Running your own business is a voyage of discovery. You go into it thinking that your personal and professional goals will be fulfilled, but realise a few months later that it’s much easier said than done.
Soon the distractions take over, the day-to-day becomes a little tedious and you encounter problems in managing your time. It’s very easy to see the way to go from the passenger seat, but sitting in the driving seat is a different matter altogether. You’re finally the controller of your own destiny, but this responsibility can sometimes be overwhelming.
This is where a few little tricks can help, and one such trick is getting your business a mission statement that aligns with your own personal goals.
Ultimately you are the visionary of the business, so you should be the one defining what it stands for. You also know what you wanted to achieve when you started the business, and this certainly fits in with your personal goals (otherwise you would be doing something else!). It’s time to project this onto your company, yourself and your employees with a single sentence that defines what you want to achieve.
But how can you possibly go about this? It’s hard to know where to start, where to gain inspiration for and how much time to spend on it. Corporates actually provide a very good indicator in defining your mission statement, so looking at a few of these can be a good place to start.
Corporate taglines are everywhere nowadays. In Sainsbury’s for example, every in-store announcement is followed by their tagline: “live well for less”. You can’t watch adverts without avoiding them. “Coca-Cola, taste the feeling” or “Samsung, designed for humans” are a few that may spring to mind.
These taglines are also mission statements. They are designed cleverly to efficiently communicate the brand values to the staff and customers, and as a result the customers know what to expect and the staff know what they should deliver. Every large corporate has one, and every business should have one as well.
Properly analysed, each of these taglines essentially communicate something that everyone wants. Who doesn’t want to “live well for less”, “taste the feeling” or have a phone that is “designed for humans”!? But this is where the genius lies. Sainsbury’s still manage to effectively communicate their mid-priced decent quality market position, Coca-Cola avoid the health issues and effectively associate themselves as a feel-good drink and Samsung display their commitment to simplicity and easy-to-use products.
When you create the mission statement for your business you can follow this lead. It can be a wishy-washy series of words that seem to adhere to everyone’s wishes, as long as it communicates your main selling point.
Reflect and Reshape have the slogan: “Using your business to transform your life”. This very effectively communicates the key focuses of the reflect and reshape methodology – your business management and your personal goals. It also serves as a reminder to Antony that he set up the business in order to help others succeed and feel better about their business, which will guide his everyday focus and help him feel good about his purpose. Again, who doesn’t want to use their business to transform their life!? Nobody.
So, take these lessons to make sure your mission statement does the following 3 things:
1. It’s exciting – it will excite you and excite your customers, catering for something that you know they will want.
2. It features your main selling point.
3. It’s short, sharp, and catchy.
Now you’ve got your mission statement/slogan, it’s important to know when and how to use it.
The first thing is to make sure it is visible, to both you and your customers. Putting it up on the website is one thing, but realistically you’re not going to be looking at your website every day and a large part of the reason for formulating a mission statement is to help you personally. Therefore, make sure you plaster it all over your visible advertising. This will look particularly good on roll banners or company merchandise. If you don’t have that, then make sure it is somewhere easily visible in your place of work. Pin it up on your noticeboard, or frame it on your desk. Something that will offer up a constant reminder of why you are doing what you are doing and how you should execute day-to-day tasks.
If you have employees, it’s really important they buy into this too. Only 60% of employees in the UK claim to know the values their company stands for, so don’t make yours one of the 40% that doesn’t have its employees on board!
If you already have employees, make sure that your mission statement is reinforced every day in what you do. If you are making new hires, make sure that the entire structure of the interview is set around seeing how suitable they are to fulfil your mission statement. Ultimately, it’s the people in your company that are going to help take it to the next level and help you achieve your personal goals through your business.
Hopefully this article has equipped you to create a good mission statement and given you ideas on how to use it in the day-to-day running of the business. Ultimately, though, this isn’t a magic wand that will suddenly perfectly align your business and personal goals. If you’re really serious about this, which you should be, then the reflect and reshape formula can really help reinforce this. Much of the success of a business is based around the feelings that you and your employees feel every day and whether a sense of purpose is being fulfilled through your business. Getting put on the straight and narrow here can really transform your daily attitude, so try out the reflect and reshape formula to channel that sense of purpose once more!
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