ADOPTING A PURPOSE AND MISSION STATEMENT
WHY SHOULD YOUR SMALL BUSINESS ADOPT A PURPOSE AND MISSION STATEMENT, and maybe even a VISION STATEMENT?
Developing a well thought-out and principled ‘Purpose and Mission Statement’ is one of the most important foundational tasks a business owner can perform. Unfortunately, many companies simply create them because it’s the “thing” to do, or to use them as a marketing ploy to place on a plaque in the lobby. However, when viewed as a list of CORE or GUIDING PRINCIPLES, they will provide incredible depth and direction for your small business.
First, let’s clear up any confusion about the difference between these three documents:
- PURPOSE STATEMENT: Why has your organization decided to make a difference in the marketplace? What’s your ultimate goal? Why do you exist?
- MISSION STATEMENT: This is the path you’re going to follow to achieve your purpose. It will be the basis of your decisions and will ultimately determine if you are successful in achieving your goals. Another way to consider a Mission Statement is to view it as your key list of core or guiding principles. It’s your opportunity to clearly define your company’s goals, ethics, and culture.
- VISION STATEMENT: This is basically what you expect to find when you’ve completed your Mission. What does the end result look like? Of the three statements, this one is the most esoteric and difficult to quantify or qualify. Although some are very well written, a brief Google search will show that, in many cases, it consists of a lot non-meaning “fluff.” As such, I’m going to focus this blog on the Purpose and Mission Statements. If you’re interested in learning more about creating a Vision Statement, a good article is located at http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3882-vision-statement.html.
WHAT ARE THE REAL BENEFITS TO A POLICY AND MISSION STATEMENT?
There are a lot of solid business reasons to put thought and effort into developing functional and realistic Purpose and Mission Statements:
- STRATEGIC PLANNNING: If honestly thought out and implemented, they become the basis for most of the business decisions you’ll make, as well as a compass to determine if you’re on the right path. Creating these documents make you actually stop and focus on the goals and processes of your business; a way to get you working ON your business rather than IN it.
- EMPLOYEE EVALUATIONS: When seriously implemented in a business, they can be a key point in the evaluation of employees. If employees know that this will be part of their performance appraisal, they’ll be motivated to review them periodically so they can stay focused on the principles that the company was founded on.
- PROVIDES A POINT OF BUSINESS EVALUATION: Every business has successes and failures as it moves beyond the start-up phase, and it’s easy to sway off-course. Periodic self-evaluations of adherence to these core principles can help in this navigation.
- PRINCIPLES NEVER CHANGE: There’s an old saying: “Policies and procedures will change with time and circumstance, but guiding principles should never change.” When Purpose and Vision statements are created with serious thought and reflection, they can provide the unchanging foundation that will survive the many changes and challenges your business will inevitably face.
HOW TO WRITE PURPOSE AND VISION STATEMENTS
There are many good ‘how-to’ guides on the internet, so I’ll simply provide some quick guidelines here:
- PURPOSE STATEMENT: Write down a summary of what it is that you want to accomplish in the marketplace. Keep it customer-centric – all about the benefits to those who will use your service. What perceived value will the customer receive, or define how their life will be better because of your business.
- MISSION STATEMENT: Again, keep this very customer-centric: It’s all about the customer and the principles you will be using to guide how they will receive your product or service.
- REVIEW, REVIEW, AND REVIEW SOME MORE: Don’t make this something on a To Do list that you’ll write and then check off. Let it percolate. Run it past your key stakeholders, employees, and maybe even some customers that you have a good rapport with. Re-read it and tweak it as necessary until you’re very sure that they encompass your core beliefs and principles. The point is to make these documents as real and authentic as possible rather than flowery phrases that really have no meaning.
- IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START: Even if you’ve been in business for a long time and never went through this exercise, put some time aside and give it some thought.
I hope I’ve been able to pass along the value of not only creating, but using these documents as a daily guide in your decision making. Click here if you’d like to see Daybreak’s Purpose and Mission Statements. In fact, we take them so seriously that we consider them to be our guarantee of service, and they have served us well.
Thank you for your time.