What is your Mission?

Finding your company’s purpose, its reason for being, can be either almost comically easy, or maddening difficult.

A mission statement is not needed for every company, or even for any company.  But a good mission statement gives you two things you probably need:  a focus and a filter.  I know this because without a good focus, I have diverted my company from a focused organization to one where we are shooting off in many different directions, never hitting anything because we are shooting at everything.

Here’s what I have learned from years of not being focused, of not having a mission clear and unambiguous that serves as both a lighthouse to guide us, plus the filter to keep us focused.

Now before you decide that Indigo is a touchy feely, consultant heavy business book peaking gibberish spouting pack of idiots, let me explain a bit further.

Many companies have great mission statements, and when you read them you get it.  You get the company, what they do, why they do it and better still, what they are going to do in the future.

Here some examples:

  1. Amazon – To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  2. Google – To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
  3. Paypal – To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.

Paypal’s singular focus is in providing a payment platform.  That is their guiding light.  It’s a filter too.  You won’t find Paypal raising cattle, or providing solar panels, or bringing out a word processing program.  Google is focused on information, Android, Google Fiber, the list of things they do focus on this mission.  Amazon is focused online, and that is a huge area, but still focused on online.  Amazon is not getting into the high end seafood restaurant business anytime soon, it’s because they use their mission as a filter to keep them from being distracted from what they are trying to accomplish.

At Indigo, we’ve made our mission to be focused on a single area of business, and that’s why our mission statement is important to us.  When we have an opportunity, or a new door seems to open that might generate revenue, we can quickly decide whether to pursue it, or reject it.  That’s a powerful filter that keeps us out of trouble and laser dialed in to our core purpose and mission. 

So we came up with:“To improve, restore and protect surfaces anywhere in America..”  If it’s not about surfaces, it’s not what we do.  Blast them, clean them, degrease them, paint them, etch them, remove the rust or strip the paint.  It’s what we do and what we want to do everyday.

Want to start a business cleaning oily machine parts so they can be reused? Indigo is in.  Want someone to put them together, wire them up and install them in a new factory?  Indigo will regretfully have to pass.

Seems easy, but it’s harder than it looks.  But if you are interested in being focused and consistent, it’s a few words that keeps you moving always in the right direction.