Melvin Feller Illustrates the Importance of Mission Statements for Small Business
Melvin Feller Illustrates the Importance of Mission Statements for Small Business
Melvin Feller Business Consultants in Dallas, Burkburnett ministries Texas and Lawton Oklahoma. Our mission is to call and equip a generation of Christian entrepreneurs to do business as ministry and ministries outreach. We provide workshops and resources that help companies discover how to do business God’s way. When the heart of a business is service rather than self it can be transformed into a fruitful business ministry earning a profit and being of service to the community and their customers. Melvin Feller is currently pursuing another graduate degree in business organizations.
“That business mission is so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important single cause of business frustration.” — Peter Drucker
With 40% of small businesses failing between the first and fifth years of inception, 27% failing between the sixth and tenth year, and 33% failing by the time the businesses cross their tenth year, the lack of a well-written (and well communicated) mission statement is one of the foremost causes of small business failure.
The mission statement answers the first question of any business venture: What business are you in and what is your reason for being?
The mission statement explains why your organization exists — and what its purpose is.
Companies that do not have a clear and concise written mission statement risk wandering aimlessly in the sea of competitors. A written mission statement forces the small business CEO to think about what he/she is doing and where the company is headed.
Are vision and mission statements the same thing? What is the difference between the two and do I really need both for my organization? Let us delve into these questions by first highlighting the benefits of having both a vision and mission statement for your organization. Having both are necessary in order to set the stage for the rest of your strategic plan. Explicitly, they form the foundation of your strategy and set the direction for your organization. More specifically, benefits include: prioritization of budgets, highlights skill gaps in the workforce, forms the basis for decision-making and problem solving, focuses marketing/product promotion
needs, and supports forecasting for your customer base and financials.
Let us start with vision. The vision of your organization is your polar star. It is visible throughout your organization and is used as a compass to set direction from all angles within your organization. In addition, just as the polar star has five points — your vision should have five points:
Audacious. In other words — “Go Large!” Focus on achievement. Define what success looks like for your organization.
Futuristic: Pull out your old grammar books and look for gerund verbs. Gerunds are a great beginning. Many vision statements start with words like, “Creating”, “Building,” “Moving.” Choose your verb carefully though; words matter. If your vision statement is too general, your audience will not know what you are saying. If your statement is too specific, it can limit your success.
Clear/Descriptive: Your statement should be a clear, short statement. It paints picture of excellence. Readers should be able to visualize what will be happening in your organization when the vision is fully met. It will be clear what your employees will be talking about around the coffee bar, what your customers are saying standing in front your building, or what your Chief Financial Officer is telling your city mayor!
Time Bound: I recommend setting your vision statement for a three to five year time span. The world is too volatile to consider any longer. The days of 10-year strategic plans are gone. With the technology, political, financial, and global environment, a 10-year forecast is just too long.
Inspirational: Permeate your vision with passion! Use it to stimulate your employees’ creativity and thinking. Allow it to give meaning to their work by creating a culture of success! You are headed somewhere big, so set the tone and environment.
Let us switch to mission now. Mission statements come in all shapes and sizes and the good news is you ultimately get to decide the right style for your organization. The best missions are short, clear, and succinct. Often a mission is viewed as a summary of your organization. The mission is a proclamation of our organization’s purpose. It usually does not change too much over time. A mission represents something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued.
Here are five characteristics for your mission statement:
Succinct: Mission statements should be short and snappy. Details can be found in the strategic plan.
Memorable: Similar to your organization’s logo, it should be easy to recall (another reason to keep it short!). People should be able to remember the overall intent of it even if they cannot recall the full statement.
Unique: Your statement should not be all encompassing, which will cause it to be too broad and not memorable. Focus on what it that you strive to do differently — what makes your organization stand out, how you achieve excellence!
Realistic: There is fine line between a realistic idea and dreaming. Your mission is not your vision — depicting a perfect future of success, but it is a summary of why you exist and what services you deliver.
Current: Although your mission statement should be written for the long haul, review it periodically to ensure it is current. As your organization changes in slight direction or does a full 180 shift, your mission should keep up with the organization’s shifts.
Some hints and tips:
The most important attribute of purpose is authenticity — not on what looks good to others.
The purpose should be valid for 20–30 years — or even longer
The simpler the better.
Focus on why — not how. (“How” is strategy, and will change over time.)
However, this would not be complete without pointing out both the advantages and disadvantages, so you, the reader can determine what is best for you and your company.
Five Advantages of a Mission Statement
Provide Directions: mission statements are like compasses that help a business navigate the jungle of fierce competition that businesses now face. This is one of the most pronounced advantages of a mission statement. Without directions, companies will be operating without purpose and this can be dangerous.
Helps to Resolve Conflicts: another advantage of a mission statement is that members of the management board can easily make quick reference to a mission statement in time of conflict and argument. People usually tend to calm down when their attention are drawn to written document.
Removes any Ambiguity Surrounding the Existence of a Company: managers and other stakeholders will not have any doubt about the primary aim of a company.
Acts as a Communication Tool: communication is very important in a business and founders or owners of an enterprise use a mission statement to communicate to their desire to other members of the company.
A Framework for Decision Making: decision makers are constantly faced with the tough challenge of making decisions that are economically sound and at the same time meet the needs of other stakeholders. A very important advantage of a mission statement is that it acts as a framework that effective managers can easily use as a guide in discharging their everyday management functions.
Five Disadvantages of Mission Statements
Can On Its Own Be Ambiguous And Worthless: the major disadvantage of a mission statement is that the chances of its design and implementation being wrong are very high. A mission statement can easily be vague, empty and at best confusing. Care must be taken to avoid this costly mistake.
Focused More On Short Term Issues And Internal In Nature: unlike a strategically set objective mission statements are known for being notoriously internal in nature and this in many cases makes it short term in nature as the problem that the founders of a company saw when establishing a company might disappear in the nearest future. Take camera film making companies as example, no one need to buy films anymore as digital cameras are the in thing. When written by a professional, a mission statement can be a very important strategic business analysis tool.
Can Sometimes Lead To Conflicts And Inconsistencies: again, when not properly developed, one part of a mission statement can contradict the other and eventually lead to conflicts and inconsistencies.
Wastes Management’s Time and Resources: just like everything that involves planning; a mission statement takes time to draw up and will be utter waste of time and resources if the ultimate reason of developing the statement is not achieved.
Can Be Unrealistic In Reality: adrenalines are usually high when we are fantasizing in our dream world of perfection. Things are not as straightforward in reality as they are on paper. A fundamental weakness of mission statements is that they in most cases turn out to be unrealistic and over optimistic by the time things starts to unfold.
BOTTOMLINE: Once you have created your mission statement — put your energy into communicating what the mission means — and living it.
Melvin Feller Business Consultants Group in Burkburnett, Dallas Texas and Lawton Oklahoma. Melvin Feller founded Melvin Feller Business Consultants Group Ministries in the 1970s to help individuals and organizations achieve their specific Victory and ministries out reach. Victory as defined by the individual or organization are achieving strategic objectives, exceeding goals, getting results or desired outcomes. He has extensive experience assisting businesses achieve top and bottom line results. He has broad practical experience creating WINNERS in many organizations and industries. He has hands-on experience in executive leadership, operations, logistics, sales, program management, organizational development, training, and customer service. He has coached teams to achieve results in strategic planning, business development, organizational design, sales, and customer response and business process improvement. He has prepared and presented many workshops nationally and internationally.