Some business owners swear by the belief that mission statements are essential business tools while others write them off as a big waste of time.
(article continues below)
So what's the real deal? Are business statements important or are they something your small business can live without?
The answer to that question is entirely up to you - the small business owner.
A mission statement can play a critical role in the life of your business or it can sit on a shelf collecting dust depending on your willingness to make it a focal point of the company's activities.
To make your mission statement "stick", you will need to address three key areas: Crafting your mission statement, communicating it to your staff, and creating a mission-based business environment.
Crafting a Mission Statement
Your mission statement should be a concise description of what your business does and who you do it for. The best mission statements are usually limited to a few sentences and are easily understood by people outside of the industry, as well as industry insiders.
The hard part is creating a mission statement that contains enough substance to be valuable while keeping it as brief as possible.
As the owner of the business, your input will be an invaluable part of the creation process. However, you also need to include the input of others within the organization, especially key employees who have a stake in the company and are capable of seeing it through a "big picture" lens.
Communicating the Mission Statement
If you want to ensure the failure of your mission statement, file it away and forget about it.
To be effective, a mission statement needs to be communicated throughout the company. Every person you employ should thoroughly understand your business' mission statement and their role in making it a reality.
The best way to accomplish that is to raise your mission statement's visibility level by publishing it in your organization's employee materials, and making it a cornerstone of employee orientation and training.
Frequent references to your mission in staff meetings and other employee interactions will also help reinforce it in the minds of your staff members.
Creating a Mission-based Business Environment
Although it's important to communicate your mission statement to your employees, communication alone won't maximize its effectiveness.
To squeeze every drop of usefulness out of a mission statement, you will need to proactively integrate it into the systems and processes that constitute your company culture. Goal-setting, marketing plans, hiring - everything your business does needs to be evaluated according to how well it lines up with your mission.
Employees who embrace the company's mission and do their best to achieve it should be rewarded, while those who fail to take the mission seriously should be made to understand its importance.
Although you may not be able to completely integrate your mission statement into your company's culture overnight, stick with it. Ultimately, your mission statement will become a standard that encourages consistency and cohesiveness throughout the business.