This may sound rather formal but I can assure you that everyone in the family, young and older, will enjoy the experience. The first step is to just have everyone grab a scratch piece of paper and gather the family together and start asking them how they see themselves in the family and as a business partner. Yes a business partner. The juices will really start to flow when they realize the important role they play and how their behavior and skills can suddenly influence the family and business as a whole. Even if some of the ideas sound “corny” be sure not to dismiss them. Everyone needs to take some ownership in the process in order for the mission or plan to be honored.
Get a good feel about how everyone can be involved in the business, whether it is having quiet time in a certain part of the day. What could they be doing during that time? Or maybe they feel that they could form a study group while Mom or Dad works on the business? Or another family member is old enough they could learn to take an active part in the business with calls, typing, programming, and video, the list goes on.
Putting the mission statement on paper
This small document will become your family “proclamation” of shared values and ideas. This small statement will give each member direction and vision. Imagine it as your roadmap. After you bring all the information together you are probably looking at a fairly lengthy statement and this is good. It gives you the ability of better movement, a work in progress. As time goes by you will be able to add more or delete some things that may not be as important anymore. Either way you must be flexible.
Looking at all your ideas try to categorize them the best that you can. Try not to changing the wording of an idea to much. It could take away the importance of the statement for the one individual. Here is merely an example of how a mission statement could look. I really do hope that you will be putting more into yours and use the ideas of your family. Notice that I don’t have the personalization in mine that you will have in yours.
Who: We are a family devoted to supporting each other through displaying mutual respect of self, time, and business in the home and outside the home.
What: We are committed to continuing our education and outside activities and to embracing the growth of the business for the whole of the family.
Why: So that this family will be able to share in the opportunity of developing individual talents, grow in the home business, and to become a service to others.
Posting of the Mission Statement
Once the mission statement is drafted it needs to be posted for all to see and read daily. On the refrigerator, on the mirror, doors, inside lunch boxes, on the computer, etc. This small ‘proclamation’ is a very powerful tool because everyone has put something into it, they own it. As the family changes and grows or new issues develop it is just time for a new meeting and a new mission statement. This is work in progress but try to keep the main theme of the mission statement.
This is the cement for your business too. Knowing that the family is on board with the business and knowing that there will be challenges, you will be better able to react to any given situation.
With this you have become proactive not reactive. Same with any family situation that arises, you will be better able to handle the situation because your family has guidelines that need to be taken seriously. I hope that you will find this small but meaningful exercise helpful. Just remember to keep it simple and keep it fun. But most of all stress the importance of the mission statement. Lives, families and businesses all run smoother when they have a plan.