Why would your operation need a mission statement?
Mission statement – sounds very businessy, right? No need to have one for your farm operation. But isn’t your farm a business too? Even if you still think that mission statements are a little silly, they can provide important guidance to keep your operation on track and set the tone for the bigger picture.
A mission statement is a brief description of your operation’s basic purpose. Think about answering the question “Why do we exist?” and talk about how you will achieve your ultimate vision.
We’ve talked some about what a mission statement is, but there are several things that a mission statement should NOT be.
- Too long – Ideally, a mission statement should be very concise and direct. If you can’t say it in a sentence or two, you really don’t have the mission statement concept nailed. Some of the very best mission statements are one sentence
- Tactically Focused – Your mission is not to grow crops. That may be what you do, but it’s not why you do it. You need to address something bigger – who you want to effect long-term. You need to give a reason to exist. Also, remember that your farm’s mission statement is not the same as your objectives. A mission statement goes beyond your business and financial goals.
- Too Broad – Don’t be too general. It’s hard when you are trying to encompass everything your business is AND what you want it to be in one or two sentences. The mission statement for your farm needs to show your differentiation. Show what it is that you really focus on. If you think about being more specific, it will also help you avoid business jargon that could otherwise taint your mission statement.
- Forgettable – Your mission statement needs to be something that people can get behind. Think about why you wanted to join your operation in the first place. Whatever motivated you might be something to tap into to help people resonate with your mission.
- Hard to understand – convey very clearly to a reader the true motivation and objectives for your own business
If you are totally stuck on where to start with writing a mission statement, think about these questions to get started:
- Why are we farming?
- What is the purpose of our business?
- How do we feel about making a profit?
- What is the purpose/what will we do with our profit?
- What are our thoughts related to expansion?
- When will we retire? And who will run this business after us?
Also remember that once your mission statement is compete, it’s not over. Be sure to check back every couple years to be sure that your mission statement is relevant. Too many times, a mission statement is written to address a short-term issue. Once the issue is resolved, your mission statement can be updated to reflect the larger issues. Even if this isn’t the case, as your operation grows and changes, so should your mission statement.
If a mission statement is hard for you, imagine writing your whole business plan! Yikes! FamilyFarms Group helps producers put these things on paper…and ensures that you are operating according to them. Which in reality is the hard part! Contact us today at 877.221.FARM to find out how we can help you operation work towards your mission.