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Defining Your Business: Part One

The Mission Statement

A solid mission statement is a must-have for effective business planning.  It is your company’s declaration of purpose, and answers the age-old question, “Why do we exist?”  A successful mission statement will allow you to share your business aims and core values with your customers, employees, and the rest of the world.   

The Right Message

If your business already has a mission statement, ponder it very carefully.  Is it possible that it may be sending the wrong message?  Ask yourself the following:
  • Who can recite your mission statement by heart?
  • Who knows what your mission statement means?
  • Who uses it in the daily performance of his/her job?
  • Who is on the mission?
  • Are YOU on the mission?
Everyone (including you!) should play an active role in your business’s overall purpose.  For this to become a possibility, your mission statement must be crafted in a clear and meaningful manner – it is, after all, the very essence of your business philosophy.  Think of the various ways your message can be enhanced so that it speaks in terms of the customer, allowing your employees to execute it each and every time they interact with a client.   

Helpful Tips:

1. Avoid Platitudes

Examples:
We’re the best!
We’re the greatest!
We’re #1!
We’re the leader!

Cliché statements such as these lack both sincerity and purpose. Quite simply, they are all about the company, and tend to overlook a crucial figure at the center of any business’s success: the customer.

2. Identify a Purpose

Make a statement with an identifiable purpose that your employees can understand and deliver. Your mission statement will then become equally meaningful for your customers. Use the following prompting questions to get you started: Why are you in business? What are your aims? How are you different? Who are your customers? What are your values? What kind of image would you like your business to convey?

3. Brainstorm
 
Before you draft your official mission statement, schedule a brainstorming session with the individuals who will play a key role in the potential success of your business (e.g.  your employees, family members, and mentors). Don’t hesitate to analyze other companies’ mission statements to see what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, be sure to request input from everyone in your inner circle, as this will allow you to merge the best ideas.        
 
4.  Make it Work

Once you know what you want to say, it’s time to figure out how you want to say it. Put your mission statement together in a way that flows – both grammatically and conceptually. 
 
Remember: take your time and be inspiring! The more thoughtful your mission statement, the more likely your employees and customers will feel a sense of loyalty towards your business. Once complete, be sure to reference it often, and encourage members of your company to do the same.  
 
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