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The Importance of Developing a Family Business Mission Statement

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I try not to be a party pooper, but family gatherings of any kind are my opportunity to get information. My family lives far apart from each other. Most still live in Liberia, a few in England, and the few of us who live in the United States live in different parts of the country. When I get any of them in a room, I asks questions to document the values, thoughts and ideas that we share. It’s vital for my personal and professional development, but it’s also the building material for my family business mission statement.

Why a family business mission statement?

Your mission statement is key to building unity and is effective for the communication trials coming your way. When you have to make decisions, you can refer to the values stated in the mission statement to help you. When there’s conflict, both sides can refer to the mission statement to help resolve it. Developing and living by a family mission statement is the first step to building a family business from the inside out.

Related: Starting a Family Business

Stephen Covey helped many families craft a family mission statement. In 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, he  shared the importance of writing a family mission statement. Covey said,  “A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about, what it is you really want to do and be, and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”

He met weekly with his family to produce one and it took them eight months.  In interviews, Covey would often state that the family mission statement is powerful in creating family harmony and unity. He explained how it can help a family focus on contribution and service to other families and to the community.

Examples from family business owners.

A family business mission statement can be anything you want it to be. The point is to highlight your values in a way and in a document that unifies your family and business. Here are a few examples from family businesses to get you started:  

“Our family owned and operated company delivers impressive financial results, and a commitment to manage our clients’ assets as if they were our own. Our small size affords our team the opportunity to focus on each hotel’s individual markets and needs, and apply our core principles; hiring, training and retaining the best team members, exceeding guest expectations, and maintaining streamlined, efficient operations.” Lafrance Hospitality

Related: How to Write Your Mission Statement

“Our mission: Creating memories worth repeating...We serve others by working as a team and empowering each other, by being patient, kind, humble, respectful, selfless, forgiving, honest and committed.” Herschend Family Entertainment.

“Family members will inevitably have needs and turn to the business to fill them. For that reason, we, as a family, have all agreed to help one another, when one is in need, from our personal resources -not from the business’ assets. All family members are welcome in the business. We are fortunate to be a high growth business that creates new job opportunities.” Reardon Technology

“We are good, honest people who care. We value and respect all people. We serve others with friendliness and sincerity. Our business dealings are of the highest integrity.” Drury Hotels

Start small.

Use the following writing prompts to generate ideas for your family mission statement:

Our family is called to …

Our legacy as a family will be …

Don’t edit or criticize answers. Use as much time as you need. When writing your family business mission statement, you’re dealing with the heart and soul. You have to make the emotional connection so that every member buys in. Consider brief conversations during meals. Keep it fun and lighthearted when possible.

Related: After Building a Mail-Order Empire, One Entrepreneur Has a New Mission

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