and capture new customers. As always, should you or any of your team members be conflicted or confused, your office manager will figure it out for you. Good luck!

You’ve probably heard or read about the importance of having a mission statement for your business, but the idea of actually creating one seems like mission impossible. Developing a mission statement can be a challenge, but it can also be an invaluable experience for you and your employees.

A mission statement is a concise written declaration of your business’s main purpose and goals. It can be as short as a sentence. It should be no longer than a paragraph.

The chief purpose of a mission statement is to guide people when they make critical decisions that effect the direction of your business. A carefully constructed mission statement can also become an instrument that drives your enterprise, determines employee behaviors, draws customers and distinguishes your operation from your competitors. More than a mere marketing slogan, your mission statement is the linchpin that holds the wheels on your organization’s wagon.

Here are some basic steps for constructing your business mission statement:

1. Involve everyone in the process. This can be a unifying and enlightening experience for your entire team. If you want your employees to understand and adhere to the mission, make sure they participate in defining it.

2. Identify the central theme of your business’s products or services. For example, Disney’s mission is: “To make people happy.” The central theme of “happiness” influences every aspect of Disney’s theme parks, from entertaining attractions to friendly and helpful workers to a clean and safe environment. A Disney employee is encouraged to always think, “How can I make this guest happy?”

3. Define what you do and why you do it. Focus on the key attributes of your product or service and how they relate to your central theme. What benefits do you provide to your customers? What is the organization’s main target?

4. Identify your target market. Even if your customers come from all walks of life, they have common needs they want you to fulfill. Think beyond the things you sell to the essential expectations behind customers’ purchases.

5. Determine what makes your company unique from your competitors. What is it about your quality, selection, pricing, delivery and service that sets your business apart from its competitors? Why should it be the first choice for your customers?

6. Consider your business’s values. What is it about your products or services that makes you and your employees proud? What are the standards that you seek to uphold?

7. Take the time to do it right. Brainstorm, review and rewrite your mission statement until everyone is satisfied. Both you and your employees should agree that the mission statement is on the money.

Once you have crafted your mission statement, run it by some customers and see if they agree with it. It’s pointless to create a lofty mission statement that sounds nice but nobody really believes. Make it real, direct and powerful.

Remember, a mission statement doesn’t have to be long to be effective. Here are a couple of examples of short and sweet mission statements:

Boeing  – To push the leading edge of aviation, taking huge challenges doing what others cannot do.

3M  – To solve unsolved problems innovatively.

Ford Motor Company – We are a global family with a proud heritage passionately committed to providing personal mobility for people around the world.

Twitter  – Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

McDonald’s  – McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.

Pizza Hut  – We take pride in making a perfect pizza and providing courteous and helpful service on time, all the time. Every customer says, “I’ll be back!

Starbucks  – To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Southwest Airlines  – To provide the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.

Naturally, you would expect this blog to have a mission statement. So here it is:

Christian Family Business Center CFBC is the leading online provider of practical, innovative and inspiring information for small businesses and a community hub for business owners who want to exchange ideas, share experiences and find fellowship with business leaders from all over the world.

If huge corporations don’t need lengthy and grandiose mission statements to get their point across, neither do you. Remember, this should be a statement of guiding principles that anyone can understand and relate to.

So what do you do with your carefully conceived mission statement once it’s born? File it with other company documents that never again see the light of day? Haul it out at the annual employee Christmas party and wave it around like a sacred talisman? No, make it the centerpiece of your communication with everyone who has an interest in your enterprise.

Your mission statement should be front and center in your employee handbook and other management documents. It should find a place on the wall in your reception area. It should figure into your marketing message and public relations kits.

Ultimately, the business mission statement is a tool for your employees to utilize whenever they are faced with a tough decision. They can simply ask themselves, “Is what I’m doing or about to do going to help us achieve our mission?” That’s when the endeavor to create a business mission statement will prove to have been “Mission Invaluable.”