Customer Orientation

A good mission statement reflects the anticipations of customers. Rather than developing a product and then trying to find a market, the operating philosophy of organizations should be to identify customers’ needs and then provide a product or service to fulfill those needs. Good mission statements identify the utility of a firm’s products to its customers. This is the way AT&T’s mission statement focuses on communication rather than telephones and ONGC’s mission statement focuses on energy rather than oil and gas. The following utility statements are highly relevant in developing a mission statement:

1) Do not offer me things.
2) Do not offer me clothes. Offer me attractive looks.
3) Do not offer me shoes. Offer me comfort for my feet and the pleasure of walking.
4) Do not offer me a house. Offer me security comfort and a place that is clean and happy.
5) Do not offer me books. Offer me hours of pleasure an the benefits of knowledge.
6) Do not offer me records. Offer me leisure and the sound of music.
7) Do not offer me tools. Offer me the benefits and the pleasure of making beautiful things.
8) Do not offer me furniture. Offer me comfort and the quietness of a cozy place.
9) Do not offer me things. Offer me ideas, emotions, ambience feelings and benefits.

A major reason for developing a business mission is to attract customers who give meaning to an organization. A classic description of the purpose of a business reveals the relative importance of customers in a statement of mission.

It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or service converts economic resources into wealth and things into goods. What a business thinks it produces is not of first importance, especially not to the future of the business and to its success. What the customer thinks he/she is buying what he/she considers value is decisive – it determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper. And what the customer buys and considers value is never a product. It is always utility, meaning what a product or services does for him. The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence (Drucker).

Components of a mission statement

A good mission statement reveals an organization’s customers, products or services markets technology concern for survival philosophy, self concept, concern for public image and concern fr employees . These nine basics components serve as a practical framework for evaluating and writing mission statements (David)

1) Customers: who are the firm’s customers?
2) Products or service: What are the firm’s major products or services?
3) Markets: Geographically where does the firm compete?
4) Technology: is the firm technologically current?
5) Concern for survival, growth and profitability. Is the firm committed to growth and financial soundness?
6) Philosophy: What are the basic beliefs, values, aspirations and ethical priorities of the firm?
7) Self concept: What is the firm’s distinctive competence or major competitive advantage?
8) Concern for public image: Is the firm responsive to social community and environmental concerns?
9) Concern for employees: Are employees a valuable asset of the firm?

Business Definition

A business definition is a clear statement of the business the firm is engaged in or is planning to enter. It answers the question: What is our business, in a precise way . Consider the statements: We are in the beauty enriching business (Helen and Curtis) We are in the business of computer technology (Intel) We are watch makers to the nation (HMT) , we are in the transportation business (TELCO) . These statements define the space that the business wants to create for itself in a competitive terrain. They broadly specify the opportunities that the business may exploit within that space and the threats it may encounter from rival firms in course of time. Of course the firm , has to define its business in a broad way keeping changing customer tastes and aspirations in mind.

D F Abell suggested defining business along three dimensions: customer groups (who is being satisfied), customer needs (what is being satisfied) and alternatives technologies (how the need is being satisfied).

Source: VSP & VHK