By KC Miller, SWIHA Success Center Blogger
It has been said to own a business you must have a lot of backbone.
According to the Small Business Administration, three out of five businesses fail in the first three years. Michael Gerber, author of The E Myth – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About, says their failure is not because the owners are under-skilled or under-trained in the performance of their professions; the failure rates are due to ‘hardening of the attitudes’ and losing sight of their mission.
The word ‘Osteoporosis’ usually refers to a disease where the bone strength has been compromised, resulting in chronic pain and a decreased ability to carry out normal activities. Metaphorically speaking, ‘Business Osteoporosis’ is where the strength of a business has been compromised due to premature degeneration of its mission, which causes chronic painful detours and hardship to the business owner.
A successful entrepreneur has a strong mission that serves as the backbone to everything they do, yet has an attitude flexible enough to adapt to the changes that come their way.
Motivational speaker and best-selling author Brian Tracy states that you generally accomplish your written goals, dreams, plans, and vision. Writing them down lends power and commitment to their accomplishment. This is especially true when writing a mission statement.
Your personal mission statement is different to your goals.
Your goals are your short-term desires that drive you to take specific daily actions. The purpose of a mission statement is to act as a compass and guide you in life. It's much bigger than a short-term goal. In fact, it's what enables you to stay focused on your goals and helps you avoid getting sidetracked.
A good mission statement is a short, written statement that declares the purpose of your business and why our business is in existence. In other words, it is a written-down reason for being. When a clearly articulated mission statement has been declared it serves as a template of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate and refine all of one’s activities – business and personal.
Your personal statement may become what leads you into business.
My personal mission statement for over thirty years has been: Touch lives, heal bodies, free souls. It has guided all the decisions I have made; my personal mission became my business mission and is how Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) came into being.
Founded as a massage college, my original mission for SWIHA was to teach people to touch as many lives as possible through massage therapy and energy-work, while giving them as much choice as possible to feel good about the many ways they could to express themselves – which is where the ‘freeing souls’ initially came in to play.
A mission statement can be refined and modified over the years.
As time passed, my personal mission statement became the college’s motto, and expanded to include many different modalities. SWIHA has touched many, many lives over the last 24 years; the staff and instructors has helped in the healing of many bodies (and minds) and we know we have freed many souls by encouraging diversity of all kinds and practicing unconditional acceptance to all who have come through our doors, whether on-campus or on-line.
The personal mission statement crafted when I was in massage school so many years ago has served as a way in which we have accomplished the college’s mission. Our business mission statement has been clarified and refined several times over the years.
Consider theses questions to guide you in crafting or refining your mission statement:
- What are the top things you really feel ‘called’ to do? Be honest. These are the things that make you fell most complete, or without which your weeks, months, and years would feel incomplete.
- If you never had to work another day in your life, how would you spend your time and what would you dedicate your life to?
- What are your most important life values that involve serving or contributing to others, and which strive to make the world a better?
- What strengths have other people commented on about you and your accomplishments? What strengths do you choose to claim as your ‘best’self?
- What comes natural to you, almost as if there is a ‘higher power’ using you to accomplish a great good?
- At the end of your life, what will you regret not doing, seeing, achieving or contributing?
Hold tightly to your mission, yet remain open to new and expanded possibilities.
If you would have told me 20+ years ago that the massage therapy program, on which the school as founded, would one day be the smallest program the SWIHA offers, and that something that didn’t even exist when the school was conceived, that being on-line education, would eclipse the on-campus revenues, I would have bet my last dollars you were hallucinating. Yet those facts are now true! I give thanks daily that I have been able to stay true to my personal mission, yet remained flexible as to how touching lives, healing bodies and freeing soul looks strategically and long-term. The lesson is to stay flexible and ready to expand your thinking.
Every mission statement requires action words.
When writing your mission statement, select words like accomplishing, creating, delivering, engaging, envisioning, igniting, inspiring, modeling, promoting, supporting and upholding. A good mission statement will be inspiring, exciting, clear, true and engaging. It will be a statement from which you will measure all your business activities and personal decisions against.
Having a strong backbone and being confident about the mission of your business will help to insure success. Be open and receptive to all the new opportunities that come your way, without getting side-tracked are the keys. Your mission statement can serve as the litmus test. When you are considering adding something new to your offering ask: Does what I am thinking of added ADD to my mission. If the answer is “YES”, add it. When the answer is, No, or even not really or I’m not sure, let the idea go by. When you are being true to your mission the answers will come from your heart with a clear sounding “Yes!”
About KC Miller
KC Miller is the founder and director of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona. A new 100-hour Holistic Entrepreneurship Certificate of Excellence is now available on-line. For more information about entrepreneurial and business courses offered call 480-994-9244. For on-going support for your holistic wellness business call the SWIHA Success Center.