What if you had a magic compass for your business, something that would help you quickly decide if a course of action is right for you? If you have a clear and well-written mission statement, then you do have that magic compass! If you don’t have one, let’s get busy crafting one just for you.
First, what is a mission statement? How does is it different from a vision statement or a set of core values? It turns out those three – values, vision, and mission – are connected like the links in a chain.
Values are those abstract principles that are fundamental to what a person or group does and why they do it. When the French use the phrase “liberty, equality, fraternity,” they are expressing three bedrock values of their culture. When people in the U.S. sing their national anthem, they are expressing their common values of freedom, bravery and courage, and endurance in the face of hardship. Stop and consider what values you uphold in your business. Choose just one. Then add another. Then add one more. Now you have your business’ three bedrock values. (If you’re unsure, consult the list at the end of this post to see if it sparks more clarity about what is essential to your business. Think about the values you would never want to live without.)
A vision is your idea of how you want the world to be “some day.” A vision arises when you see a gap between one of your values and the way the world currently is. For example, let’s say that one of your highest values is freedom. When you encounter situations where freedom is lacking, such as poverty, discriminatory laws, or the lack of freedom that comes from living with piles of clutter, you are naturally driven to do something about it. Your vision is of a world where your values are more widely shared. A vision is often expressed as a desire, aspiration, or a future state. Consider these vision statements:
- The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action… (The American Red Cross)
- We seek to unlock the potential inside every human being. (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
Values are abstract (but powerful!) concepts and a vision describes a future state that we are working toward. But a mission statement describes what your business will do every single day. It describes the actions you will take here and now.
Examples of mission statements
Let’s look at a few strong, clear mission statements. Google says: “…our mission [is] to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Amazon’s mission, which it has followed since its founding is, “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and … to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” And here is Southwest Airlines’ mission (which they refer to as their purpose): “To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
Notice that these mission statements contain very few words, just a couple dozen at most, even though they are enormous companies! Those few words describe what they do every day. Amazon’s job is NOT to organize the world’s information, and Southwest Airlines does NOT set out to help customers shop online. Also note that these missions don’t describe what the companies will do “some day” but rather they tell what the company does (or aims to do) every day. They are focused on verbs – organize, offer, make, connect – the actions that the company is committing to.
So your mission statement describes in just a short sentence or two what your business will do every day. This is what you promise your customers will get if they come to you. You may do it imperfectly – we’re still human, after all – but to the best of your ability, this is what you do every time you interact with a client.
A clear and concise mission statement is good for you, your employees, your subcontractors, and your clients. It will:
- help you to quickly decide whether a course of action is right or wrong for your business;
- give guidance to your employees and subs, reminding them of where their focus should be;
- introduce you to clients, helping them to quickly grasp what your company offers.
Our mission statements
Here at Metropolitan Organizing, we have two missions to support our two business focuses. For the individual organizing client, we help them manage the challenges of everyday life. That’s our mission. When clients come to us, they can expect that they will not get search results or mail-order books or discounted airfare; they will get help managing their challenges using the techniques and tools of the organizing trade, including managing their paper, spaces, and schedule.
Subcontractors know that their aim during every moment they’re working with our clients is to help them manage their everyday challenges. And as the owner, I know that we are always looking for ways to make it easier for clients to access that help.
And we have a second mission. When the client is a professional organizer, my mission is to help them reach their goals and build their own successful, sustainable, and lucrative organizing business. That’s the mission I’m on every day. When a professional organizer hires me, they can expect that I will supply help for them to reach their goals.
A well-crafted mission will be give guidance every time you make a decision. Ask yourself:
- Do my marketing tactics reach the people who it is my mission to help?
- If I write a book or start a podcast, will that substantially further my mission?
- Are my payment methods and pricing structure tailor-made to support my mission?
Evaluate every aspect of your business – your personnel policies, advertising, training and continuing education plans, package deals – with an eye to whether they support your mission to the greatest possible extent.
Once you have developed a clear and concise statement of your mission, you can expect it to change very little over time. While your annual plans may shift and develop as your gain experience and your clients’ needs evolve, your mission statement continues to provide the steady compass.
Guiding your business to greater success is easier when you are guided by a well-crafted mission statement.
If you’re a pro organizer who would like help clarifying your mission statement (or any other questions you have about growing a lucrative, sustainable organizing business), call me for organizer coaching.
Choose one, then a second one, then a third. Do not limit yourself to the words on this list.
- Achievement, Adventure, Altruism, Ambition, Assertiveness
- Balance, Beauty, Being proper, Belonging, Boldness
- Challenge, Change, Clarity, Commitment, Community, Compassion, Competition, Connection, Consistency, Contentment, Contribution, Control, Cool-ness, Cooperation, Courage, Courtesy, Creativity, Curiosity
- Democracy, Dependability, Diligence, Discipline, Diversity, Duty
- Effectiveness, Efficiency, Elegance, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Equality, Excellence, Expertise
- Fairness, Faith, Family, Fidelity, Fitness, Focus, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun
- Generosity, Gratitude, Growth
- Happiness, Health, Honesty, Honor, Humility
- Independence, Ingenuity, Intelligence, Intuition
- Joy, Justice
- Leadership, Learning, Legacy, Love, Loyalty
- Obedience, Openness, Order, Originality
- Patriotism, Perfection, Piety, Positivity, Practicality, Preparedness, Punctuality
- Reliability, Resourcefulness, Restraint
- Security, Self-actualization, Self-control, Selflessness, Self-reliance, Serenity, Service, Simplicity, Spontaneity, Stability, Strength, Success
- Thoughtfulness, Thrift, Tolerance, Tradition, Trustworthiness
- Uniqueness, Unity, Usefulness