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How To Write Your Veterinary Business Mission Statement

Posted in Operations @ Sep 6th 2011 10:01am - By Judy Gillespie (adapted from article in Entrepreneur.com)
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Summing up your business's mission helps you focus on the steps you need to take to succeed. Here's how to create a mission statement that's uniquely yours.

A mission statement is a key tool that can be as important as your business plan. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business' goals and the philosophies underlying them. Equally important, the mission statement signals what your business is all about to your clients, employees, suppliers and the community.

The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products and services you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your clients, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.

Start off by doing some research. Search online to find some examples of mission statements from other veterinary businesses. You don't need to copy - afterall everyone's business is different - but researching examples can give you an idea of what is possible as well as highlighting what you do and don't like.

The Write Words

To come up with a statement that encompasses the major elements of your business, start with the right questions. Business plan consultant David Tucker says the most important question is, What business are you in? Since you have already gone through the steps of creating your niche, answering this question should be easy for you.

Answering the following questions will help you to create a verbal picture of your business's mission:

  • Why are you in business?

What do you want for yourself, your family and your clients? Think about the spark that ignited your decision to start a business. What will keep it burning?

  • Who are your clients?

What can you do for them that will enrich their lives and contribute to success and happiness in their livies - now and in the future?

  • What image of your business do you want to convey?

Clients, suppliers, employees and the public will all have perceptions of your business. How will you create the desired picture?

  • What is the nature of your products and services?

What factors determine pricing and quality? Consider how these relate to the reasons for your business' existence. How will all this change over time?

  • What level of service do you provide?

Most practices believe they offer "the best service available," but do your clients agree? Don't be vague; define what makes your service so extraordinary.

  • What roles do you and your employees play?

Wise captains develop a leadership style that organizes, challenges and recognizes employees.

  • What kind of relationships will you maintain with suppliers?

Every business is in partnership with its suppliers. When you succeed, so do they.

  • How do you differ from your competitors?

Many entrepreneurs forget they are pursuing the same dollars as their competitors. What do you do better, cheaper or faster than other competitors? How can you use competitors' weaknesses to your advantage?

  • How will you use technology, capital, processes, products and services to reach your goals?

A description of your strategy will keep your energies focused on your goals.

  • What underlying philosophies or values guided your responses to the previous questions?

Some businesses choose to list these separately. Writing them down clarifies the "why" behind your mission.

Download a word document 'Designing Your Practice Mission Statement - Worksheet' to help you with this step of the process.

Putting It All Together

Like anything with lasting value, crafting a mission statement requires time, thought and planning. However, the effort is well worth it. In fact, business owners discover that the process of crafting the mission statement is as beneficial as the final statement itself. Going through the process will help you solidify the reason for what you are doing and clarify the motivations behind your business.

Here are some tips to make your mission statement the best it can be:

  • Involve those connected to your business.

Involve your team - their input may surprise you and they will more readily embrace concepts that they have been a part of developing. Discuss your ideas with family and friends - other people can help you see strengths, weaknesses and voids you might miss. Be sure, however, to pick only positive, supportive people who truly want to see you succeed.

  • Set aside several hours--a full day, if possible--to work on your statement.

Mission statements are short--typically more than one sentence but rarely exceeding a page. Still, writing one is not a short process. It takes time to come up with language that simultaneously describes your business' heart and soul and serves as an inspirational beacon to everyone involved in the business.

  • Plan a date.

Set aside time to meet with the people who'll be helping you. Write a list of topics to discuss or think about. Find a quiet, comfortable place away from phones and interruptions.

  • Be prepared.

If you have several people involved, be equipped with refreshments, extra lists of topics, paper and pencils. Because not everyone understand what a mission statement is about, explain its meaning and purpose before you begin.

  • Brainstorm.

Consider every idea, no matter how silly it sounds. Stimulate ideas by looking at sample mission statements and thinking about or discussing the questions in the previous section. If you're working with a group, use a flip chart to record responses so everyone can see them. Once you've finished brainstorming, ask everyone to write individual mission statements for your business. Read the statement, select the best bits and pieces, and fit them together.

  • Use "radiant words."

Once you have the basic idea in writing, polish the language of your mission statement. "Every word counts," says Abrams. The statement should create dynamic, visual images and inspire action. Use offbeat, colorful verbs and adjectives to spice up your statements. Don't hesitate to drop in words like "kaleidoscope," "sizzle," "cheer," "outrageous" and "marvel" to add zest. If you want clients to boast about your goods and services, say so--along with the reasons why. Some businesses include a glossary that defines the terms used in the statement.

Once your mission statement is complete, start spreading the word! You need to convey your mission statement to others inside and outside the business to tell everyone you know where you are going and why. Post it in your practice, where you, employees and clients can see it every day. Print it on your marketing materials, such as brochures and your business plan or even on the back of your business cards. Don't forget to add it to all your social media sites e.g.Facebook & LinkedIn and of course your webpage!

Source: 'How to Write Your Mission Statement', from http://www.entrepreneur.com , accessed 6/9/2011 (adapted) 

    

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