Leadership

Creating a Mission Statement

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A mission statement is used to constantly remind your staff what you want to deliver to customers who come in contact with your business. It’s a document that outlines who you are as a business, why customers are important, and how you plan to serve them.

You need to clearly define the vision for your business before you write a mission statement. Many business owners confuse mission statements with vision statements. They go hand-in-hand, but they’re not the same. The vision statement outlines your overall outlook for the business, which helps define the mission statement—exactly how you plan to achieve that vision through daily operations.

You can write your mission statement once you clearly define your company vision. A mission statement should define three major things:

1. What does your business do? Outline the work that your business performs, and the various services you offer. Highlight whether you specialize in any certain areas, such as hybrid vehicles, electrical repair, transmission repair or general service. You can’t be all things to all people, so it’s essential to clearly identify your main functions of work.  

2. How do you operate your business for customers? Identify your goals for customer service, and the specific strategies used to execute on those goals.

Many shops create mission statements that say, “We will exceed every customer’s expectations.” That’s actually a vision-type statement. For your mission, you need to define exactly how you will exceed the customer’s expectations.

A proper example would be, “We will give every customer an accurate estimate of repairs prior to starting the job. We will diagnose every situation before providing a price quote and an estimate of the time required to make the repair. We will give every customer a written promise of the quality workmanship we perform. We will return every vehicle to our customers cleaner than when they came in.”

3. Who are your customers? Define who your customer base is, and the demographic you plan to market your services to. Without a clear understanding of that, you could end up making questionable advertising and marketing decisions. You’ll waste money on efforts that don’t bring in the type of customers you wanted.

Start writing out these elements of your mission statement. It could be several pages long at first, but edit the information down to make it as concise as possible. Ideally, the mission statement would fit on one page. This forces you to translate long descriptions of where you want to go into a few words that your staff and customers can quickly see and understand.

Make sure your mission statement is communicated once it’s created. Successful businesses are the ones that put their mission statement out for every employee and customer to see throughout their facility and on their website. Everyone who comes in contact with your business should be able to easily see how you plan to deliver on your values and goals every day.

Reassess your mission statement regularly. It should not be permanently chiseled in stone; it should be a living document that evolves as your business grows and changes. If your mission statement was written long ago, it may not have any meaning to how your business operates today.

Evaluate your mission statement annually by asking these questions: Are we still doing what we wanted to do when the business started? Are we still doing things the way we wanted when the business started? Are we still targeting the same types of customers that we wanted when the business started?

Creating a mission statement helps shop operators look over the horizon and develop a clear path toward achieving future business goals. Owners are able to refocus on who they are, what they want to be, and how well they’re achieving their business objectives.

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