Influences on the mission of a business

53.1 Introduction

Aims are a generalised statement of where you are heading, from which objectives can be set. 

A mission is a more fervent way of expressing an aim.

For a new small business there can als be a powerful sense of mission. 

In marketplaces where competition is fierce, businesses that are passionate and determined are always more likely to succeed than those that are drifting eg. Apple against Microsoft before iPod took off. 

From a clear sense of mission comes its objectives and the strategies that flow from objectives - but also its percieved oral laxity.

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53.2 Aims

Possible examples of aims include:

  • 'To become a profitable business with a long-term future' - Zayka Indian Resturant 2011.
  • 'To become a Premier League club' - Nottingham Forest FC

The success of an organisation depends on turning this aim into practise. In order for this to be achieved, employees must understand and share the aim. 

Whether right or wrong, corporate aims act as the basis for setting the organisation's objectives. These are the targets that must be achieved if the aims are to be realised. The success or failure of each individual decision within the firm can be judged by the extent to which it meets the business objectives. This allows the delegation of authority within the organisation, while at the same time maintaining co-ordination. 

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53.3 Mission statements

A mission statement is an attempt to put corporate aims into words that inspire. Staff are more likely to be motivated by a mission statement of this kind than by the desire to maximise profits. 

It is hoped that by summarising clearly the long-term direction of te organisation, a focus is provided that helps to inspire employees to greater effort and ensure the departments work together. Without this common purpose each area of the firm may have different aims and choose to move in conflicting directions. 

It is also important to take note that not every company has a written mission statement. Some companies are clear that they and their staff 'live the mission' and therefore do not need to write it down. 

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53.4 Influences on business mission

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Purpose (reason why the company exists)

This is clearly shown by the Nike mission, which emphasises the desire to provide innovative products for athletes. In fact a sceptic could point out that Nike builds much of its branding around advertising, imagery and visual design rather than product innovation. Nike's brilliance has been to keep customers and staff confident that the company wants to support athletes rather than exploit them.

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53.4 Influences on business mission

Values (what the company believes in)

In the case of Pret A Manger, it is nt just that it believes in natural, fresh food, but also that the business has always:

  • used packaging that is made from recycled materials and can be recycled in future
  • taken care to source its products from suppliers that treat staff fairly
  • wanted to push customers to try new things, especially from sustainable sources
  • the values of the business are a key part of its culture, and should also include the way staff are treated and other ethical considerations.

Standards and behaviours

This refers to the standards set by managers and the behaviour expected from staff. 

Strategy

Strategy means the medium - to long-term plans adopted by the business to make the aims and ission achieveable. 

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53.5 Links between mission, objectives and strateg

Corporate objectives are the medium-long term targets for the whole enterprise. Some companies break these down into time periods, perhas tageting a rise in operating profit margins from 6.5% to 7.5% in two years. Objectives such s these take the company's mission and turn it into something measurable. This helps the different business functions work together towards a clear target.

After the objectives are set the business can decide on the corporate strategy. Twis will be the plan for meeting the objectives. The risk here is that strategy may stray away from the mission. This could happen if the objectives arenot aligned fully with the mission. 

Clearly it's very important to make sure that the objectives line up with the mission and the strategy lines up with the objective. But it isn't easy.

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