When someone comes to me for consultation the first question is always: What is your company’s mission? If they don’t know the answer, we start there. Even in my book ‘The Five Step Marketing Plan’, the first thing I talk about is mission.
Without a mission you cannot decide whether anything you are doing is worthwhile – you have nothing to strive for.
What is a company mission?
It is important to know where you are going, and most importantly, why you are going there. A mission answers both these questions. A mission statement is your purpose for your company. It has to be big, bold and understood. For example, ‘We are going to sell stuff’ is a bad mission statement. It’s not big, bold or understood by your customers. They don’t care whether you make money or not – they care about the benefits to them.
A good mission statement would be: “We will change the lives of all women through affordable sanitary products.” This is everything a mission statement should be. It can guide a company and help it decide things. If someone comes to you with something that won’t help women, or is expensive, then it’s against your mission and you should rethink your approach. To better look at this let’s take one of the most famous missions of all time – The mission to the moon.
Why is a company mission so important?
When President Kennedy said that America was going to the moon, he gave everyone in America a purpose. Then, when anyone wanted to decide whether something was a good idea or not, they could ask the question: “Is this going to get us closer to the moon?” If it was, great – crack on. If it wasn’t – then think again as to why you are doing it. Many people see missions as constricting, but America’s mission to the moon had many benefits for society. From microwaves to better safety and processes. It’s true that none of these were intentional, but the mission of going to the moon required new thinking, and with new thinking comes better ways of doing things.
A good mission provides focus by showing whether what you are doing right now is getting you closer to, or further away from, your goal. Once you have that, you can then decide in what way you are going to approach that goal (values), what thing you need to do first (priorities), and how you are going to get other people to understand what you are doing (branding and marketing).