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Mission and Strategy

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

A strategic plan starts with a clearly defined business mission.

Mintzberg defines a mission as follows:

“A mission describes the organisation’s basic function in society, in terms of the products and services it produces for its customers”.

A clear business mission should have each of the following elements:

Mission statements

Taking each element of the above diagram in turn, what should a good mission contain?

(1) A Purpose

Why does the business exist? Is it to create wealth for shareholders? Does it exist to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders (including employees, and society at large?)

(2) A Strategy and Strategic Scope

A mission statement provides the commercial logic for the business and so defines two things:

- The products or services it offers (and therefore its competitive position)
- The competences through which it tries to succeed and its method of competing

A business’ strategic scope defines the boundaries of its operations. These are set by management.

For example, these boundaries may be set in terms of geography, market, business method, product etc. The decisions management make about strategic scope define the nature of the business.

(3) Policies and Standards of Behaviour

A mission needs to be translated into everyday actions. For example, if the business mission includes delivering “outstanding customer service”, then policies and standards should be created and monitored that test delivery.

These might include monitoring the speed with which telephone calls are answered in the sales call centre, the number of complaints received from customers, or the extent of positive customer feedback via questionnaires.

(4) Values and Culture

The values of a business are the basic, often un-stated, beliefs of the people who work in the business. These would include:

• Business principles (e.g. social policy, commitments to customers)

• Loyalty and commitment (e.g. are employees inspired to sacrifice their personal goals for the good of the business as a whole? And does the business demonstrate a high level of commitment and loyalty to its staff?)

• Guidance on expected behaviour – a strong sense of mission helps create a work environment where there is a common purpose

What role does the mission statement play in marketing planning?

In practice, a strong mission statement can help in three main ways:

• It provides an outline of how the marketing plan should seek to fulfil the mission
• It provides a means of evaluating and screening the marketing plan; are marketing decisions consistent with the mission?
• It provides an incentive to implement the marketing plan


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Revision quizzes for business students

Starting a Business

Sources of Finance for a Startup
Franchising
Cash Flow Forecasting for a Startup
Creating & Protecting Business Ideas
Startups and Understanding the Market
Market Research for a Startup
Locating the Startup Business
Choosing a Legal Structure for a Startup
Employing People in a Startup
Generating and Protecting a Business Idea
Using Breakeven in Decision-Making

Finance

Revenues
Breakeven Basics
Costs, Revenues and Profits
Business Costs
Using Budgets
Using Breakeven in Decision-Making
Investment Appraisal Basics
Financial Strategies
Measuring and Improving Profit
Improving Cash Flow
Working Capital
Balance Sheet
Income Statement
Financial Efficiency Ratios
Profitability Ratios and ROCE
Liquidity Ratios
Gearing

Marketing

Competition
Products & Brands
Place (Distribution)
Promotion
Pricing
Price Elasticity of Demand

Business Organisation

Basics of Business Growth
Business Activities
Legal Structure Basics
Franchising
Sole Traders and Partnerships
Limited Companies
Generating and Protecting a Business Idea
Organisational Structures

People

Working in Teams
Communication Basics
Communication Methods
Workforce Planning
Recruitment, Selection & Training
Employee Motivation
Organisational Structures

Operations

Operational Objectives
Critical Path Analysis
Scale and Resource Mix
Lean Production
Capacity Management
Customer Service Basics
Managing Quality
Operational Decision-making
Using Technology in Operations
Working with Suppliers

Economic Environment

Economic Sectors
Government Spending & Taxation
Inflation
Unemployment
Interest Rates & Monetary Policy

Business Strategy

Leadership styles
Business Culture
Change Management







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