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The Mission/Vision Statement First – Really?

By on Jul 10, 2008 | 5 comments

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In this post, I’ll rant about something that I personally think is stupid. However, the rest of the world, most probably, thinks that its the smartest thing to do.

I’m going to talk about importance of writing a mission statement or vision statement or even the business plan before starting a new business.

I think all of the above are totally NOT required. :mrgreen:

My friend KGV got admitted to NITIE, which is a very good business school in India. He rang me to know more about domain registration and web-hosting. He told me that everyone in his class has been asked to float a company! 😯 A real business! Wow! How exciting! I wish I were there 😀 .

But what he told me next was rather disappointing. He said their first task is to come up with a vision statement followed by a mission statement and a business plan. I personally think that’s not the right way to start a new business. I even think (rather believe) that you don’t require ‘lot of’ capital to start a business. If you ask how much – I’d say Rs. 10,000/- is more than enough. You don’t even need a kick-ass idea to get started. That again, is my belief. You just need to find out what’s missing and fill that gap. I believe one should think big – but start small. So that even if you fail – it doesn’t hurt much.

Back to writing business plans and mission statements. I wonder if Steve Woz & Jobs spent time thinking about a fancy mission statement or even cared to write a business plan summary. I wonder if Michael Dell knew what a business plan is. He knew how to assemble PCs and sell them – that’s what was really needed. I wonder if Dhirubhai Ambani knew the B-plan stuff. I believe he didn’t. They knew the basics and got started. They took action. They didn’t invite the analysis – paralysis. I’ve advised lot of people not to get into analysis paralysis before they ‘start the next big thing’. Unfortunately, most of them never got started.

People go inactive because they think about problem #2, #3 and so on. I’d say – solve the problem #1 first. Then look at problem #2. One guy who wanted to start a “one-spot” service website decided not to go with his plan because he thought people won’t login to the site. I had advised him to worry about setting up the website first and then think about getting traffic. Anyway!

Anyway, business plans might help. Mission statements may do some good. But business plans and mission statement is not the first step for starting a business, for sure!

The Big K



5 Comments

  1. kidakaka

    July 11, 2008

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    You know, all this mission, vision and b-plan are not required as long as the business founder is compeltely aware of what he wants to do. If you are going to start and fund your own business, then there is no need. But if you are going to seek venture capital or an angel investor for that matter, then you would need that much insight and forecasting to show to the investor that, yes .. i have something here, which may be of interest to you. hence they teach all this in b-schools 🙂

  2. The Big K

    July 11, 2008

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    Kidakaka – I completely agree that you need a business plan/vision statement/mission statement if you’re seeking venture capital. I’m talking about the starting phase of the business wherein you need founders to put in their own money (not huge amount). That’s why I said: Think Big , Start Small.

    Anyway, these are all my thoughts. I might be wrong. Maybe mission statement helps founders keep their focus.

    I’d even say that I’m not against b-plans or vision statements. I’m against the huge amount of time spent by founders in creating one. They realize the ‘problems’ and stop. That shouldn’t happen.

  3. Ash

    July 12, 2008

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    I agree that you shouldn’t spend too much time on creating one in the first stage.

    I guess mission statements are the main goals you want to achieve at the end. A possible mission statement for CE would be “uniting engineers around the world”. Its hard to create something if you do not have direction!

    But as the business grows, you may need to modify it so that employees in your company can understand what direction its heading to.

  4. The Big K

    July 15, 2008

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    Thanks for the link Maverick. I’m a regular reader of pluggd.in and have read the article already 🙂 . Well most of it does match with my views.

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