Plan – Action – Success
By Tom Irmen
First launched on July 5, 1994, as an online book seller, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has been at the helm of this incredible success story navigating this garage start-up to the largest online retailer in the world.
Amazon’s mission statement:
“Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Amazon’s mission statement has become the guiding force behind its success, and the unwavering commitment to this mission on a daily basis by its 400,000+ associates makes this success a reality.
Many small business owners recognize the importance of developing their own mission statement, but the mere existence of a mission statement is no assurance that your business will prosper or that your customers will benefit. A truly successful mission statement must be customer centered and be embraced by all of your associates. It must become deeply embedded in your company’s culture. A successful mission statement will differentiate the spectacular from the mediocre.
For an example, examine Apple’s entry into the brick and mortar retailer store marketplace. Apple stores are located in upscale shopping areas and feature a professional, high-tech look and are amply staffed by highly trained associates that appear to genuinely enjoy what they do and interacting with their customers. Not focused on selling, Apple associates instead focus on building long-term relationships while helping to improve people’s lives.
Contrast this experience with Comcast/Xfinity. You have to love the newly branded Xfinity name. Their new retail stores are a vast improvement over their earlier stores, featuring the same upscale, high-tech look as Apple stores. But this is where the similarity ends, because their customer service is abysmal. If they do indeed have a company wide mission statement, they need to communicate it to their associates and encourage them to fully embrace it. They have emulated the Apple “look” but little else. They have chosen form instead of substance.
A well-thought out and carefully implemented mission statement can catapult your small business toward long-term success for both you and your customers. But a mission statement with no substance that is not embraced by your associates will ring hollow and result in a generic experience for you and your customers.