By Sherry Lutz Herrington
As a business owner, it’s important to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, but it’s also important to know your why.
Why are you in business?
Defining the purpose of your business is paramount to setting the right course and staying true to your direction. This is frequently called your Vision, and it is the big picture, long-term, overarching reason your company exists. It is where you are going, but it is also your why.
If you start with this, then everything else flows from it and is easily defined. If this piece isn’t clear, then you are likely running around throwing things at the wall to see what sticks and hoping there is enough cash to operate. Not the smartest way to run a business, that’s for sure.
If you are clear on your purpose, or Vision, then you can set the parameters of how you accomplish this using your Mission. The company’s Mission lays out how it functions in order to reach its Vision. The Mission defines how you get to your Vision. It is the pieces that make up the guts of your day-to-day operations.
Asking questions like:
Who do we serve?
What do we sell them?
How do we drive our results?
…are all helpful when defining your mission. I look at it as the outline that leads to the Vision.
At Sherrington Financial Fitness, our VISION is:
To provide financial fitness and peace of mind for our clients to drive their ideas, inspirations, and goals into successful results.
For us, it’s about helping our customers succeed. We support companies with their financial health, so we focus on helping them reach their dreams based on knowing they have clean financials.
Our MISSION, on the other hand, explains how we do that.
- Partner with dedicated clients who value the service we provide and are committed to financial excellence.
- Provide excellent customer service with the utmost integrity, confidentiality, and professionalism.
- Utilize the latest technology to promote efficiency and maximize our clients’ success.
- Support the goals of our clients to help enhance prosperity in the community and achieve profitability and long-term growth.
- Connect our clients to other service providers and resources to build community partnerships.
- Foster a supportive corporate culture that embraces education, individualism, and encourages flexibility and independent growth.
Having both our purpose or Vision clearly defined and supported through a strong Mission helps guide us and keep us going in the right direction. We literally look at this when we need to make big decisions. If the question we’re reviewing doesn’t fit within these guiding principles, then we pass on it or make a change to it so that it fits.
It’s too easy to just take the business that comes in or jump at every opportunity that arises, but it’s not always the smartest choice for the health and well-being of your company. Having a clear road map will help you decide where you want to go and how you want to get there.
We’ve had times when we were stuck or had a situation that wasn’t working and, as a team, have sat down and looked at the situation and reviewed every one of the above points. This has clarified our decision and made it easy to move forward.
No one is blamed or shamed if something isn’t a good idea; we simply know that it would take us off course and isn’t a good fit for us. It’s like having a North Star to always follow. You don’t need to run around constantly worrying if you’re doing the right thing, making the right choices for your company, or wondering if you’re going in the right direction. You can define it up front and then every choice you make along the way will continue to lead you down the right path.
Sometimes it may mean giving up a good opportunity because in the long run it will take you too far off course. Or it may mean revisiting your Vision and Mission to be sure they are still serving you over time. They can change occasionally, though I wouldn’t recommend changing them to fit a new idea just to give yourself the excuse for doing what you want to do on a whim.
Your purpose or why, defined as your Vision and supported by your Mission, will guide your company and help you stay the course over time. The combination gives you a structure or outline to use to narrow your focus and keep you on track.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at email@example.com.