Mission Statement? Are you kidding me?

Star pencil
Star Pencil by Doug Wheller*

Does your company have a mission statement?  You ask why, and what does it have to do with selling my company?  Isn’t that fluffy stuff, that doesn’t have any real meaning?

I’m not concerned with a mission statement with regard to your day-to-day business—though you should be.  I need a mission statement when I am retained to sell your business.

In selling your company, the mission statement sets the tone. It is the first descriptor of your business.  As part of the sales process, we create an executive summary, sales memorandum and company presentation.  And, what is my 30 second sales pitch when I’m calling a potential buyer?  The mission statement feeds into all of these items.

If we start with a potent mission statement, we help any potential buyer quickly assess how the company could play as part of his current business.

Most companies start out life with a mission statement, but over time the company changes and morphs into different shapes and sizes, and the mission statement becomes outdated, old, and stale.  And in the daily press of business, no one is paying attention.

It is may be time to sit down and rethink how to articulate your Company’s identity and your mission.

Some mission statements, I like:

Aflac

To combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers

Ann Taylor Stores

“To inspire and connect with our clients to put their best selves forward every day.”

Intel

The mission of the Intel technology company is about the relentless pursuit to continue to be an essential part of people’s lives and work.

Nike

To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world

Oracle

Powering innovation by simplifying IT

Some mission statements I like less:

Avon Products

Avon’s mission is focused on six core aspirations the company continually strives to achieve:

    • Leader in global beauty: Build a unique portfolio of beauty and related brands, striving to surpass competitors in quality, innovation, and value, and elevating Avon’s image to become the world’s most trusted beauty company.
    • Women’s choice for buying: Become the shopping destination for women, providing a personal, high-touch experience that helps create lifelong customer relationships.
    • Premier direct-selling company: Expand Avon’s presence in direct selling, empowering women to achieve economic independence by offering a superior earnings opportunity as well as recognition, service and support, making it easy and rewarding to be affiliated with Avon
    • Most admired company: Deliver superior returns to shareholders by pursuing new growth opportunities while maintaining a commitment to be a responsible, ethical company and a global corporate citizen that is held as a model of success
    • Best place to work: Elevate the company’s leadership, including its high standards, respect for diversity, and commitment to helping Associates achieve their highest potential in a positive work environment
    • To have the largest foundation dedicated to women’s causes: Be a committed global champion for the health and well-being of women through philanthropic efforts, with a focus on breast cancer, domestic violence and women’s empowerment

Barnes & Nobles

Our mission is to operate the best specialty retail business in America, regardless of the product we sell.  Because the product we sell is books, our aspirations must be consistent with the promise and the ideals of the volumes which line our shelves.  To say that our mission exists independent of the product we sell is to demean the importance and the distinction of being booksellers.

As booksellers we are determined to be the very best in our business, regardless of the size, pedigree or inclinations of our competitors.  We will continue to bring our industry nuances of style and approaches to bookselling which are consistent with our evolving aspirations.

Above all, we expect to be a credit to the communities we serve, a valuable resource to our customers, and a place where our dedicated booksellers can grow and prosper. Toward this end we will not only listen to our customers and booksellers but embrace the idea that the Company is at their service.

Avon and Barnes & Nobles’ mission statements go on and on.  Is it a mere coincidence that they are struggling corporations?  Nike’s mission statement is impressive and tight:  eleven words that capture their essence.  Oracle’s mission statement is five words.  Only Larry Ellison.

You’ll notice that there is some correlation, though we are dealing with the law of small numbers.  The companies that tend to be highly regarding have succinct, almost pithy, pointed mission statements that capture their essence.   You immediately identify them and say “Yes, that’s them.”

And you ask, what is BLP’s mission statement?  We’re the cobbler’s child, running around the neighborhood without shoes.  As a first try:

“To work with entrepreneurs to obtain funding and liquidity for their companies.”

What is your company’s mission statement?

Have you thought about a personal mission statement?  That caught my attention.  No, I don’t have a personal mission statement, but I’m thinking about it.

*Source:  Flickr