Your Mission Statement: A Business Strategy Building Block

Today I got an e-mail from a CEO, “I just read your book and it sounds like you’re writing about us.  Can we set up a time to talk?”  Last month I got a phone call from a CEO, “I just heard that you were the consultant that helped Mercury Payment System!  What a success story!  I’d like to find out more about what you did that helped them grow so fast.”

 Since I’m a growth consultant, every entrepreneur who calls me wants to grow. Most have grown fast, then topped off, and are frustrated because they can’t figure out why.

I begin the conversation by asking them to tell me about the company, how it got started, its products, markets, their biggest wins and losses, and then ask them why they think they’ve stopped growing. Most of the time they don’t know and are genuinely puzzled.

I then ask three questions:

  1.  What’s your mission?

 2.   What are your company’s values? 

 3.   What’s your 3 – 5 year vision for the company?

The Mission is what’s on my mind today because yesterday I spent some time with partners of a very successful company that’s been in business for 20 years, and for some reason has stopped growing.  The partners have set goals and announced them to the staff.  They’ve turned over lots of rocks in search of new customers. But they’ve only achieved a fraction of the new revenue they expected to generate these past two years.

As we talked, it became clear that there was some confusion about what they did, how they did it, and who their target customers were,.  The company’s mission statement was couched in terms of the benefits their customers would receive (peace of mind). I reminded them that Michelin tires and Bare Minerals make-up both advertise that they provide “peace of mind”!  As we talked they realized that their mission statement didn’t provide much information to new prospects  – or to staff  - about what or how their company produced  “peace of mind”.  

What CEOs or partners need to be clear about is what their company does, for whom, and the desired outcome.  I’ve worked with a lot of companies – in many different industries – that became very successful.  The first thing we did was get clarity around their mission statement.  Here are a few examples of statements that define what they do, for whom, and the desired outcome.

  • Create competitive advantages for our POS channel partners in order to dominate the market for integrated transaction processing.
  •  Create a real cloud that makes all forms of data safe, secure and accessible for companies and individuals.
  •  Support franchise partners to achieve their dreams of growing successful businesses that provide dignity, independence and peace of mind to clients and their families
  •  Provide the highest quality solar energy solutions to empower individuals, companies, and communities to contribute to a sustainable future and a clean energy economy. 

 Take another look at your mission statement and make sure you have this important building block in place.  A mission statement provides guidance to prospects, customers, and your staff about what you do, for whom, and what the desired outcomes are.

In my next post I’ll talk about business strategy building block #2, your company’s values.