Do you have a “mission statement” for your business? Recently, we had a very talented, experienced and intelligent manager join our business. As she dug in to learning about our company, and our culture, she asked if we had a mission statement.

I replied “no, I don’t believe in them”. I went on to say that I think most mission statements are crap! Pretty strong opinion, but not unusual for those who know me. I also told her that we could develop one if our team felt we needed one and if we could come up with one that really encapsulates why we are in business.

I don’t think we can. For one thing we’re on different “missions” depending on what we do in the business. For another most “mission statements” are boring and not inspirational. They all sound alike! So, we don’t have one…

What I like much more are principles. Like “take care of the customer” and “make mistakes, break things, so we can learn and improve”. Principles teach us, and can inspire us, much more than mission statements.

Having said that I do think that it’s important for entrepreneurs to know why they are in business and to communicate those reasons to their teams. It’s important to clarify your reasons. This allows you to judge your own actions to make sure you are in alignment with yourself. It is also helpful to team members to know what you believe, so that they will know if they are in the right place or need to be somewhere else.

Here are my “reasons for being in business”:

  1. To provide an opportunity for everyone on the team to maximize their potential, and realize their professional dreams, on our team with no need to go anywhere else.
  2. To maximize the opportunity for our partner agencies to develop to their potential and improve the lives of our partners, their employees and families
  3. To have fun while doing #1 and #2!

My belief is that if we can adhere to these three things the quality of our service, the loyalty and longevity of our team, the value of our business proposition and the quality of our work lives are all assured.

Why are you in business?

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