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, vision, and value 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 or a set of core values? It turns out those three – mission, vision, and value statement – 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 express three bedrock values of their culture. When people in the U.S. sing their national anthem, they express 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 of values at the end of this post. It might spark 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 “someday.” 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 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. For instance, 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.” Next, take a look at 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 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. Likewise, Southwest Airlines does not set out to help customers shop online. Also, note that these missions don’t describe what the companies will do “someday,” 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.
Clear and Concise
A clear and concise mission statement is good for you, your employees, subcontractors, and 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 quickly grasp what your company offers.
Our Mission Statements
For 17 years, Metropolitan Organizing had a two-part mission. For the individual organizing client, we helped them with all things related to Managing Modern Life®. That was our mission. When clients came to us, they expected us to assist them using techniques and tools of the organizing trade, including managing their papers, spaces, and schedules.
Furthermore, subcontractors knew that their aim during every client appointment was to help them manage their everyday challenges. And as the owner, I knew that we were always looking for ways to make it easier for clients to access that help.
Today, Metropolitan Organizing has a narrower focus, and therefore the mission statement is more focused. Our clients are professional organizers and productivity consultants in the USA and Canada. Metropolitan Organizing’s mission statement is To help professional organizers start and scale successful businesses. The statement is intentionally direct and written in plain, easy-to-understand language. Helping professional organizers reach their goals and build their own successful, sustainable, and lucrative organizing business is the goal.
A well-crafted mission guides you 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, 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 a well-crafted mission statement guides you.
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
If you’re a pro organizer who would like help clarifying your mission, vision, and value statement (or any other questions you have about growing a lucrative, sustainable organizing business), call me for organizer coaching.