Spending time to create an effective mission statement may seem like a waste of time. I can hear it now: “David… a mission statement won’t help me attract new clients, control my costs, or produce orders!” And while that may technically be true, an effective mission statement is as important to a world-class business as a flight plan is to the pilot of a flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

An effective mission statement tells you where you’re going. It tells you how you are going to get there. And it keeps you on course.

Without a mission statement, you are flying blind. You’re moving, but you may not be moving in a productive direction.

Here’s the good news: creating an effective mission statement isn’t difficult. It will require a few hours of your time and perhaps the input of key employees and advisors. Here are three important questions your mission statement should answer:

  1. Where are you going? Why are you in business? What are you hoping to provide for your customers, employees, and other stakeholders? Why do you get up and go to work each morning? Your mission statement should define the goals you have for your business.

  1. Which skills and abilities will help you arrive at your destination? What makes your company special? Is it your years of experience in the local market? The technical proficiency of your team? Your unique focus on customer service? What are the assets and skills that you will leverage in order to achieve your goals?

  1. What are your values? Which principles will serve as a guiding light for your business as you grow? Passion? Creativity? Discipline?

An effective mission statement clearly defines your objectives, the skills and assets your business will draw upon, and the values that will keep you moving in the right direction. Creating such a mission statement will make it much easier to stay on course, through good times and bad. And it provides guidance when you are facing difficult decisions. If you don’t yet have an effective mission statement, dedicate a couple of hours to the task this weekend. I can promise that you won’t regret it!