The American educator, author, businessman Stephen Covey said, “A Mission Statement is not something you write overnight… But fundamentally, your Mission Statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.” He was correct.
For the most part, Mission Statements are misunderstood and therefore misused. For Example – “We Sell the Best for Less”. This is a complete and utter waste of time. Firstly – ‘Best’ is subjective, and secondly, there will always be someone willing to ‘Sell for Less.’ If you are in the Mousetrap business, customers don’t care about your passion for ridding the world of mice. They only care about their mouse problem and whether or not you can solve their problem. A Mission Statement wasn’t designed to solve problems. Only you can do that.
When it comes to business, every player has a different perspective. Banks will promise the world and deliver things you don’t need. The Governments will conjure various ways to waste your time. Your suppliers will insist you promote their products above those of their competitors, and customers will be loyal right up to the moment when they find what they want at a lower price elsewhere.
While all these things are part and parcel of running a business, they are all just the mechanics of a business. Showing your Mission Statement to any of the above will do absolutely nothing to help your business. For example –
- if you think for one moment that Banks will offer you zero interest financing because you have a Mission Statement ‘copied and pasted’ off the internet’
- or you believe a government auditor will stop hounding you for the interest on $5.00 you supposedly failed to pay 10 years ago because of your plagiarised Mission Statement
- or assume your suppliers will make you their number 1 customer because your Mission Statement was such an inspiration
- or even expect customers to flock to your door just to read your Mission Statementthen you may find more success writing fairy tales.
If the vision you have of your business is how to make it to the end of the month, it would suggest that you have bigger problems to contend with than dreaming of the future. However, it’s very helpful to have a clear picture in your mind of what it is that you are doing and where you are going.
Let’s look at an example. There is a certain hockey team here in Toronto that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in many years. Every year, all we hear from the coaches and players alike during the payoffs is – “it’s one game at a time!” No, it’s not! Regardless of how many games there are before them, every time that team hits the ice, they should have one vision, and one vision only – to win the Stanley Cup! Until they do, that Cup will forever be beyond their grasp.
Despite all that, a business cannot run itself.
Only you, and your passion for making things happen, will determine if your business has any chance of success. It’s not magic. A business is a viable, living thing. All too many business people just go through the motions, expecting the world to tremor in awe. It doesn’t work like that. A business owner with passion is the life force that brings it all together.
Think of a business as a child. If a child came into your life, you would have to feed it, nurture it, train it, encourage it, protect it, and educate it until it matured. Children don’t grow to adult overnight – and neither do businesses.
On the extreme end, some business owners become obsessive. The only problem is – they develop a kind of tunnel vision. They lose sight of everything and everyone around them, to their ultimate detriment.
Your mission is more than just a Tag Line
- Your mission is to be passionate.
- Your mission is to have a purpose.
- Your mission is to succeed.
Now go write a Mission Statement straight from the heart and use it to remind yourself every day why you are in business.