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How to Unleash Your Best Ideas and (Possibly) Turn Them Into a New Business

How to Unleash Your Best Ideas and (Possibly) Turn Them Into a New Business
People say your best ideas come when you least expect it. When you don’t squeeze your brain to think.

And they’re right. It does.

Nick Woodman invented GoPro after he went surfing and realized he couldn’t take pictures of himself.

    Photo Credit: Pitchi

    J.K. Rowling got the idea of Harry Potter as she sat on a 4-hour delayed train from Manchester to London.

      Photo Credit: Legion of Leia

      Ingvar Kampard launched Ikea after becoming frustrated at a table he bought and couldn’t fit into his car.

        Photo Credit: Jobstreet

        I’m not suggesting you should drop everything you’re doing to do whatever the heck you like (e.g. skip work to hang out with friends or watch TV instead of polishing up your resumé), to be like these successful entrepreneurs and hope that you’ll come up with a million dollar business.

        Overnight success doesn’t quite work like that. And it might be awhile until you do come up with a brilliant idea.

        So in the meantime:
        Focus on work and build a safety cushion against a crummy life. BUT whenever your mind is not “at work”, think about your current situation and how you can improve it, or how you can make an impact in this world.

        Because when you do, you bump up your chances of creating something that could be the next revolution. You may just think of something people might absolutely love that nobody has thought of, or has yet managed to push out in public. Something that could make you insanely famous.

        You could be the first.


        Now you might not feel motivated to do some extra thinking, especially when the bigger things in life demand more of your attention like your job, your customers, your body, your partner, your kids. But let me ask you, is this how you want to live the rest of your life, day after day after day? Abiding by society’s rules on what it takes to be successful?

          Probably not.

          The truth is, most of us get too caught up working at companies that only want us to perfect 1 or 2 skills, (Possibly 3 if your boss really believes in you). The longer we push ourselves towards this path, the less we care about uncovering our hidden talents.

          Don’t let yourself sink into this pitfall. Learn how to get out of it.

          If you’re told to keep a record of people you meet for business, don’t just ask for their phone number. Snapshot their business card and jot down notes.

          If you’re told to create Facebook ads (even though there’s no increase in profits for the past few months), learn to market on Instagram or Medium.

          If you’re told to answer customer support calls, create a FAQ page on your company page that tackles the most common questions.

          There’s always a better way of doing something, and sometimes thinking outside the box could lead to a newfound strength and eventually a full-fledged business.

          “You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.”
          ~Stephen C. Hogan

          Remember, our brains weren’t designed to master a few things. They were designed to expand, to become sharper and give us the edge to outdo everyone else.

          Because of that, you can still discover your hidden talents. Just keep thinking about how to improve your current situation and the world — it’s the first step great creators take to build their empire.

            Photo Credit: Funders & Founders

            So if you want to make an impact like these successful entrepreneurs, don’t just blindly work for a salary. Realize what you could do better at. And make it happen.

            Because one day, it could change your entire life. 

            Featured photo credit: Startup Stock Photos via startupstockphotos.com

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            Tiffany Sun

            Aspiring Writer

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            Published on March 20, 2019

            How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

            How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

            Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

            As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

            While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

            What is a Mission Statement?

            Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

            In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

            “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

            In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

            Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

            While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

            First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

            While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

            While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

            “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

            This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

            What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

            When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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            Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

            When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

            • What we do?
            • How we do it?
            • Whom do we do it for?
            • What value are we bringing?

            Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

            After all, that did check off all the boxes:

            What we do? Provide widgets.

            How we do it? Online.

            Who do we do it for? The consumer.

            What value we bring? The best widgets.

            The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

            Compare that mission statement to this one:

            “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

            What’s the difference?

            Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

            Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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            You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

            A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

            Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

            1. Keep It Brief

            Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

            You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

            2. Have a Purpose

            A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

            Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

            3. Include a “How”

            Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

            How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

            4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

            This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

            Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

            5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

            It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

            Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

            6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

            Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

            7. Think Long Term

            A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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            8. Get Feedback

            This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

            Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

            9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

            You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

            First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

            And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

            For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

            The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

            It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

            First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

            If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

            Strategic Planning

            A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

            Measuring Performance

            By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

            Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

            Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

            Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

            As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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            Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

            To Hold Management Accountable

            By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

            So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

            If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

            To Serve as an Example

            This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

            After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

            Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

            Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

            Final Thoughts

            Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

            Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

            That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

            By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

            More Resources About Achieving Business Success

            Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
            [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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