Thursday, September 27, 2007

Writing Mission Statements

Mission and vision statements are an important part of any business, especially in the first few years of a new business. What is the purpose of this business? Who does the business serve? What expectations are there for the future of this business? If there aren't clear answers to these questions, it is unclear what steps to take to produce a successful result.

I'm sitting here at The Bruery in a dim office, looking at a few hundred ants on a nearby table. I made the mistake of leaving a wrapper on the table yesterday, and a civilization is now able to eat because of me. I kill a few just for the fun of it (where did I put my lighter?), and I'm frustrated. Don't take it out on ants, Pat. On the desk behind me, there are a dozen sheets of notepaper, with scribbles and barely legible writing about goals and purposes. I'm trying to come up with a one sentence mission statement that says it all. I don't want to include any semi-colons or too many commas. I want it to be short, sweet, and say everything that I want the brewery to be with some specificity. Impossible? I think so.

It's an odd time to be coming up with this. The Bruery consists of me and a bunch of equipment that is non-functional. There are lots of ideas, of course. I'm trying to get construction started so I can get on with my life and start making beer. When I'm trying to come up with a mission statement, I'm thinking of a bustling brewery with many bright workers, thousands of loyal customers, and a clear sense of what The Bruery is. At this moment, nothing is clear, not even my eyeglasses. I can't remember the last time I cleaned those.

My Dad and I meet on a weekly basis. He is my advisor and business coach, and has a great deal of knowledge on how to run a company and come up with goals and strategies. He gave me the assignment of coming up with a single sentence that describes why I'm doing what I'm doing. There are so many reasons-- I hate the law (not the law itself, just advising others on it), I love making beer, drinking beer, and being in the company of people who share a similar interest in beer. I want to be in a craft-related business-- making something for the enjoyment of others. Sure, I want to make money too, but that's not why I chose to be in the beer business. I want to share beer with others, and I want The Bruery to have an impact on the beer industry as a whole. I'd like to be the cause for many to experience a new side of beer-- a paradigm shift that makes someone realize that beer is so much more complex, interesting, and enjoyable than what they had previously believed.

The best thing I can come up with is pretty vague, but I think it makes more sense when I explain the different parts:

"The mission of The Bruery is to enjoy crafting unique beer for the enjoyment of our supporters."

To address each part of the mission statement-- "To enjoy crafting...": I want to get out of bed every morning and be excited to run The Bruery. Whether it's making beer, selling beer, or managing the business, I'm doing it because I enjoy it. If I don't enjoy it, then I'll need to find out why and correct it. I think making money is addressed in this section of the vision statement, as I probably won't be enjoying what I'm doing unless I'm able to make a living doing it. Likewise, I want those who work at The Bruery to get the same enjoyment out of being here as well. If they aren't enjoying it, I want to know, especially if it increases the enjoyment for everyone else.

"...unique beer...": Our beers should stand out from others on the shelf and give us a sense of pride that we're doing things our own way.

"... for the enjoyment of our supporters.": The word "enjoyment" is quite vague, but we want people to like our beer. We want people to have the beer in an atmosphere of enjoyment, and I think most craft beers are had with this in mind. Whether the person having the beer is experiencing this beer for the first time and is being exposed to a world of new flavors, or this beer is an old standby, we want that person to find value in our beer and not be disappointed by it. Thus, we'll have very high standards of quality. If I don't like it, I won't expect anyone else to either. Our beer may not be compatible with everyone's tastes, but it will be a priority to make sure those who enjoy complexity in their beer are enjoying our beer. Developing a relationship with those who enjoy our beer, or our "supporters", is important to me. I think having a connection to the customer is one of the things that will make it enjoyable for myself and for future workers of The Bruery.

What do you think of this as a mission statement? What am I missing?

5 comments:

jay sheveck said...

How about:

"The mission of The Bruery is to produce unique artisan beers that quench the passions of both brewer and advocate, whereby they are equally as enjoyable to craft as they are to drink."

I'm looking forward to your beers!

Patrick Rue said...

Nice Jay, I like it!

Rob said...

I think it is a great statement. Short, yet it captures the main goals that you are aiming for.

Since I am in texas right now, do you ahve any plans for a beer of the month, or buying off the web site?

(I know, you need to start brewing first, but I thought I would ask)

Ed H. said...

I like what jay stated and would like to add my variation of the Hilton Mission/Vision:

"Ladies and Gentlemen...brewing craft beer for Ladies and Gentlemen."

David said...

To me, mission statements are always too wordy, flowery and impersonal. Just do something short and sweet. "Good People, Great Beer". Or "Crafting kick ass beer for your enjoyment." Seriously. Let your beer do your talking for you, not a short paragraph.

Keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to opening day. :)