When starting a company, it is important not to forget to have an overall mission and vision for the company. Your organization exists to accomplish something, and that something should be clearly stated. You will be surprised how often organizations have bad mission statements or no clear mission at all. Some benefits of having a mission statement include:
- Communicating the direction of the organization
- Help resolve conflicts
- Help with general decision making
- Keep the organization focused
The mission statement states the organization’s purpose. You can begin forging your mission statement by contemplating the following questions:
- What is our business?
- What should our business be?
- Why do we exist?
- Who is the customer?
- What do consumers value?
These simple questions can sometimes be difficult to answer so it is important to answer them carefully and completely. After this, try to summarize this into a simple statement that is market oriented. Market oriented is better than product oriented because it is focusing on satisfying the basic consumer’s needs. Products tend to become outdated or obsolete, but market needs may last forever.
Some examples of product-oriented vs market-oriented:
|Royal Dutch Shell||We find, extract, refine and sell oil.||We refine and deliver energy solutions in a sustainable way.|
|Michelin||We make tires.||We provide service to people and their transportation.|
|eBay||We hold online auctions.||We provide global a global marketplace where practically anyone can trade practically anything.|
|EasyJet||We sell cheap flights.||We provide our customers with safe, good value, point-to-point air service.|
Your mission statement should guide your organization, help cultivate the organizational culture and engage/attract people.
It is up to the organization to decide whether or not they will have a formal mission statement. Remember that it shouldn’t just be written for PR (public relations) purposes. It should be something achievable and motivating. It should not be discussed in terms of profit. Profit is just a reward for creating good customer value that is accomplished through a well-defined and market-focused mission.
The mission statement shouldn’t be confused with the vision statement. While mission focuses on the present, the vision should focus on the future. This is what your organization wants to achieve over time. It should help guide employees to the goal they are helping accomplish with their day-to-day work.
Examples of vision statements from a few companies:
|Microsoft||Empower people through great software anytime, anyplace, and on any device.|
|Avon||To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally.|
|IKEA||Create a better everyday life for the many people.|
|WWF||We seek to save a planet, a world of life. Reconciling the needs of human beings and the needs of others that share the Earth.|
It is never too late to define a mission and vision for your organization. Also, it is important to clearly and consistently communicate it to your employees.
We’ll end this blog with a quote by Jack Welch from General Electric.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”