5 Steps to Revising Your Mission Statement

Barbara Weltman Is the reason you started your business still the driving force for you now? Maybe it’s time to take another look at your mission statement and revise it.

1. Review your existing statement. Every business owner starts his or her company for a reason. Hopefully, you’ve written down the purpose of your company by creating a mission statement. This is often part of a business plan.

Briefly, a mission statement is your company’s moral or ethical position and its guiding principle. To paraphrase President Kennedy, it isn’t about what your business can do for you, but what you can do for others.

The statement should also include your target market (e.g., Amazon’s mission statement: “Amazon.com seeks to be the world’s most customercentric company, where customers can find and discover anything they may want to buy online at a great price”) and a clue about your products or services (e.g., Pfizer Pharmaceutical’s mission statement: “We dedicate ourselves to humanity’s quest for longer, healthier, happier lives through innovation in pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products”).

The mission statement is your reminder of what your want your business to represent, what you hope to accomplish and why you go to work each day. For example, Walt Disney’s mission is “To make people happy.” 3M works “To solve unsolved problems innovatively.”

2. List your current objectives. What do you want to achieve for your customers? For your staff? For the world? Write down five to 10 objectives. Then prioritize these objectives, with 1 as the most important and 10 as the least important. Obviously, your number 1 and number 2 objectives are the most important and should be the core of your revised mission statement.

3. Renew your passion. If you had to do it all over, how would you define the reason for your business’s existence? Does your passion jive with your current objectives? What are your objectives for the future?

Reach for the stars. Your mission does not have to be limited by what you think you can accomplish. Rather, define yourself by what you hope to accomplish. For example, in the early 1990’s, Ford Motor Company’s mission statement was “Ford will democratize the automobile,” a mission statement was “Ford will democratize the automobile,” a mission that seemed virtually unattainable in the horse-and-buggy days.

4. Recognize changes. The world, or you, may be in a different place from when you started your business. Recognize that some changes may have an impact on what you hope to achieve. For example, in 1950, Boeing’s mission statement was to “Become the dominant player in commercial aircraft and bring the world into the jet age.” With this mission accomplished, over the years Boeing’s new mission statement has become: “To push the leading edge of aviation, taking huge challenges doing what others cannot do.”

5. Write your revised statement. Armed with your new vision for the future, write your new statement. Limit the statement to a sentence or two that encapsulates your passion, product/services and ethics. Now those are words to live by (at least for the next several years)!

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Category: Entrepreneurship
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