When you typically enter a front door to any business, you would normally see right off the bat what that business’ main focal point is or what their mission statement is. Their primary reasons for business are usually placed in obvious spots so that new customers, employees and everyone else that enters can grasp a general concept of what that company values and believes in. Making a good mission statement is worth the effort because everyone notices it. I personally have seen some confusing and misleading mission statements that have just left me with more questions than the actual objectives of a company. And I have also seen some that are really generic and falls short of accurately describing the company’s purpose. Other ones are very powerful, straightforward and right down to the organization’s heart and soul like for example, the Navy’s mission statement which is, “To maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas (4).”
What exactly is a mission statement? A mission statement is a collaboration of words that successfully describes an organization’s purpose and its key target audience and/or customers. It should be authentic and reflect the organization’s core objectives and goals without any confusion when employees or stakeholders read it (3). It should present concise and substantial information that expresses the entire core of the organization. A strong, clear mission statement can take an organization a long way in production but a weak or condensed mission statement can bring negative impacts or outlooks about the organization itself. If this was looked at as a conversation this would be the opening line for your business and the words used cannot be taken back. It is the first impression and introduction of how serious that business is."Mission statements help clarify what business you are in, your goals and your objectives (5)," says Rhonda Abrams, author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies.
Why should your organization have a mission statement? Mission statements can provide focus and motivation that will take your business to the next level. It shows the direct values that drive your business. Mission statements are the pulling forces for capturing what your business is trying to achieve. It is the absolute reason why your business does what it does in the first place. It is the entire soul of the business (4). Mission statements provide the company with direction and helps with bringing in the right customers. It also shapes the internal corporate culture within the business itself. It allows all employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or associates to stay focused on the overall goal. It reminds them what they are doing, why are they doing it and who they are doing it for (5).
There are some very important and key factors to follow when considering your organization’s mission statement. Considering that it is an absolute direct reflection of your organization, it is apparent to hit all of the elements needed to justify your business. It would be wise to start by asking a few questions about your mission to all members of the business that they can answer. A good rule of thumb is to start, first by brainstorming what your specific mission statement should include. Such things that need to be addressed are who or what type of customers, the economic markets, the predicted future growth and profits, overall business’s philosophy, organization’s public imagery, major products or services, changing or adapting technology, self-concept, and most importantly the employees (book, 100). Each of these topics should have questions created and answered but should show forth to the final mission statement. Some questions that should be raised are who are the firm’s right customers going to be? Where does the firm compete geographically? What are the firm’s major products or services? What are some major competitive advantages over others? Some other questions that are specific in terms of values and beliefs are what do we do? For whom do we do it? How and why do we serve our clients the way we do? Why did we start this business (kine)? Everyone has different opinion on what the mission statement should state or sound like but it is important to gather the essential elements. That is why is it also important to sit down with other board members of the organization to brainstorm specifically what information is needed for the best mission statement.
After the brainstorming is done, set aside some time, a day or so, to focus on the actual writing and wording of the statement. Next, it would be a good idea to start choosing the best words to describe exactly what you want to say. Take some time to write down some rough draft mission statements and be prepared to change or alter it when brought forward to other peers from the organization. It should be kept relatively short, simple and to the point. It would be a good idea to use passionate or visual adjectives and verbs so that everyone can feel what you’re talking about or mean. This counts as an inspirational aspect toward the organization. It is also a good idea to keep the statement current, alive and well (pdf). Within a few succinct sentences, it should be able to capture the essence of the business’ goals and philosophies. It should signal to everyone what your business is all about (pdf).
A good example of a business mission statement is from Starbucks, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time (kin)” Here, I can really feel what they are talking about and I can agree with this statement about Starbucks. It lets me know that they are as serious about making a difference with one cup of coffee just as I am as serious as to buy from them. Another example is from Ebay, “To provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything (Kin).” I can also agree with this mission statement because this company is one of the most popular, top rated, online shopping markets in the world. And it is true they do provide a means to trade practically almost anything.
A bad example of a business mission statement would consist of the opposite of previously stated. Poorly written mission statements include things like generic phrases or random jargon that do not capture the distinctive competitive trait that company has over other companies. They confuse the vision with goals or objectives and describe the process not the outcome or just confuse the readers. Some are written in future tense instead of in a present tense with intent for future outcomes which can leave the idea that they are already successful. Others have weak introductions and do not capture the integrity of the purpose. And lastly some lack passion or emotion or speculate rather than plan. All of these things should be avoided and corrected upon notice. The impact of creating a mission statement like this is truly doing a disservice to that organization and everyone will be able to see through it.
Lastly, the time to reveal your organization’s mission statement has arrived. Mangers should start posting the phrases around the office or building and letting people know what your mission statement is. This is where you will see people’s reaction to it by either getting motivated by it or by leaving it behind. And hopefully if they get motivated with you, your business will flourish with new customers but most importantly the right customers for your business and others who are interested in seeing your future success. The mission statement is a representative of your organizational team and their devotion to service whether it is something that is innovated and fun or inspiring and challenging.

  • CreatedAugust 26, 2013
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