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Executing your vision and fullfilling your company's mission

Cape Cod SCORE

Question: I have spent considerable time forming my mission statement and creating a vision for my company. Now it is time to fulfill the mission.

Any thoughts on next steps.

Answer: First, what is the difference between mission and vision? A mission statement

defines the company's business, its objectives and its approach to reach those objectives. A vision statement describes the desired future position of the company.

Elements of mission and vision statements are often combined to provide a statement of the company's purposes, goals and values. A vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what an organization wants to ultimately become. A mission statement focuses on today and what an organization does to achieve it.

Both are vital in directing goals.

There are four key elements in achieving your long term organizational vision: Financial sustainability, customer engagement, quality management, lifelong learning.

Financial sustainability. To attain long-term financial sustainability, a small-business owner needs look to the business's revenue streams, increase the number of customers they serve, and upsell current customers to receive more of those customers’ purchasing dollars. It means increasing the frequency of buyer engagement with the business and finding new sources of revenue by expanding the offerings that the businesses focuses on in the future. Small businesses can measure their progress on achieving long-term sustainability by tracking the number of customers served for unique interactions, the average sale, the frequency of sales and revenue generated from new revenue streams. By knowing the percent increase in each metric, you can adjust your new model to achieve your long term goal.

Customer engagement. In the end, it's all about the customer experience: how they were engaged, who engaged them, how their needs were identified, acknowledged and addressed, and how they feel when the complete their experience. Are they ready to buy again when the need, want or desire arises again or are they ready to look for a new source of supply? Generate a loyalty program with your current and new customers. Get them to enroll, give them incentives to use the program and create a stream of communications that will keep them connected to you between purchases. Loyalty programs work in increasing frequency of purchase, but also can be used to incentivize referrals. In the buying continuum a very important ingredient is once you get a buyer to commit to a purchase and they are satisfied, ask them to refer you to their friends and family. They won’t necessarily do it unless you ask. It is also important to identify needs that your customers have that you are not currently fulfilling. When you do this there is a danger in that you might add to your product line with products or services that are not universally wanted or needed but will only be selectively applied to a small group of customers therefore diluting your focus. If increasing frequency of customer interaction means contacting them to remain top of mind, then a social media or even traditional media campaign will do the job.

Managing quality. Anyone can say they offer quality, but delivering it is the challenge. How do you maximize the reality and perception of quality? You can do it by reducing the cycle time, i.e., getting products and services to buyers faster and more efficiently.

Quality starts with returning calls, emails, texts in a timely manner.

It migrates to doing what you say

See SCORE, C2

From Page C1

you will do. If you say you will return all calls within 24 hours, make it so. If you say you are going to be on site 9 a.m. discuss a landscaping project, be there at 8:55 a.m., not 9:15 or not at all, without a call. You can reduce defects. Having a quality management system ensures that what a buyer orders is what they get. Even in a restaurant, having a system that allows the kitchen to double-check the order and plated food to make sure it has veggies and not french fries increases quality. Quality is a perception. Perceptions become facts. If you are known for consistency, then you need to ensure you have a system to guarantee continued consistency order after order. Quality is also measured in the reduction in waste. If you have procedures that are tested and measured, then you will have quality, in fact, not just perception.

Lifelong learning. This element of vision has two dimensions. First is lifelong learning focused on your customers. If you can become a source of knowledge in your area of specialty, then you are constantly creating value for your brand. If you can become the go-to source, then customers will reach out to you between their specific product or service needs, which allows a smoother, more efficient buying experience when the needs, wants and desires arise. You also can be a lifelong learner internally, so that you and your team are constantly learning via webinars, workshops, online and traditional educational materials. By making learning a value of your organization’s culture, you will find your team members are better able to execute their work, increase customer satisfaction and generate long-term sustainability of the enterprise.

Sustainability is job No. 1 for a small-business owner. Looking beyond today, tomorrow or next week requires consideration and adoption of strategies for key core elements: financial, customer experience, quality management and lifelong learning. Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, certified mentor. Contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands for free and confidential mentoring to grow and sustain your small business or nonprofit group at capecod.score.org, capecodscore@ verizon.netor 508-775-4884. We go where you are!

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