SCORE

You know that starting a business takes passion, dedication and attention to details. But it requires more than spreadsheets for estimated expenses, building permits and an initial marketing push. Put down your hammer or your grand-opening banner.

Your business needs a mission, vision and values to propel you toward long-term success.

Mission

Your mission explains the type of business, your products or services, target market and customer base.

If you’re already in business without a clear mission, sit down with your employees or trusted advisors to create your mission statement. If you’re just getting started, now is the time to develop a strong mission to guide your business through its varies stages of growth.

Your mission statement might look like this:

Doggie Tales is a dog daycare and grooming salon specializing in convenient services for urban pet lovers. Our mission is to become Main Street’s most well-known doggie day care for its service, safety and family atmosphere in a thriving city environment. We provide busy dog owners with the products and services they need, so they can spend less time taking care of their dog’s basic needs and more time appreciating the bond between pet and owner.

Values

What’s important to your business? List values to guide ownership and staff to work toward goals with unity and support. Depending on your business, you may choose to share your values with your public audience and customer base; alternately, you may choose to keep your values internal, but reflect those values throughout your strategic plan and day-to-day operations.

Your values might look like this:

Every dog is special: We give care and attention to every dog, regardless of size, shape, color or breed.

Every owner is important: Whether they adopted a stray or paid thousands to a breeder, all dog owners who visit our business have one thing in common: They love their dogs. We appreciate every dog lover who walks through the door.

Animal well-being comes first: Whether visiting our day-care center or receiving grooming services, the health and well-being of each dog is paramount.

Our community is important to our success: Without a loyal customer base of dog owners, we wouldn’t exist! We give back to our supportive community by teaming up with local shelters for adoption and fundraising events. Once we open our second location, we also plan to host an internship program for local students learning about the pet service industry.

Vision

Next, consider your vision. What does future success look like for your business? Think about the look and feel of your business. How many employees will you have? How large do you want your customer base to be? Developing your vision can help you set smart goals to guide you toward that success you see for yourself as a small-business owner.

Your vision statement might look like this:

Every dog owner on Main Street will have the additional care they need to foster the best life for their furry friends. Doggie Tales will expand to include three locations to serve the most highly trafficked areas of the city by 2022 and include a home pickup and drop-off service for top-tier customers. A staff of at least six full-time employees will work at each location, with additional roles for part time staff and a semester-based internship program for students at East City Technical School.

Only after you develop your vision can you start to create your strategic plan for small-business success.

Does your business have a strong mission, vision and set of values? If not, talk to a SCORE mentor about what’s important to you and your business as you start and grow.