Becoming successful takes time and effort. You need to be dedicated, motivated, inspirational, and viable. You need to get your employees on board, too. From the smallest mom and pop operation to the largest multinational giant, we all need help if we hope to grow our business and expand our potential.
The key is to get everybody involved pulling in the same direction. With the combined potential of your entire crew working toward success, your chances of achieving the dream increase tremendously.
The problem is, how do you know what success is? Is it strictly financial? Are you focused on expanding your market? Is your true goal to shift from being a local entity to being a regional provider of services? Success is subjective. You have to decide what success means to you before you can achieve it in a meaningful way.
Planning is a big part of finding success. You can get up at the crack of dawn and work tirelessly until the wee hours, but if you're not doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, your efforts may all be for naught. You need direction, and so do your employees.
The first step in the planning process for most successful companies is the creation of a mission statement. That statement is typically a short, concise paragraph that describes exactly what you are trying to achieve with your business. Consider these success stories.
“FedEx Corporation will produce superior financial returns for its shareholders by providing high value-added logistics, transportation and related business services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners, and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.”
FedEx’s mission statement is a bit wordy, but it makes its point. In fact, with the company’s focus on safety, building relationships, and establishing superior financial returns, the FedEx mission statement would make be an admirable guide for any company.
Amazon.com is much more concise in its statement. “Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
There’s no fancy footwork with that one. Amazon wants to focus on the satisfaction of their customers above all else, and to attract customers by offering them whatever they might want to buy. Who could argue with that?
Facebook’s mission statement is even more brief. “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
In each case the mission statement represents a simple but profoundly important standard the company wants to establish for itself. As time goes on, technology changes, personnel come and go, and the economy shifts, the employees and officers of the company can always go back to the mission statement to refresh their memories. It answers the question, “Why are we here? What were we trying to do with this company, anyway?”
It’s never too late. If you don’t have a mission statement that sets your flight school off in the right direction, create one. Take your time, think about what your real goals are, and commit them to paper. Then, do what the big boys do. Make your mission statement public. Show it to your employees. Post it for your customers to see. Commit it to memory and learn to live and work to the standards it sets every day.
A great mission statement may not set you on the path to being the next FedEx, Amazon.com, or Facebook all by itself. But then again…