The most important element to any business is a palpable desire in the marketplace for its services. Beyond this, there are many things that should be considered prior to either starting a new business or making a major change within an existing endeavor. Planning is the wing man for success. Planning is the game. Talent and ideas are wonderful; a successful day can be achieved on these things. Careers and longstanding, profitable, and fun businesses require more.
Longstanding success begins with a solid mission statement. A clear, concise explanation of just what the company is going to be about. Defining the mission should trump all other immediate concerns in your pre-planning meetings. It is the most important step in the planning process.
Your company’s mission statement should be on the lips and in the hearts of everyone of your representatives in the market arena as well as the minds of your stake holders, share holders, and every member of the brain-trust entrusted to propel your company forward. The equation for determining one’s mission is simple: Values+Vision=Mission.
Shrewd business is good business. A company is best served when there is a healthy profit. This does not, however, suggest that one must ignore moral clarity and consciousness to obtain profit or success. There is much to be said of what one can do on the energy gained by a night’s sleep when one’s mind is clear of guilt and regret. Values are the reflection your company makes in the proverbial waters of the marketplace. How will your reflection appear?
Will you have a reputation for your ability to find loopholes and technicalities to justify your company policies in spite of your clients? Or will you go to the end of the world to make sure your customers have only good things to say about you?
Will you be known for ‘Nickel and Diming’ customers to squeeze every last penny of profit? Or do you know that you are more likely to reap significant rewards from leaving a little extra money on the table to assure your customers shout your praises from the rooftops?
Will you be privately charitable to your local organizations and churches? Or will you rely on the umbrella of your taxes to take care of your fellow man?
Your values will answer these questions and in turn determine how the market, and your potential buyers, will perceive you.
The values that drive your business ethics and customer service make up a little more than half of your mission. Without a personal sense of what they are, and an employee understanding and commitment to them, it will be incredibly difficult to usher in changes or get your company off the ground. It’s easy to dream of fancy logos, glowing signs, and big sales- but breaking down your role and projected reputation in the marketplace will set the table for the long term success you truly desire.
Vision is not simply about setting goals or setting the stage for a big splash, its about a genuine review of the situation and projecting forward what is expected. While I am a big proponent of competent goal setting, vision must be more than a few hopes and dreams.Vision must be concise and definable. Whether it is your vision to be the best wedding photographer to work with or the most honest car dealer, a clear definable vision will ultimately light your path to your desired position.
The vision must be set at the top and enforced all the way to the bottom. A great leader, whether at a start up or leading an established company through a big change, should be known for being able to gauge just how far or close the company is to the destination.
Without vision everyone suffers. Employees strain to understand if they’re doing enough. Leadership struggles to assess the progress of their subordinates. A haze will consume the company and little genuine progress can be made. Employees will slow, leadership will become frustrated, and those at the very top will likely blame everyone on the ladder, despite the truth that it is likely the leader who never set forth the vision,values, and mission.
Define your values. Establish the vision. Promote the mission.
Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kevin is also available for small business consulting.