Why Are You in Business?


I work with a lot of start-up business owners. Early in my time with them the question of “Why are you in business” comes up. While I get a lot of answers about making money, supporting myself, got tired of the rat race, none of them is the one answer that starts a business on its path to success. That answer involves the true purpose of the business, its mission, and vision statement. That short, most likely no longer than a 30-second read, statement that determines your plan for success.

While you might say, “I’m making money, I’m successful” what you aren’t considering it what it costs you in time, effort, money, materials and a host of other things to do that. A mission Statement for your business establishes the first step of a plan for your business. According to Burke, A., Fraser, S., & Greene, F. J. in the Journal of Management Studies, “…those businesses that plan are 30% more productive and grew faster and were more successful than those that didn’t plan.”

I’m not talking about a full-blown 50-page business plan either. I am talking about 2 key parts of any business, Your Mission Statement and the Vision you have for your business. Yes, some businesses become successful without planning, but significantly more, with a plan, are more successful. Isn’t success what you want?

Let me put it to you this way, Would you go camping, fishing or grocery shopping without a plan? Even if that plan was nothing more than a list of things you don’t want to forget, it is a plan. Business shouldn’t be any different.

Your mission statement the first step of your Plans. It should answer some very basic questions. Questions like:

• Who is your company?
• What does it do? Why do you do it?
• Who do you do it for and why?
• What do you do for your customers?

Let’s look at my vision statement as an example:
“We are the primary resource for business tools, training, education, coaching and RESULTS that focus on the challenges of small businesses”
That answers every question above. We are business educators with business tools, we train businesses that we then coach to get the desired results they want.

So ask yourself, what is YOUR BUSINESSES mission Statement?

To write one for your business simply jot down some answers to the questions above. Then, set them aside and come back to them later. Expand what you wrote. Writing a mission statement takes time. It can take weeks or even months. You want it right because you really don’t want to change your statement once it is finished.

While you are developing your mission statement you have to have goals for your business, what do you expect your business to accomplish? Commonly called a vision statement it is nothing more than a way to communicate business goals, and be a tool for strategic decision-making in your business. Further, your vision statement, unlike your mission statement, is forward looking. It is your plan of attack for the future of your business.

It doesn’t have to be long, it can be a single sentence. Or, it can be a paragraph or a series of statements. My Goals (vision statement) for my business are:

  • To design, develop and distribute high quality simple, effective and entrepreneurial tools and processes for small business owners.
  • To be the primary resource for tools, educational and training materials for those providing support and assistance to small business owners of less than 50 employees.
  • To be a resource for small business owners desiring to sustainably manage their business while achieving their goals and dreams.
  • To be a resource for all size businesses in the development of their workforce through Coaching, Education, and Training.
  • To be a resource for those businesses and service to small business owners.

Everything my business does now, tomorrow and anytime in the future must correspond to those statements. If it doesn’t, we probably shouldn’t do it. Your goals and vision statement should have the same guidance for your business. When you write your vision statement:

  1. Look 3,5 or even 10 years into the future.
  2. Use plain language to help everyone understand it.
  3. Show passion in what you write, use words with emotion.
  4. Once written, have a plan to communicate to your workforce.

Commit to your statement, don’t make it just words in a frame on the wall.
Your Mission and Vision statements are your businesses future. Without them you are just floating along. With them, your business has a significantly greater chance to thrive, making your dreams a reality.