Arguably the ultimate displacement activity for a small business or startup, there does come a time when it’s worth putting down a marker. Something that everyone can get behind and succinctly represents your company values.
It doesn’t need to be summed up in some snappy phrase – the danger is it looks trite. It’s best to step back a bit and think about exactly what are you looking to do with your company. Here is how we would describe SalesSeek’s “mission” in terms of what qualities we think are important and how we want others to think of the company.
- How is your view of the market different? We think revenue generation should be a managed as a single process. We don’t agree with the “command and control” philosphy of tools like SalesForce, which we think demean and demotivate sales people leading to poor adoption. The point is that other people can disagree with this. There is no point repeating platitudes that everyone would agree with (e.g. “Empower Individuals”, “Don’t be Evil”).
- How is your organization different? For a relatively small company we have a highly diverse range of ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and gender (including software engineering even). That’s important to us. Not because we expect it to give us any kind of commercial edge, but because we think it’s important to provide equality of opportunity. Whilst few would disagree with this, fewer would feel the need to stress it, or be able to demonstrate it.
- How is your product different? For us, visualisation and a design centric approach are important. We want people to say “wow” when they see the product. How do you want others to see you? How do others actually see you?
The key is focus on points of differentiation with other companies, not areas of universal agreement.
It’s a worthwhile exercise to ask employees, partners and customers how they would all answer those questions about your company. You may be surprised at the answers.
Mission statements are often too grandiose, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have passions. At SalesSeek we’re not on a mission. We just want to build something useful for people, working with interesting people and make a bit a money in the process. Our aims may be modest, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care deeply about what we do and how we do it.