Mission Statement

Definition: A sentence describing a company's function, markets and competitive advantages; a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies

A mission statement defines what an organization is, why it exists, its reason for being. At a minimum, your mission statement should define who your primary customers are, identify the products and services you produce, and describe the geographical location in which you operate.

If you don't have a mission statement, create one by writing down in one sentence what the purpose of your business is. Ask two or three of the key people in your company to do the same thing. Then discuss the statements and come up with one sentence everyone agrees with. Once you have finalized your mission statement, communicate it to everyone in the company.

It's more important to communicate the mission statement to employees than to customers. Your mission statement doesn't have to be clever or catchy--just accurate.

If you already have a mission statement, you will need to periodically review and possibly revise it to make sure it accurately reflects your goals as your company and the business and economic climates evolve. To do this, simply ask yourself if the statement still correctly describes what you're doing.

If your review results in a revision of the statement, be sure everyone in the company is aware of the change. Make a big deal out of it. After all, a change in your mission probably means your company is growing-and that's a big deal.

Once you have designed a niche for your business, you're ready to create a mission statement. A key tool that can be as important as your business plan, a mission statement 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, employees, suppliers and the community.

The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.

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