In starting a small business, many owners lead hectic schedules trying to spur orders and keep customers happy. But as business continues to grow and operations fall into a routine, opportunities surface to reflect on the company’s ultimate direction and purpose.
Some companies exist to meet a community need like making copies. Others offer supplemental services, such as house sitting or dog grooming. Many provide social services, like free meals or affordable housing.
Whatever your company’s reason for being, it is important to keep an eye on its growth and the direction in which it is headed. Sometimes an organization can change directions as it builds momentum. This can work well, but needs to be charted as the owner attempts to monitor and strengthen the business.
A useful strategy for guiding a company’s future direction is the mission statement. Typically comprising a few sentences or paragraphs, a mission statement summarizes and describes the organizational goal, and sometimes, how that goal will be met. Developing a written mission statement from a generally understood principle of operation can be quite a task, one that demands the participation of key decision-makers. But the result can help to solidify the organization and enhance its public image to impress customers and the general public.
If you are part of a small company that could use a renewed sense of direction, suggest that a mission statement be created by a committee of company representatives or department heads. These people should seek input from others in their work areas so that everyone has a sense of buy-in and a voice in defining the company’s mission. Ideas can be solicited by email or a suggestion box. Or each department can brainstorm thoughts about where the company is headed and what it should try to accomplish.
The committee can meet to discuss and organize employee feedback. Analyzing responses may lead to a consensus about the direction most believe that the company should follow. But committee members may need to hammer out further agreement on details and wording to come up with a mission statement draft.
The draft can be circulated to all staff at that point for editing changes and approval. When that round of changes has been made, and the mission approved by a popular vote at a company-wide meeting, the mission may be adopted and implemented.
Have the new mission statement printed on a plaque and mounted in visible areas, such as the lobby or foyer, each person’s work station, and factory areas. In addition, it can be published in the company newsletter or annual report along with a link on the Web site. Everyone in the company should know what the mission is, believe in its value, and work to implement it in their daily work.
A handful of words can do much to rally employees around a unifying idea and organize job tasks to meet a specific objective. Over time the mission may need to be revised as the company changes or grows. Having a mission statement can bind each person to the rest in establishing a common goal.A handful of words