Your practice mission

 My previous post looked at crafting a vision for your practice and how it sets out your intention and why you do what you do. The vision is your ‘cause’; it’s critical for why clients choose to work with you and your practice. When you have done this the next step is to write your mission statement – your ‘effect’. Vision statements are aspirational; mission statements are what you will actually do to bring about your vision.

A mission statement is a written declaration of your business’s core purpose and focus. It will help you separate what is important from what is not, reminding your which markets you are aiming to serve and how; it gives a sense of the intended direction to the entire practice. A mission is something to be ‘accomplished’; whereas a vision is something to be pursued for that accomplishment. It has a more ‘present day’ focus, rooted in the now and really describes how a company plans to achieve its objectives.

It is really a statement to employees, shareholders, and others with an interest in your work, that clearly articulates what your organisation is doing, and how it’s going to do it. 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, suppliers, and the community. It’s helpful to have a clear mission to refer back to when making decisions that will affect clients, people in your business or processes that you use.

Questions to ask:

  • What do we do and how do we do it?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What problems do we solve for our clients?
  • What markets do we serve, and what are the benefits we offer?
  • How do we make our customer’s life better?
  • What do we value or offer that is particularly important or unique (i.e., tuition reimbursement for employees, 100% guarantee for customers)?
  • What other characteristics define our company’s style, culture, and personality?

For many small businesses, this can seem like a trivial item but large organisations spend countless hours, meetings, and money considering their mission statement and its significance. Changing a company’s mission statement can be a major undertaking with numerous consultations and even external advisors being hired. For any growing business, this should underline the significance of creating an effective mission statement, particularly when it’s not part of the business model (or not possible) for the owner to personally convey the company’s mission to everyone.

The key questions to answer in a mission statement include:

  • What does the organisation do?
  • Who does the organisation service (i.e. customers)?
  • What benefit does the organization provide?

Some key questions to ask yourself are:

  • Who is your company: who are the key people; what do they bring?
  • What do you do?
  • What do you stand for?
  • Why do you do it?
  • Do you want to make a serious profit, or is it enough to just make a living?
  • What markets are you serving, and what benefits do you offer them?
  • What problem do you solve for your customers?
  • What kind of internal work environment do you want for your employees?
  • What are you providing?
  • What makes you different? Don’t try to include everyone – if your reach is too broad your missions statement won’t speak to ANYONE

Don’t “box” yourself in. Your mission statement should be able to withstand the changes that come up over time in your product or service offerings, or customer base. Aim for substance, not superlatives. Avoid saying how great you are, what great quality and what great service you provide.

Some inspiration

‘At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.’

‘Teknion designs products that work across boundaries. Within any architectural envelope and work culture—furniture that works wherever you work.’

‘The BMW Group is the world’s leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility.’

Sainsbury’s: ‘Our mission is to be the consumer’s first choice for food, delivering products of outstanding quality and great service at a competitive cost through working faster, simpler, and together.’

Blacks: ‘We live and breathe the outdoors, from simple walks and technical hikes, to arduous expeditions and intrepid exploration. Our aim has always been to make the outdoors as accessible as possible to everybody, ensuring that they have the right clothing and equipment for wherever their adventure takes them…’

Porsche doesn’t simply build sports cars. Porsche is more. Much more. And Porsche is different. We love to carry engineering skills to the extremes. And thereby cut exceptional paths. Our own.’

Leave a Comment: