Author:
Lou Sokolovskiy
Founder/CEO, Opus Connect
lou@opusconnect.com

Mastering the Art of Business Development Blog Series
Article Six: Developing A Mission Statement

In the last article I laid out the seven steps for creating a Personal Business Development Plan. We discussed the first step, which is simply to perceive yourself as any other business, which means that you have a clear strategy that includes things such as goals, action items, your brand, valuation, diversification, contingency plans, and much more. As a “business of one”, you can also leverage existing tools and techniques that are widely used by businesses when formulating their strategies and translate these to your individual needs. Step Two is one such tool.

Step Two is to create your own personal mission statement. Most businesses will have some kind of a mission statement and/or vision. As a business of one, a mission statement will help you focus your business development strategy. Most people immediately think of goals when they hear “mission statement,” but your mission statement is much more (and much less) than that. A good mission statement is a broad, global description that encompasses your identity, values and long-term goals. It should be no more than 1-2 sentences. It should be something that you can refer to in any situation or when making decisions, to evaluate whether you are acting in line with your true purpose.

Sounds easy right? That’s what I thought until I sat down to write my own mission statement. Suddenly, I found myself a bit lost. How could I boil down my entire career, and even more than that, my entire existence, to one or two sentences? It took a bit of soul searching and guidance, but ultimately this is what I came up with:

My mission is to create positive impact for people and causes that I am passionate about by leveraging my expertise and network, while building ethical, balanced and successful businesses.

This mission statement contains all of the key elements of a good mission statement. It is broad and global, short and to the point, and expresses my values and motivations. For example, my values tell me it is important to make an impact in the world. I am philanthropic by nature and get involved not just with charities, but also with my individual contacts and friends. I am a born networker and am good at not only building connections for myself, but for others (like a matchmaker). I know that I want a career that is lucrative enough to give me financial independence but that also includes some degree of balance, as I value health and family.

Perhaps you already know what your mission statement is. For those of you who don’t, here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you figure it out:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your personal and professional goals?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What are you good at doing?
  • What are your core values?
  • What are you passionate about? What do you care about?
  • What motivates you?
  • When you retire, what do you want to have accomplished? (If this stumps you, consider writing yourself a letter from your 80-year old self to your present self).
  • What would you like your tombstone to say?

Take some time over the next couple of weeks to start thinking about these questions and crafting your mission statement. In my next article I will discuss Step Three, which will also help you define your mission.