A rudderless vessel is vulnerable to the strongest winds. The same goes for your business if you are only focusing on the here and now, and your business is perpetually reacting instead of acting. Great professionals know that looking to the future is the engine of growth.
Here, we’ll take a look at how to build a solid foundation. Now that you’ve spent some time examining your “why” and the legacy you would like to leave behind, let’s discuss in detail how to craft your vision and mission statement. With this, you will have a plan for success and a goal to reach on the horizon.
Your mission statement is a set of words that define and communicate the purpose of your business. It shows how you define success, make business decisions, and make sure everyone involved in the business is on the same inspired path.
Google’s mission statement is an excellent summary of what the company does: “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Here’s the one from Microsoft: “We believe in what people make possible. Our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to do more.
Step 1: Establish the framework
Define your goal.
• Why did you choose this sector of activity?
• What is the best part of your business and what keeps you going?
Who do you serve?
• Who is your ideal buyer?
• Who are your clients ?
• How do you treat your customers and employees, and why is this important to you?
Build your reputation.
• What do you do better than anyone else? Why should people buy from you?
• What do you want your heritage to be? What do you want to be known for?
• What is keeping your competition from sleeping at night? What’s your “secret sauce?” “
• What do you advocate?
Measure your success.
• What does success look like to you?
• What kind of goals have you set to ensure the success of your business? How will you measure them and how will you know when you have arrived?
Step 2: Refine your mission statement
Now that you have some general goals, it’s time to start fine-tuning them. Ideally, your mission statement should consist of three to four sentences describing your goals, purpose, and “why”.
Ask your employees for their opinion and personalize it. It should be something that everyone can buy into. Go for the big picture; Sky is the limit.
Keep in mind that mission statements can change over time. Experiment with different combinations until you find one that resonates with you and your employees. Use actionable words. It can be helpful to include goals in your mission statement, such as “95% of the time we will …”
Remember, there are no false mission statements. If this resonates with you and your employees, your mission statement is complete.
Step 3: Create your business vision
Now that you know what you stand for, it’s time to build the plan to make it happen. Here are the key steps to follow:
Start with your history.
You have to look back to move forward – you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.
• When did you start in business and how many employees did you have?
• Write down all the important milestones in your business on a piece of paper with a brief description of each, and turn it into a line graph with peaks and valleys. What are the positive and negative milestones and turning points, and when did they occur?
• What accomplishments are you most proud of so far? Rewards or innovations? Include big and small accomplishments.
• What are your favorite parts of the business? What are your passions?
• What other details need to be included in your business history for a complete picture?
Now pretend your work history belongs to someone else. What do you notice ? What are the important positive or negative business decisions and what was the result? What is preventing you from moving forward? What were the obstacles and how did you overcome them?
Look at the present.
• What does your business look like now?
• What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
• What is your value proposition?
• What do you need to achieve your goals? Resources, finances, income, employees, training, product launches?
• Do you have a work-life balance?
• How is the financial health of the business? Sales, debts, loans, inventory?
• Is your technology current? Do you have a website, social media presence, infrastructure?
• Do you have key employees? Do they need development or training? If so, where are you going to get it and what is the return on your investment?
• If you could make a couple of changes to have an immediate impact, what would they be and how would you do it?
Plan for the future.
Imagine your business three months, six months, one year, three years, five years and ten years later.
• What are your main short and long term goals, in order of priority?
• How can you make the most of your top three strengths?
• How do you define short and long term success?
• What powerful ideas do you have that have not yet been implemented? What would it take to act on them? What is holding you back?
• What should you start doing, stop doing, or find another way to do it?
• If you put energy into it, where could your business shine than it already is?
• What are the three things that will make your business successful in the coming year? How can you do it?
• What are the secondary goals for success? How can you reach them? What will the business look like if you do? What resources are needed?
That’s a lot to think about, but it’s worth investing your time to create a clear vision for your business. Where are you and where do you want it to be?