Why Should a Family Business Have a Mission Statement?
Family business mission statements can help build unity. They are the true north for what the business should be guided by and are useful because a lot of family business values aren’t spoken, they are assumed. That said, I don’t think a mission statement should be overly long or complicated.
Start putting a mission statement together by asking the following questions of all adults who are family business stakeholders.
• What words describe the strengths of our family?
• What words describe the strengths of our business?
• What ways can we serve each other?
• What ways can we serve others outside of the family?
• What are our core values as a family?
Remind everyone that family values can be complementary to business values, they don’t necessarily have to be identical.
Have each family member send one person all of their answers prior to a planned family meeting. That person should compile all those answers and share the most common responses with everyone at the meeting. Spend an hour or two talking about these answers to help arrive at a sentence, or several sentences, which get at the core of those answers and, thus, your mission statement.
Everyone - both family members and employees - needs to understand the mission and live the mission.
Here are some business mission statements to get you thinking about your own.
Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Warby Parker: Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.
Nordstrom: In store or online, wherever new opportunities arise, Nordstrom works relentlessly to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. The one constant? John W. Nordstrom’s founding philosophy: offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.