A quick message from an executive coach on the surprising power of mission focus.
Hello, I’m Tony Mayo, the business owner’s executive coach. When I take a team of executives offsite for a strategic planning session, or as I prefer to call it, an alignment exercise, there’s one conversation that always seems to come up… …right after we finish articulating corporate vision and values, when we’re working on the mission statement. To write a mission statement, we need to get clear about the company’s competitive advantage. The unique selling proposition, or USP, the one thing we want to be known for. To do this, the team starts listing current products and services: the top revenue producer, the best margins, the cash cow, the fastest growing, the legacy product, the custom version, the peripheral service, everything they sell. Then they start to sort of reverse engineer the mission statement to include them all, and that… just… doesn’t… work. Even if we focused on one market, because it’s easier to sell new products to existing customers, than to sell anything to new clients, it just doesn’t work to push everything in our market all at once. No matter how sharp and strong each marketing message is, you can’t cut through the noise by talking about all of them at the same time. We need to pick one to promote, to emphasize. One message to focus our marketing efforts. One idea that prospects will associate with us. One mission that motivates employees. The good news is, -if we put our resources behind one lead product- not only does that one come through loud and clear, but in practice, the others come along automatically. Focus your energy and attention on one key message, so you present a coherent image to your employees, prospects, customers. You may choose to cut back on the number of products offered, that’s often an effective change, but that’s not the point here. The important thing is, no matter whether your company has four offerings, or four dozen, it pays to put the full force of your marketing and sales behind one key product, one simple message. Nike has _hundreds_ of products, yet their brand image is only about you being more athletic. Amazon sells millions of individual products, as well as many services, with one simple mission statement. “Our vision is to be the Earth’s most customer-centered company.” If you have a sensible product mix, intense, disciplined focus on one mission will increase market penetration for _everything_ Have I made my point? Please, enjoy it, apply it, and share it.