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Strictly Business: Crafting Your Mission Statement in Four Easy Steps
Posted May 7, 2010 Print Version     Page 1of 1

I've devoted quite a bit of my space here to the importance of setting goals for your video production business: regular financial goals, customer service goals, and goals for what your marketing and advertising is supposed to do.

I do this because I believe that the process of coming up with goals, writing them down, and then consciously setting out to attain them is of critical importance to the success of your business, regardless of its size.
Earl Nightingale, one of the world's foremost experts on success, remarked, "People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. It's as simple as that."

If you agree with me—and the good Mr. Nightingale—on the importance of goal setting, why not take a few minutes right now and articulate a mission statement for your own video production enterprise?

First, wipe that smirk off your face. Yes, most customers and prospects won't bother to read your mission statement-even when you have it engraved on a bronze plate, put a photo of an eagle in flight on it, and hang it in your conference room or editing studio.

But just because you're a one- or two-person operation—head of your own multihundred-dollar corporation—doesn't mean you should head off into the daily fray without having your mission in mind. The concept works for any business, regardless of size; and you can bet the most successful businesses-large and small-have definite goals in mind.

There's a reason the smart set-the operators of those successful businesses-bother with things such as mission statements. It's because they know that your vision, as it's translated into a workable statement, becomes a real part of the entire branding process-simply because that statement defines what your company is all about. That's why it's such a great tool; it helps you to stay focused on your goals, and what you're going to do to accomplish them, while serving your clients in the best way possible.

We need these kinds of things. We're human. We get distracted easily; we tend to stray off the path from time to time. We start to think that our business consists only of getting the clients, getting the work done, getting the paperwork done, and getting the money in, and ... rinse and repeat. Yes, you can certainly run your business that way, but having a mission statement-and following it-helps keep us motivated, and it keeps us on the sunny side of Success Street.

Now, when I say "mission statement," I'm not talking some overblown document that goes on for pages and pages and is posted somewhere in public view. The best mission statements tend to be three to four sentences long. I wrote my own down on a cocktail napkin while celebrating Mardi Gras in a little New Orleans joint. It got a little damp, but it still works for me.

All a good mission statement has to do is articulate the purpose of your company in a way that keeps you, and anyone else connected to the business, motivated.

And it's best if you say it in down-to-earth, easily understandable terms. Here's an example:

The mission of Acme Video Services is to offer the residents of Easytown professional and polished location video services at competitive prices. Acme Video will make a healthy profit for John and Sharon Doe, owners of the company, and provide a rewarding work environment for its employees.

I told you it was going to be simple! Those two sentences said a lot. First, they spelled out our audience: "the residents of Easytown." You can always amend this to include the surrounding suburbs, a larger metro area, your county, or your state. But to get started, let's work with what we've got.

The second thing this mission statement does is to remind us of our excellence: "professional and polished location video services." This reminds us to look and act like professionals; we don't show up in old Zeppelin tees and cargo shorts unless the situation demands it.

The third thing these two sentences articulate is our reward. By that, I mean, our end goal: "a healthy profit" and "a rewarding work environment ... for employees."

If we looked at this statement every morning and kept it in mind as we went about the day-to-day business of operating Acme Video, how could we lose?

You're very welcome to take my example and do a mashup that fits your own business situation. But you may want to put a little more time into crafting one. That's fine. Just don't get hung up on trying to include all the details. You really need a glimpse of the whole forest when you start your day; you don't need to stand there and count all the individual trees.

Here are a few more thought starters:

  • We're here to help our clients find the perfect video solution to their communications problems.
  • During meetings and while we're working on location or in the studio, our clients will have our undivided attention.
  • Our goal is to delight our customers with every interaction with our company and our staff.
  • We guarantee complete satisfaction. If something's not right, bring it back and we'll fix it—at no extra charge.
  • We recognize the need to make a healthy profit and to make the work process enjoyable and remarkable for both our staff and our clients.

As Jim Rohn said, "You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight." And that's the beauty of an exercise like this. Write down your mission statement, post it, and live it. Start living it the moment it's posted. And make the switch from a typical video business to a remarkable one.

Steve Yankee (syankee at opinmarketing.com) has more than 35 years of video production and marketing experience and is the founder of The Video Business Advisor
in East Lansing, Mich.

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