Outstanding people have one thing in common:
An absolute sense of mission. – Zig Ziglar
What’s your purpose? Many small businesses rush right into the doing when they start a business. They know what they do well and have an idea of who they serve and they dive in. They are interested singularly in turning their passion into profit.
Creating vision and mission statements can help you clarify whether your idea is viable as a business. Are you thinking too broadly or too narrowly? Are you aiming for profit or passion?
For instance, an artist can clearly see that that their purpose is to bring beauty into the world, but then how does that become a marketable enterprise? Creating a mission that demonstrates how the vision manifests, will help rein in all of the possibilities and allow you to focus.
Work On the Business, not In the Business
Not being clear about what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it may lead you to take a meandering route to success. No one says your vision and mission won’t change, what’s important is that you are intentional about those changes. If you are changing it often, then something’s wrong.
Everyone in your organization should know your vision and mission. Your employees cannot align with an unspoken intent and your customers cannot respond to an unclear call to action. It’s helpful to lead an exercise allowing employees to write how they fit into the overall mission. Back in the 80s, I worked at The Limited (women’s clothing store) in South Coast Plaza. On the back of the door that all employees went through to get to the sales floor was a big poster. It said, “My mission is to greet every customer and sell her something.” It was very clear and simple that as a sales person I needed to be friendly and sell! This fit into a greater whole of the company.
Your vision is the result you want to affect:
- Small businesses thrive.
- Kids eat healthy foods.
- Older adults enjoy their lives in retirement.
Any result works here. It does not need to be fancy! In fact, simple is better. It may be that several businesses have the same or very similar vision. Looking at the list above, you can probably think of more than one business or nonprofit that shares this vision.
Mission includes what you are addressing to make your vision happen and how you are doing it, and it will likely include who you are serving. It doesn’t have to be in that order as long as you address at least those three variables. You might include where you perform your skills. Here are some samples that align with the above visions.
Vision: Small businesses thrive.
Mission: Through online classes, we provide simple, low-cost marketing and promotional assistance for small business owners to create a strong foundation for success.
Vision: Kids eat healthy foods.
Mission: We help parents and caregivers create nutritious, good-tasting meals for their families that are easy to prepare and are scaled to any food budget.
Vision: Older adults enjoy their lives in retirement.
Mission: Through personal visits to retirement homes, we offer memoir writing and storytelling activities for adults ages 55 and up in the Long Beach, CA area.
Having these principles set as part of your marketing framework will direct all of your promotional decisions. Need more assistance? Let me know you’d like to be part of a workshop and I will invite you as soon as that is set-up. Email me: [email protected]
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She is the author of Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon.