Does your company have a mission? Do you know what your business does? And can you state it concisely?
I define the company mission simply as what a company does. At its basic level, a company’s mission can be stated as “ABC Company provides PQR services or products to XYZ market.”
Because it is basic, it appears at first glance that defining your company mission statement should be fairly easy. However, I have discovered that frequently it is challenging to come up with a mission that inspires as well as directs. And if a company has a restrictive or mis-defined mission statement it may be challenging to set a strategic direction for the company that makes sense.
Let me provide an example. In the book Z.B.A by Marc Lesser, the author talks about his business, Brush Dance. Initially, the mission for Brush Dance was defined as being a greeting card and gift company. This definition was derived from the fact that Brush Dance sold greeting cards, gift wrap, and small gift items. One day they realized that what distinguished Brush Dance from other card companies is that: “all of our products contain spiritual or inspirational content. Realizing that we are a spiritual products company and not just a card company has transformed the business – the way we create products and how we view our channels of distribution.” (p.65, Z.B.A.)
Changing how Brush Dance defined their mission, changed everything. Not surprisingly, it was a turning point in clearly defining their brand and how they wanted to do business.
To provide another quick example, Zappos started off as an on-line shoe company. Over time, they realized that they are a service company that happens to sell shoes.
The moral of this blog? While at a basic level the mission statement can be expressed as “ABC Company provides PQR services or products to XYZ market”, creating an effective mission statement takes some thought and introspection on not only what your company does but also on what sets it apart from other similar companies.
So, are you really a card company? Or are you a company that provides inspiration who happens to sell cards?