How to Write Mission Statements
Summing up your business's mission helps you focus on the steps you need to take to succeed. Here's how to create a mission statement that's uniquely yours. A mission statement is a key tool that can be as important as your business plan. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business's goals and the philosophies underlying them. Equally important, the mission statement signals what your business is all about to your customers, employees, suppliers and the community. The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community. "Mission statement help clarify what business you are in, your goals and your objectives," says Rhonda Abrams, author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies. Your mission statement should reflect your business' special niche. However, studying other companies' statements can fuel your creativity. One sample mission statement Abrams developed: "AAA Inc. is a spunky, imaginative food products and service company aimed at offering high-quality, moderately priced, occasionally unusual foods using only natural ingredients. We view ourselves as partners with our customers, our employees, our community and our environment. We aim to become a regionally recognized brand name, capitalizing on the sustained interest in Southwestern and Mexican food. Our goal is moderate growth, annual profitability and maintaining our sense of humor." Or consider the statement one entrepreneur developed for her consulting business: "ABC Enterprises is a company devoted to developing human potential. Our mission is to help people create innovative solutions and make informed choices to improve their lives. We motivate and encourage others to achieve their own personal and professional fulfillment. Our motto is: Together, we believe that the best in each of us enriches all of us." The Write Words
To come up with a statement that encompasses the major elements of your business, start with the right questions. Business plan consultant David Tucker says the most important question is, What business are you in? Since you have already gone through the steps of creating your niche, answering this question should be easy for you. Answering the following questions will help you to create a verbal picture of your business's mission: • Why are you in business? What do you want for yourself, your family and your customers? Think about the spark that ignited your decision to start a business. What will keep it burning? • Who are your customers? What can you do for them that will enrich their lives and contribute to their success--now and in the future? • What image of your business do you want to convey? Customers, suppliers, employees and the public will all have perceptions of your company. How will you create the desired picture? • What is the nature of your products and services? What factors determine pricing and quality? Consider how these relate to the reasons for your business's existence. How will all this change over time? • What level of service do you provide? Most companies believe they offer "the best service available," but do your customers agree? Don't be vague; define what makes your service so extraordinary. • What roles do you and your employees play? Wise captains develop a leadership style that organizes, challenges and recognizes employees. • What kind of relationships will you maintain with suppliers? Every business is in partnership with its suppliers. When you succeed, so do they. • How do you differ from your competitors? Many entrepreneurs forget they are pursuing the same dollars as their competitors. What do you do better, cheaper or faster than other competitors? How can you use...
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