It’s easy to get distracted at times like these. Maybe you can see new opportunities opening up as we start to come out of lockdown. Or perhaps you’re keen for a turnover boost and see the chance to branch out into different markets.

There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but every business needs a strategy, and every good strategy is based on a clear mission. You need to be clear that straying from your mission can have serious long-term consequences.

Trying to serve new groups of customers can mean you end up doing a poor job which damages your company’s reputation. Management and sales focus can be diverted from your most important customers and markets as you chase after new opportunities. Existing customers can be put off as they see you trying to appeal to new groups who might not share their perspectives or needs.

Now is the time to clarify your mission statement and set yourself up for the challenging times ahead.

In simple terms, your mission is the business you are in. But how do you say that so it has real meaning to you, to your team, and ultimately to your customers?

Start by asking yourself these three simple questions:

  1. Who are my customers?
  2. What range of products or services do I wish to provide to them?
  3. What is the level of service?

Keep it tight: Serving other customers is fine, but it doesn’t have to be your mission. Your mission is about figuring out who your target market is and doing the best thing for them. The broader it is the less well you are satisfying anyone.

But not too tight: You need to have an idea of how big the market you’re targeting actually is, and what share you can expect to win of that market. If your market definition is so tight that the market cannot sustain your business, then you need to think again.

Here’s my mission statement, it’s not perfect, but it sure helps to keep me focussed:

“At ActionCOACH Lincoln we provide the owners of small and medium-sized businesses with a path to a profitable business that works without them through world-class business coaching and education.”