Recently I presented my Creating the Position of Your Dreams class to job seekers at the Harper College Career Stimulus Program. Most job seekers will look at positions available and then try to fit themselves into the job descriptions. However, a perfect job like a perfect outfit fits better when it is designed specifically for us and is not just something we try to make work off the rack. The key component to creating the position of one’s dreams is looking at one’s personal skills, passions, and values and then seeking positions which match us, instead of trying to cram ourselves into something which doesn’t quite fit. The same is true if you are a business owner.
Over the last few months I have been re-evaluating my own business plan and strategy. Business planning has also been a hot topic in my monthly Small Business Empowerment Group as well as with some of my clients. A major revelation from all of this focus on business planning is the importance of starting from the inside out. All too often businesses create their plans by first defining a target market or a niche. Or, in the worst case scenario, they start by looking at “where the money is” and then try to craft their business around it. Either way, this is the same issue job seekers experience. The business is trying to fit itself into what exists versus taking the time to reveal what it is really meant to be. By starting from the inside out, one can truly identify their unique offering and purpose which leads to precisely targeted marketing and truly unique differentiation, which are both keys to business success. So how does one identify their mission statement? There are two ways I like to use to get to the core of your mission statement.
First is to look at your journey. Look at your life. What are your challenges? What obstacles did you overcome? What powerful lessons did you experience? No one has taken the exact journey you have. Within your personal journey there are lessons and gifts from which others can benefit. Sometimes they can be large and powerful and sometimes they may seem small. Either way, sharing the road you took and what you learned on that road can help someone else. By sharing the lessons of your experience, you can help someone else gain your same knowledge in less time and perhaps less heartbreak and frustration. For instance, if you spent five years really honing in your social media presence there is a wealth of information you can now share with another. Your customer can benefit instantaneously from your five years of experience.
A second way to identify the core of your mission statement is to look at your pet peeves. What are those things you react to? What gets under your skin? What about these things set you off? What values do they point to? By identifying your pet peeves and then looking at their opposite you can identify your passion and mission. For instance, if you get angry at those who come to meetings unprepared, it could point to your mission for efficiency, preparation, and courtesy to other associates.
Once you have an idea about your core mission, you can then use that information to determine your market. Who could best benefit from these lessons? Who is looking for this information? Now you are armed with a meaningful message to a ready audience. With this foundation, your marketing efforts will be targeted, meaningful, and highly effective. So stop trying to fit what you think you or your business “has to be,” and take some time to uncover your unique mission. It will not only be powerful for your business success, but will also greatly impact your satisfaction in your work.