I hate Mission Statements. There I said it. There is absolutely no reason to waste good time on a paragraph of words that no one looks at, lives by, or is inspired by. Do NOT create a Mission Statement. If you must, here are all the words you need: excel, inspire, create, serve, endure, success, and forge. Man, I had to struggle to write that last sentence. Yuck!
Instead of a Mission Statement, make a Vision Statement. What’s the difference? Peanut Butter!
I wrote recently about listening to elevator pitches from MBA candidates and I started thinking about a speech I heard from Ray Barton, CEO of Great Clips, Inc, who instructed new franchisees to the chain to create a vision statement. Ray said that a Vision Statement is more than a bunch of words, it is your vision for your business. (I may be paraphrasing. It’s been some months since I heard him speak those words). The idea is to have something you can describe in vivid detail how it works and where you see the business going.
Mission Statements are an endgame approach to describing business. It’s a “This is what we do” statement. Vision Statements paint a picture of what success is and the path it is on. Ask Ray what he sees when he thinks of Great Clips and in a few words will make you want to buy a franchise to be a part of that vision. There are only a few people I have met in my life that make be thankful for having the time to speak with. Ray is one of those people. He paints a picture you can see yourself in.
OK, so where does the peanut butter fit in? When you describe your family or your favorite car or something you love. You have words that make the description stick. Those are peanut butter words. It’s those words that are still on the tip of your tongue after you hear someone talk about something they are passionate about. As the listener, you internalize those words like they mean the same thing to you. If you can’t describe your business with the same kind of peanut butter words that you would use to describe something you love, sell and get out before the business sells you out.
To describe what I do, I say:
“I use small wins to make small business owners successful.”
I am asked for the magic bullets all the time. Those are my peanut butter words. The bullets I use are the Bulldog Rules for Business on the second tab of this website. It makes people interested in what I do. I never want to sound like I am bored telling you what I do. A Mission Statement will do that. I also don’t want to be glib and say, “I increase sales and lower costs for business owners.” What sticks there? Nothing!
When you say your Vision Statement, be creative, inventive (no one says you have to use real words), and keep changing it up. Your business is never the same form one day to the next day. Why should your description of it stay the same?
Inspire me with your peanut butter words too. I bet there is a Peanut Butter phrase that will make me talk about YOU next. As of now, we have more than three dozen countries reading this blog and more joining every week. I would love nothing more than to give you a forum for highlighting your business, job, or talent. That is why I created this site in the first place. Which country has the best Vision Statement? I guess we will see who grows the tastiest peanut butter.