Some argue that a mission statement for a small business is a waste of time; I disagree.
I believe the mission statement can provide great value to any size business, provided it is written in a way that makes it useful and applicable.
So, do you have a mission statement for your business, your practice?
If your answer is yes, congratulations. But if your answer is no, why don’t you have one?
Is it because you’re thinking:
- You don’t need a mission statement for a clinic.
- Your business is too small to benefit from formalities.
- Only big companies have mission statements.
- A mission statement would be “overkill.”
So what is a mission statement and why do companies use them?
What Is It?
www.Investopedia.com defines a mission statement as a brief, succinct statement created by a company to declare its purpose for existing, its reason for being.
But wait, how is that different from a vision statement?
While there may be some overlap, the two statements are different, and each has a unique flavor.
The mission statement focuses on what a business does in the short term, what it’s doing now. It declares what the company is all about, what the goals are, and how the company plans to achieve them.
But the vision statement provides a view of the future. It gives more of a 40,000-foot overview. It provides the company with a vision for the future.
The focus is on where the business wants to go in the future; where it wants to be one, two, or more years down the road.
What Are The Benefits?
So what are the benefits of creating a mission statement for your business? Why should you bother? And what will you gain from spending the time to develop one?
There are a number of reasons for creating a mission statement for your business, your practice. However, I believe the following three are the most important reasons, providing with the greatest benefits.
When you take the time to develop a mission statement for your business, you get clear, really clear about your objectives.
There won’t be any doubt in your mind what your business is all about, what you want to achieve, and how you plan to get there. And you’ll be perfectly clear about what your business will and will not do; you’ll have the same level of clarity you need when drawing a line in the sand.
Once you have a clear mission statement, it provides you with the focus you need to carry out your objectives.
It is focus that keeps on track and allows you to finish the race. If you lack focus, it’s all too easy to be taken off course by endless demands and new, shiny objects.
A clear mission statement gives your business overall and strategic direction. It serves as the guiding light for your business and organization. It keeps you moving forward without losing focus of your objectives.
Now, do you still think you don’t need a mission statement for your practice? Do you still think it would be “overkill?
I hope by now you can see how all businesses, no matter big or small, could benefit from a clear and concise mission statement.
After all, who couldn’t use a bit more clarity, focus, and direction in their business?
But this brings up another question.
Is It Useful?
Not all mission statements are created equal. Not all are written in a way that makes them useful and applicable to day to day business life.
So what constitutes a good mission statement, one that gets read and put to use?
To help me find the answer, I took a look at two examples of real-life mission statements.
The first example is the mission statement for FedEx. It’s a direct quote of their mission statement; you can find it on the company website.
Here it goes…
“FedEx Corporation will produce superior financial returns for its shareowners by providing high value-added logistics, transportation and related business services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served.
FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its team members, partners and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.”
It’s a mouthful…
So here is my second example.
It’s the mission statement for Mary Kay cosmetics. To get more detail, click here.
The core mission statement for the company reads:
“Mary Kay’s Mission Is To Enrich Women’s Lives”
It is followed by telling how it will be accomplished. It reads as follows:
“We will do this in tangible ways, by offering quality products to consumers, financial opportunities to our independent sales force, and fulfilling careers to our employees.
We will also reach out to the heart and spirit of women, enabling personal growth and fulfillment for the women whose lives we touch.
We will carry out our mission in a spirit of caring, living the positive values on which our Company was built.”
So what do you think?
Which of the two mission statements brings more clarity to the table? Which of the two is more effective in telling what the business is all about?
There is a clear winner…
Mary Kay’s mission statement, while written in simple language, effectively communicates what the company is all about. Customers and employees understand at once what the company is trying to accomplish.
The statement is easy to read and understand; the core mission expressed in eight simple works. I like that!
So here is the lesson.
Don’t over complicate your mission statement; keep it simple. Create a mission statement for your business that is clear and simple to understand and easy to follow.
Create your mission statement so it will serve as the guiding light for your business.
That’s it for today.
Let us know what you think. Leave your comments below, because we’d love to hear your feedback.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog.