Agree On the Mission

Before doing anything else, you should check to make sure your entire team agrees with and can own the mission at hand. It’s very important to make sure that you are on the same page with everyone before embarking on a collaboration. If people diverge in completely different directions, you stretch the project thin and go nowhere. You cannot easily push the cart in one direction if your partner is pulling it in the other. Discuss the mission and agree on the meaning behind the problem you are trying to solve first before setting out to find a solution. If everyone is pushing in the same direction, you may have enough momentum to get the cart out of the mud.

Mission Before Business, Horse Before Cart

People throw around the word “entrepreneur” like it’s a lifestyle trend. Many fancy themselves an “entrepreneur” with only the curiosity (or perhaps a lust) for building a business. Like movie or rock stars, many successful business leaders keep up a public image. Far too many people subscribe to entrepreneurship because it sounds and looks cool. Most fail to understand the real work involved.

Building a business is very hard. With very few resources at hand, you must pull everything together through favors and very long hours. If you do not truly believe in what you are building, then it will never work. You must have a mission or product you believe in first before chasing your lust for business. Not only that, but you must have a mission or product that can inspire other people to help you and customers to buy from you. That’s a tricky thing to find. Most wannabe entrepreneurs forget that the core mission or product is what it’s all about. And it must come first.

Everyone and his or her mother wants to start a business and be a boss. Nobody will care about you until you give him or her something to sink teeth into. If you cannot offer the world a product that changes lives, then you must start with a mission people can understand, sign on for, and follow to the end. You must get the team on board and excited. And to find success with your business, you must get customers on board and excited as well. As the character Proximo says in Gladiator, “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.”

Find your core idea, set your mission, build a product, and then build a business around it. You cannot have a business without something to be busy about.

The Mission Statement

The most powerful tool in business strategy is your mission statement. It’s the philosophy that inspires your team, communicates your mission, markets your products, and makes you stand out. It’s a tool that gets everyone on the same page. Having a mission statement is not only good leadership advice, it’s just short of necessary to operate and succeed.

I feel like the mission statement is business strategy 101, and I should not need to explain this to people. But alas, it has come to my attention that many companies (including the company I work for) use no such tool. Crazy to me. It’s so simple, so inexpensive, and so effective. All it takes is a few words. Seriously, people. Write a damn mission statement. No excuses.