One of the first steps in starting a business is to define what you want to do and why you want to do it. This will help you focus your ideas more clearly and allow you to start making specific plans.
Defining Your Purpose:
When starting a business, first decide what you want to achieve. Known as your business “vision,” this is a long-term view of what your business will become. To then help make that vision become a reality, identify why you want to start this business and not another. For example, you may want to open a travel agency, but why? It may be because you want to offer exciting trips, to serve a particular market, or because you simply see it as a way to make money. This is the “purpose” behind your business vision.
Use this to inform your decisions and to focus your plans. For instance, an agency offering unique vacations would be planned differently from one aimed at only making money. Your vision and purpose embody your business, which you can use when deciding your strategies and planning your working procedures and practices. Share them with other people involved in your business from the start, including investors, customers, clients, and staff by encapsulating them in a “mission statement” that sums up you and your business.
Setting Out Your Values:
While deciding the vision and purpose of your business, also consider the values you want to uphold, such as honesty, integrity, value for money, and passion. These provide a map and compass to guide your decision-making and should be reflected in how the business operates. Incorporate these values throughout the business, and communicate them with others so that everyone dealing with you knows what you stand for. For example, a travel agency catering to older travelers may choose “commitment, quality, adventure, and luxury” as its business values.
Creating A Mission Statement:
A mission statement is a written declaration that clarifies the purpose of your business—what it does, who it does it for, and how it does it. It should be concise and give clear answers to three key questions:
- What? Define the products or services that your business provides.
- Who for? Say who your products or services are designed for.
- How? Explain how your customers’ aspirations will be met.
Your mission statement not only provides focus for you, but it also serves as inspiration for others. It can be used to help attract and motivate staff, giving them a clear set of values to follow and a keen sense of what the business does and why. It can also be an important marketing tool, projecting a precise image of your business’s unique identity—its brand—to the outside world, helping attract customers and clients. However, it is essential to demonstrate the values you portray, as failure to do so can undermine the message.
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