Why Don’t Smaller Businesses Have Mission Statements?


Corporations Have Mission Statements but Smaller Businesses Don’t

Every week I meet with the heads of publicly held corporations and they all have a Mission Statement. I also analyze smaller businesses, private ones, including Mom & Pops. And none (well almost none) have a Mission Statement. Why is this?

Why do Smaller Business Lack Mission Statements?

The quick answer is “Who Knows?”. But it’s not hard to take some educated guesses. Before I give those guesses, let me define mission statements. In our performance enhancement strategy Your Mission Statements are Impressive, we discuss the merits of 5 mission statements, including the traditional Mission Statement. Here, I will use Mission Statement to denote the traditional one, and mission statements to denote the class of 5 possible types of mission statements. Incidentally, those 5 are Mission Statement, Profile Statement, Corporate Mantra, Vision Statement and Statement of Social Values. But we won’t be going into those.

Why Should Smaller Businesses Have Mission Statements?

For a few reasons smaller businesses should have mission statements.

  • Much of the time your customer doesn’t know what you can do for them. Having a mission statement helps clarify why you are in existence for them
  • Your competitors don’t have them. You’ll immediately seem special compared to the rest.
  • You increase your Corporate Presence. In general, people trust larger companies better than small ones. Since large companies have mission statements and small ones don’t, the logic is simple
  • It helps you grow. At Performance Business Design we never say small business. Thinking small results in stagnation. Thinking big can result in growth. So, acting as the larger businesses do will help you become large yourself. Similar to “think and act like a skinny person will help you lose weight”.

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