The Purpose of a Mission Statement and Why Your Business Needs One

Whether your business is a corporation employing thousands or a start-up operated out of your garage, you need a mission statement. Many times the one difference between a profitable enterprise and a failed one is the attention given to understanding the purpose of the business itself: the mission.

A properly crafted mission statement increases efficiency, productivity and profitability. When thoughtfully prepared, this statement serves as the constitution of the organization; it delineates both the vision and boundaries of the business. All strategic and marketing plans are built on the foundation provided by the mission statement.

Bottom-line performance improves when strictly adhering to the boundaries spelled out in your statement. You will make fewer off-track forays, spend less time considering “if” you should add a new line or expand one you already have, and better allocate your scarce resources; time, capital, energy and people.

Mission statements will include all, or most, of the following information: what you do, where you do it, for whom you do it, how you do it and why you do it.

Here’s a quick and limited illustration of how a mission statement takes in all the ideas and input available in the marketplace, on the Web, or in your imagination, and funnels them into a form allowing you to make the best decisions for your business. Take this simple concept and expand it to cover all six points listed in the last paragraph.

Compare the performance and profitability of a crayon manufacturer with a limited mission statement, and one with a more finely crafted version. Both production companies have an assembly line that fills a box with crayons before being bulk packed for shipment.

The first manufacturer tells its staff to pack each box with sixteen of the finest quality crayons for eventual delivery to the public. There are 60 different colors made by the company. As each employee grabs a box they have to decide which colors to include in the box, and in what order to package them. All 60 colors are beautiful and potentially desirable to the consumer, but the assembly line slows as each decision is made and customers don’t always know what they’re going to get when they open the box.

The second company also makes 60 colors. Their production line understands that it is to package sixteen fine quality crayons in each box, knowing the specific color and placement of colors within each box. The business offers several different collections of colors, each one packed on a rotating schedule. The packaging process is smooth, fast and seamless. Efficiency and consistency are hallmarks of this operation.

Which organization will eventually own the crayon business?

If you are a decision maker, board member, business owner or entrepreneur, don’t make the mistake of overlooking this primary requirement of planning for success. Take the time to translate your unique vision into a well-written mission statement.

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