Whether you’ve been in business a while or just starting out – your company’s mission, vision and values are critical to success. They serve as a central node in the focus of your business. The types of clients you work with, the services or products you offer, your yes’s and no’s are all set in the mission, vision and values you create for your business. Let’s break all of these down:
Your purpose and passions drive your mission. The mission statement of your business clearly defines why you exist. This clarity is key because it sets the framework for validating the types of products, services and even clients you will work with. Your offerings should directly align with the mission of your business. If they don’t you should assess and reconsider if your mission needs changing or if your offerings are misaligned, thus needing adjustment.
In drafting a mission statement, I like to start brainstorming by completing the following sentence: “I’m on a mission to….”. Once I get all my thoughts out I review, group together similar ideas and refine into statements that are succinct and make sense. Here’s our mission statement for example:
ESC Business Management Solutions strives to help small business owners:
1) streamline operations and systems to create efficiencies that save their business time and money,
2) implement structures and solutions that lead to increased productivity, and
3) strategize and plan effectively to achieve their goals.
You won’t get to where you are going if you don’t know where you’re headed. Some confuse mission and vision or think they are interchangeable – but they are different. Think of the mission as ‘what you do’ and the vision as ‘where you want to go’. Your vision should be slightly uncomfortable and scare you a bit. If it doesn’t – aim higher! The vision statement is where you articulate what you dream for business in the future, and you should never put a limitation on how high you can go. Your vision will serve as one of the motivating factors for how you choose to journey through business. Each path you take should lead you to achieving the vision you create.
Similarly to drafting a mission statement – really anything I draft – I start by brainstorming. This time I do a brain dump by completing the sentence: “I envision my business to be…”. I then take all the ideas, see where the themes are and craft my vision statement. Here’s our vision statement for example:
ESC Business Management Solutions will be known as:
1) a premier strategic partner for business management needs,
2) an authority in being a business integrator – known as an expert in small business operations and project management, and
3) a sought-after educator and coach to other service providers helping them to successfully scale their service offerings into operations and project management.
Core values set the tone for who you are and what you represent. They are like the heartbeat to how you operate each day. Your values should align with your ‘why’- the purpose behind the business and why wake up each day working hard. The clients you choose should also align with your values – trust me, you’ll save a lot of headaches and stress by assessing if potential clients are in alignment. Think about values as your identity for the business. Likely they will be a direct reflection of your own personal beliefs and how you carry yourself day to day.
Establish the core values for your business by brainstorming what you value in life and how you want to be known to those that interact with you. A simple list of attributes would suffice in this first step. Then look at all the words and find commonalities. More than likely it will be easy to group the list into themes. Narrow down the list and try to pick your top 5. If you’re like me that may be hard, so I actually have 7 😆. Now that you have the actual list of attributes, now write a short statement for each characteristic on how that value will be executed in your business. Here’s our value statements for example:
ESC Business Management Solutions Core Values:
Integrity: We do what’s right without question, upholding high standards of excellence and projecting the integrity of our clients as well.
Quality: We commit to providing high-quality work products and services.
Trustworthy: We commit to a partnership that can be trusted, one of honesty and transparency.
Dependable: Our clients can rely on us for their business management needs and know that we will be responsive and follow through on commitments.
Positivity: We create a positive environment to work in and find opportunities to encourage others.
Impact: We are committed to making a positive difference in the businesses we serve.
Servant Leadership: We lead with care and concern, helping others and considering the needs of the businesses we serve in how we lead.
Using this information, take time to evaluate your current mission, vision and values – or create them. You’ll be happy you took the time to think it through as it will make decision-making and running a business smoother. Establishing or refining a company's mission, vision and values is the first exercise I walk through with business owners during our Strategic Planning VIP Day. Check out more information about this service below and let me know if you’re interested in learning more.
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Eboni Cotton, PMP Certified Project Mgr + Operations Strategist.