Suppose I say, "Put your own message in navy signal flags." That`s a short sales pitch, presented as a sort of motto, slogan, or 10-word elevator pitch. We`ve discussed that on a different topic. Such a phrase is intended for public consumption, and explains quickly what you offer the customer.
Now think about Microsoft`s "Windows everywhere!" That`s a mission statement, similar to the Star Trek mission "to boldly go where no man has gone before." A mission statement, as I understand it, is partly internal (to the company) and partly external (to the public). It explains the purpose of the company, why it`s in business.
But now take a statement like, "We treat our customers like royalty," or "The customer is always right."
Is that a mission statement? No, more like a declaration of a core philosophy of values within the company. It`s more of a value statement, but not in the same sense as what value (benefit) does the actual product offer to the customer.
Say you`re starting a small company, and you come to the issue of shipping---mail costs, container, travel, and handling. It`s the "S&H" charge. An increasing number of eBay sellers are trying to make a profit in their S&H charges, pretending their actual item cost is very low. EBay is putting a stop to it, as "excessive shipping charges." Fine, but that`s a decision about values---moral values.
I`ll propose that fear (terror), anxiety, stress, and discouragement are common to small business startups. Things reach a point of the darkest night, usually right before the light of success begins to show over the horizon of the future. As such, I`ll also propose that a mission statement is a way to hold the course---to stay focused on the remembered joy of starting a business. It`s the adventure of it.
When things get blackest, that`s where a mission statement can help to remind us of why we`re in business. But not on a personal level.
And so I`ll also propose that a Value Statement is the deep philosophy of the person or people starting the business. Whatever moral values are declared, theoretically those would continue for the life of a company. If Sam Walton decides that no-questions-refunds are going to be the way he does business, that`s not a mission statement, nor is it an "offering" like a slogan. It`s a statement of the company`s values.
However, if Sam Walton says "we offer the lowest prices, guaranteed," that`s a sales pitch. It`s also a "value," in that it`s a benefit-value to the potential customer.
What do you think about value statements? Do they provide anything useful to the startup process? Are they "worth" anything---valuable? Are they different from a mission statement? Do you have such a set of business values?