You have an idea for a business: do you need a company mission?

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If you have decided to draw up a reliable business plan, then after solving the problem of the legal form of the business, it is time to specify the answer to the question – why set up your own company.

The mission of a company is like a person’s life mission – when it has been consciously established, it is easier to achieve customer satisfaction, plan sales, design new products or train employees. Thanks to it, it is possible to determine exactly who will buy our products and with whom we will compete in the market. Management specialists agree that if a company’s mission is not established early enough, the adage – if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll get somewhere else – almost always comes true.

A mission statement is a precise statement of the far-sighted intentions and aspirations of the company’s founders. It should be formulated in simple terms so that new employees can quickly understand and remember it. John Nowak must remember that the mission statement directly reflects his visions for the company in the future. When in 1961 J. F. Kennedy formulated the mission of his presidency for the next 10 years with the words: “By the end of the decade, an American will have set his foot on the moon,” everyone was amazed at the magnitude of the president’s intentions. The Japanese company Komatsu, which more than 40 years ago set one timeless goal: “Beat Catepillar,” the company’s competitor in the construction machinery market, looked similarly ahead.

If you are thinking about developing your venture, you must not forget your dreams, even if they are still impossible to achieve today. Nokia’s mission – Connecting people – is recognized around the world today, and just 30 years ago the company was producing paper and wellingtons. Only the courage and dreams of the company’s managers have led to the fact that it is today at the forefront of electronics concerns.

The third feature you need to consider when constructing a mission statement is its credibility. It must be consistent with what the company can give to customers. Complicated sentences about high quality products and great customer service will be of no use if employees cannot live up to such a premise. The credibility of the mission statement of companies like Toyota Motor Company – “That car in front is Toyota” or Microsoft – “We will play a leading role in computer software” both employees and customers can check on a daily basis.

It is best when a company’s mission statement is in simple, concise form. An example would be the phrase “Absolutely, certainly, within 24 hours” of the airline company “Federal Express”. However, this is not the rule, as the ABB conglomerate has developed a 32-page mission statement that includes detailed assumptions from many areas of the company’s business.

When defining a company’s mission statement, it is useful to use frequently used words that mean:

  • values, such as inspiring trust, innovation, hard work, professionalism, ability to take risks, honesty, loyalty,
  • experience, i.e. the owners’ past reputation, overseas operations, traditions in doing business in a particular industry,
  • goals, i.e. striving for excellence, helping others, competitiveness or rapid growth.

In my next post, I’ll show you how to formulate the company’s goals, which follow directly from the mission statement.