Having a mission is important. To run a successful business, you need to be on a mission. Yet many of us small business owners (particularly real estate investors and professionals) skip writing a mission statement. Companies put their mission statement on the wall, not because it’s cheesy but because it’s important. Actually, many company mission statements are cheesy, but having a good one is a good idea. Think of it as your foundation.
Building a successful business requires a strong foundation, especially today. Opportunities come around every day. Do you take this new client? Should you join this new social network? Should you take your company in this direction or that? If you refer back to your mission statement, you ought to be able to answer questions like this pretty swiftly and with certainty.
If you don’t have a mission, then you don’t have any objective means of maintaining any consistency. And if you have employees, managers or anyone who makes decisions on your behalf, then you definitely don’t have any way of keeping a cohesive brand together. Not without a mission.
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What is your mission?
Writing a mission statement may sound pretty simple, so it’s easy to overlook how important it is. But sit down to write one. It’s more difficult than you might expect. It’s one thing to be able to write posts to your blog on a regular basis, build your friends list on Facebook, etc…the day to day stuff of building your presence online. But what exactly is it you’re building? Have you thought to consider it?
A tweet came through my feed on Twitter this past week. I think it was from Chris Brogan or someone like that. It’s buried now, and I can’t find it, but it was basically something like “describe your brand, what you do, what you’re about in 140 characters or less. Can you do it?” This is a mission statement.
- What are you about?
- What are you building?
- What drives you?
- Why are you doing it?
Answering these grandiose questions in a line or two is difficult, but that’s why it’s important.
Why You Need a Mission
You need a mission for one reason…NOT having a mission means you’re drifting. From a business perspective, you’re a ship out to sea without a sail. Without a mission, you have no brand. Not really. At best, your brand is an accident. You need something as a foundation.
Notice that my assertion here is that a mission simply gives you a sail. It’s essential, but your mission statement is not going to be what differentiates you or makes you the best at what you do. It’s simply a building block. No one is going to do business with you solely because of your mission statement. But it needs to be there.
It’s important to have a mission, but it doesn’t matter what mission you choose!
All that matters is that your mission speaks to you. On a fundamental level. It needs to excite you, but it also needs to do more than that. It needs to drive you. It’s beyond excitement; it needs to be primal. It can be pretty, but you have to mean it!
An Example of a Bad Mission Statement
To satisfy our customers’ desires for personal entertainment and information through total customer satisfaction
I found this on Seth Godin’s blog and I agree 100%. What the hell does this even mean? Ha.
Is it wrong of me to assume that this doesn’t really speak to someone’s heart? Is some manager somewhere really busting ass to make this happen every day as if his life depended on it? Seriously, I doubt it. This is an example of a mission statement with nothing behind it. Ironically, (although I can’t verify this) it also probably cost the company thousands of dollars for some troll to produce it. Someone who has no ownership interest in the company. Bad move.
Do you run your company? Don’t outsource the writing of your mission statement…it completely defeats the purpose.
An Example of a Rocking Mission Statement
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Just my opinion…this mission is engaging and exciting. Also, it doesn’t ramble on with useless corporate-speak and unnecessary verbiage. It’s clear and ambitious. To me, this is a mission. It’s frickin huge, and that makes it all the more appealing, but it’s also very targeted. You could stay busy for a while with a mission like that…
It’s not about the mission statement itself. The process of writing your mission statement is almost more important than the actual mission statement you produce. The fact that you can refer back to it is invaluable, but the process of coming up with your mission statement should be a soul searching experience. It should take you a minute, you know? Think about it, write it. Live by it. It should be something more than exciting to you. You should love it. After all, you’re going to be working day and night to make it happen. Make it a good one.
Do you have a mission statement? Do you agree or disagree that it’s vital to have one?