On a mission – Savvy Solutions

On a mission – Savvy Solutions – designing mission statements

Alan Hughes

QA What type of information is included in a mission statement? How long should it be?

–J. Jones Via the Internet

A mission statement is just that–a statement. It should convey the goal and ideals of the company and its employees without being long and drawn out. Disney has a great one that’s just four words: “To make people happy.”

Though a statement that’s terse doesn’t necessarily work for every business, your mission statement should be no longer than a few concise but informative sentences. It should explain what your company does and why.

As you create your mission statement, consider the following concepts:

* The moral/ethical position of the enterprise

* The desired public image for the company

* The key strategic influence for the business

* A description of the business’ target market

* A description of its products/services

* The geographic domain

* Expectations of growth and profitability

For inspiration, I’d recommend reading The Mission Statement Book: 301 Corporate Mission Statements from America’s Top Companies by Jeffrey Abrahams (Ten Speed Press; $24.95). It lists mission statements from many corporate giants. For instructional guidance, I recommend The Mission Primer: Four Steps to an Effective Mission Statement by Richard O’Hallaron and David O’Hallaron (Mission Incorporated; $19), which lays out simple instructions on creating and adhering to your corporate vision.

Keep in mind that along with a business or succession plan, mission statements should be updated as your company evolves. Don’t be afraid to revisit the statement when needed.

Mail your small business questions to Savvy Solutions, BLACK ENTERPRISE 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 or send an e-mail to hughesa@blackenterprise.com.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group