“Drive the business, or it will drive thee” – Benjamin Franklin
1. What is a Mission Statement?
The mission statement is a short paragraph stating how your business is going to accomplish its vision. The shorter it is the more powerful and easy to remember it would be.
2. How is a Mission Statement different from a Vision Statement?
While the Vision Statement is focused on what you see the company becoming in the future, the Mission is the answering the question: “How do we accomplish the vision”. Your Vision statement might start off with the words “to be known as….” this is what you wish to be known for in the future – this is your vision, while the Mission statement might start off with :” Our Mission is to….”
It would be the driving force of your business. ‘If the mission is clear and strong, the business will weather the trials every business goes through during its first ten years. When a business gets big and it forgets its mission, or the mission it was created for is no longer needed, the business begins to die.’ These are the words of Robert Kiyosaki, in his book ‘Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing’, and we have several examples of Companies that have revolutionised their industry because of the Mission.
When Henry Ford said he wants to “Democratize the automobile.” This became the driving force of the company. Unfortunately too many business owners go into business simply to just make money, if that perspective doesn’t change over time, when challenging times come, they won’t have anything to call on.
3. The Secret Principle behind a Mission Statement
Again, the reason why I say the Vision principle is most important is because in it lies all the necessary secrets for significant success that can last hundreds of years. When a Mission Statement is crafted to explain in brief how the organisation is set out to accomplish a “Service” that would help the human race, in any area or field, it has found its “True north”.
Let me say (or write) this again, when a business organisation or any group of people that come together and are able to write out exactly what they aim to accomplish, and what has been written directly or indirectly has an impact on making this world a better place, then it has found its “True North”. And the secret behind this is because at the end of the day, we have been called to serve others, and a business that has a mission to serve others has a greater chance of surviving over a long period than one that is only set up to make money.
4. Benefits of Mission Statements
It crystallizes long-term direction
It reduces the risk or roundabout decision-making
It conveys organisational purpose and identity
It helps the organisation prepare for the future
5. Examples of Mission Statements
At the time of writing this post, General Electric has been in existence for over 130 years. Its founder Thomas Edison gives us great insight as to why this is so, in his own words he said; “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give to others”
From this statement alone, we see that the driving force was based on serving others.
Ford had been in existence in 1914, founded by Henry Ford, earlier in this post I quoted Henry saying that their desire was to “Democratise the automobile” he also went on to say; “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” Now is it any wonder why these two companies are still around today? They have lived on long after the founder and leaders have passed on because they discovered a “True North” principle, which is that “A Business is a systematic way of providing quality products or services that advances the interest of its clients”.
6. Questions to ask about your mission statement
Does your business reflect this focus on the end goal for the customer?
Do you have it written down?
Do you remind your staff that this is why we exist?
Do you encourage your staff to not forget the Mission?
7. How to Create a Mission Statement
We can go into this in a lot more depth, but below are a few questions you and your management team can discuss and reflect on, writing out your answers.
Who are you (as a business)?
What nature of business are you in?
Who are your customers?
What is your business committed to achieving?
What market would you be serving?
What makes you different from your competition?
Now write your first draft Mission Statement: