Establishing a Business Mission
by Ron Kurtus (revised 20 November 2011)
Whether you are starting a new company or improving an existing one, you should define its purpose for existence. Then it is important to have a mission, plans and a vision for your company or business enterprise.
Questions you may have include:
- What factors are in the purpose of a business?
- How do you define a mission?
- What about a business concept?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Define purpose of company
There are three reasons to start or operate a business. They are to make money, to help others, and to gain satisfaction. Their order depends on your personal goals and whether the business is a for-profit business or non-profit organization.
Business for profit
If you have a business for profit, you can define your purpose by examining your reasons and their order of importance. They are usually to make money, gain satisfaction and benefit society.
The primary purpose or reason to start a business entity is to earn profits for its owners or stockholders. For the sake of public relations, such a statement is kept private.
The secondary motivation is to provide some sort of satisfaction or enjoyment for the owner. People usually start and run businesses in areas that they are interested in and enjoy.
The third reason to run a business is to be able to help others and to do good for society. It is true that leaders of many companies don't think about helping others, but the ones that are truly fulfilled and the companies that are truly successful realize that this is also important.
Some have another order
There are companies that are run with these three items in a different order. This is similar to people who have a hobby they enjoy and that is their primary motivation. Getting money for them is just something extra.
The motivations to start and operate a non-profit organization are the same as for a business, except that the emphasis is changed.
The primary purpose of a non-profit organization is to help those in need, to solve a problem, and/or to benefit society.
On the other hand, the purpose of a non-profit organization or government agency is to provide a specific service that will fulfill a need and benefit its constituents.
Although the organization is non-profit, it is still a business and needs money in order to continue functioning. Such organizations primarily depend on donations, but often they are in exchange for a service (like a church service) or some product (some stamps sent in the mail).
People who get involved in charitable or non-profit organizations usually do so because they are interested and concerned about the charity, and they enjoy doing the work they do.
Means to achieve purpose
The company needs a means to achieve the purpose of making money. The owners must have an idea of a product or service to provide to a specific market or group of people (customers).
A non-profit organization or government agency needs a means to solve problems of its constituents. Their idea is to provide a specific service that will fulfill a need and benefit its constituents.
State your mission
Once the purpose and means have been established, the business should also have a mission to achieve.
Usually, a person or organization is sent on a mission by higher authorities to help others or to solve a problem. For example, church leaders sent missionaries to help spread their religion. Also, military leaders sent troops on a mission to "liberate" some area.
In business, the company leader establishes a mission to provide a benefit to a group of society. For example, a gambling casino has a stated mission of providing entertainment for its customers.
Non-profit organizations usually have the missions reversed, with the primary purpose of helping people or society, and a secondary and unstated mission of making enough money to stay viable.
A Mission Statement is not the commonly seen: "Our mission is to be the best producer of...and a leader in...etc." To me, that is meaningless tripe.
Define your business concept
In order to make money and to benefit mankind, you need to define a good business concept or idea. You must formally state what business you are in, what you sell, and who is your target market.
This can be simply stated as: "We are in the business is providing (specific goods or services) to a (specific group of customers or clients)."
Sometimes you can combine your mission and business definition. For example, an automobile manufacturer or retailer could say: "We are in the business of providing safe, reliable personal ground transportation to the general public."
You should also be aware of your core competencies. What are you good at? Often companies become diluted and start to get into field that they think are lucrative but in which they are not competent.
Define your vision
You can never stay in one place in business. Either you are moving forward or moving backwards. In order to move forward, you should really know where you want to go. That is your Vision of the future for your company.
You can state your vision in terms of profits and market share. Or you could plan to achieve some goals in bettering the lot of your customers or society. This vision should be written down.
Again, care must be taken in publicly stating monetary visions, because of the possible bad impression it may make.
It is important to define the purpose for the existence of your business. Then you need to have a mission and vision for your company or business enterprise.
Leadership requires a vision of the future
Resources and references
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