Top of the morning to you mates! I am on my first cup of “Jo” out here in Seattle and, as is my custom, posting up a passage from my book SMB Consulting Best Practices for your reading pleasure. This is my Virtual Book Reading for my “book club”
Today is the all important MISSION STATEMENT as part of your planning to be a successfuly SMB technology consultant.
Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!
Believe it or not, the mission statement is typically the last part of the business plan to be written, even though it appears first when the business plan is read. Clearly this sounds backwards and perhaps works against some of my assertions in the last section on guiding principles and the like. I’ll try to explain.
It’s easy to sit down and create a slogan such as “Quality is Job #1,” call it a mission statement, and move on. However, the slogan or phrase you initially select in haste is unlikely to be the mission statement with which you’ll end up. As you go through the business planning process, learn about yourself, your services, your market, your competition, and so on, you’re likely to find your original mission statement to be out of alignment with where you find yourself as an SMB consultant. And your mission statement definitely needs to be in alignment with your SMB consulting practice. Otherwise, you’ll not only suffer from an identity crisis, but you’ll also spend an inordinate amount of valuable time sitting around asking and trying to answer the following questions well after the business plan has been created — and likely well beyond when you should be working (and earning money) as an SMB consultant.
The following list of questions represents the appropriate framework for selecting a mission statement that works for you, the SMB consultant, as you launch your professional services practice. While pondering these high-level questions, just be glad you’re not paying $30,000 per year as an MBA student at Harvard to hear the same lecture (my book costing significantly less):
· Why are we here?
· Who are we?
· What line of work are we in?
· What do we want to be known for?
BEST PRACTICE: Here the old adage “a means to an end” really rings true. It is important to respect the process of asking these high-level questions, but after a reasonable amount of iterations, your mission statement should be acceptable and you should move on. If you find yourself asking these same questions three months, six months, nine months down the road, it suggests your mission statement is irrelevant and your business plan may be less than useful. In other words, sitting around day after day as an SMB consultant asking “Who are we?” is a serious organizational warning sign that things aren’t going well. And that kind of bench time for an SMB consultant isn’t billable!
Here are a half-dozen sample mission statements you might consider for now, subject to refinement as you develop your own SMB consulting business plan.
· To implement technology solutions that make a positive difference for the clients I serve
· To use technology solutions to create wealth for my clients and myself
· To enjoy the trust and respect of my clients
· To provide excellent technical solutions in our Small Business Server niche while maintaining superior client relations
· To build a well-respected SMB consulting practice
· To take pride in my SMB consulting efforts each day, knowing I made the best decisions possible, given the information available at the time
Chapter 3 will help you prepare your mission statement with its 50,000-foot view of the world of consulting and its consulting fundamentals discussion.