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Mission, Vision and Value Proposition: Meaningful or meaningless?

Mission, Vision and Value Proposition: Meaningful or meaningless?

Nowadays it seems like every organisation places great value on its Mission Statement. Or is it their Vision Statement? Or both? And what about their Value Proposition? Are all these statements actually important or are they simply more meaningless ‘corporate nonsense’?

Well, it’s not for me to speak for anyone else, but I’m happy to put my head above the parapet and speak up for the value of all these statements at my own business, SmartPA. The way I see it, unless all our people understand why we’re in business, what it is we’re aiming to do, and precisely where and how we make a difference to our clients, then how can we expect to reach our full potential as an organisation? Just as importantly, without this common understanding, how can we continue to build a consistent and effective brand?

And what of our clients? As I’ll explain, I believe all of these statements are of great significance to our clients and prospective clients alike.


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The Mission Statement

Let’s start with the Mission Statement. A Mission Statement should succinctly explain why a business exists and what its purpose is. Ours is:

“To lead the ongoing transformation of admin and business support services through technology and education.”

For a dynamic, growing business operating in a rapidly changing environment, it’s essential to have an accurate and easily understood Mission Statement. While the different arms of our business have autonomy, it’s also crucial that we’re all pulling in the same direction. That’s why full visibility and understanding of our Mission Statement is so important.


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The Vision Statement

A Vision Statement is an aspirational statement, expressing an organisation’s vision and its desired impact on the world

I’d like to think that everybody’s business starts with a vision in some shape or form. For me, being a bit of a romantic, I see the vision as being the very reason we go into business. At SmartPA, it’s what drives us on and keeps us focused on our ethical approach, even when times are tough. There’s no reason why a vision can’t evolve over the years as the world changes, but it should always be there to give you direction.

A vision statement is not about the here and now; it looks toward the future and says what we hope to achieve through our Mission Statement. It should signal to everybody – from future recruits to prospective clients – what drives the organisation.

Here’s the SmartPA version:

“To unleash potential, supporting young people and women to become business role models for future generations.”

Our Vision is about adding value to the wider world rather than simply to our balance sheet.

While I see our Vision and Mission Statements as being invaluable for our own people, I also think there’s great value in sharing them with clients and, just as importantly, prospective clients. Transparency is a key aspect of our service offering and that extends to giving an insight into why we do what we do.


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The Value Proposition

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. A Value Proposition is essentially an organisation’s ‘elevator pitch’. It enables us to quickly tell people, primarily prospective clients, what we do, who we do it for, how we do it, and, most importantly, what makes us different and better. Essentially, it outlines the fundamental reason a customer should buy from our company.

Here’s our Value Proposition:

“SmartPA is powered by our global team of passionate and accredited SmartPAs. We accelerate the success of organisations by delivering impactful outsourced admin and business support, freeing businesses, teams and leaders to focus on what they do best.”

While every organisation has so much more to say about itself than this one statement, the Value Proposition gives everyone a common starting point. It’s the foundation from which we can start the client conversation and, crucially, it also allows us to evaluate our own direction of travel. After all, every part of an organisation should, in some way, be supporting the overall Value Proposition.


So … meaningless or meaningful?

Returning to our original question, are these statements genuinely important? Do they really play a key part in how a business operates?

Well, I guess the answer depends on whether the statements end up as just words – lip-service if you like – or whether they do genuinely reflect the heart of the organisation, guiding everything that it does.

Taken together, your organisation’s Vision, Mission and Value Proposition should give you an invaluable framework for your people and your brand. Sharing these statements with your people should bring rich rewards in terms of supporting a common purpose, consistency and shared sense of ownership. By doing so, you’re also asking your people to become guardians of the organisation’s key tenets, while inviting them to ask the key question of their organisation - are we, by our actions, true to our words?

That’s why I believe it’s so important that we share the SmartPA statements widely. The more people, both inside and outside our organisation, who have visibility of these words, the more people there will be to hold our feet to the fire if we fail to match up to our lofty aspirations. I absolutely believe in the importance of the SmartPA Mission, Vision and Value Proposition. I’d like to think that our people and our clients would agree.


How we use our Mission, Vision and Value Proposition

As you’ve stayed with me all the way to the end of this article, I thought it only fair to leave you with some concrete examples of how we use our Mission, Vision and Value Proposition on a daily basis at SmartPA.

  • We embed them in our recruitment and interview process to help us assess if each prospective new talent is aligned to our values, excited about being part of such a dynamic team, and will be able to make an impact in line with our statements.
  • We use them in team 121s to give focus, asking our people to discuss the statements and explain how their work reflects these and how they, as individuals, have contributed to our, and their, development.
  • We display them at the start of all major internal meetings, board meetings, townhalls, managers’ meetings and team meetings as a constant reminder of why we’re all there, what makes us come to work (other than the paycheque) and to constantly make sure we’re all pulling in the right direction.

So, yes, in my experience, having a Mission, Vision and Value Proposition is indeed meaningful. And, certainly in our case, they play a key role in ensuring we’re all working towards shared goals while living up to the values that we hold dear.


Sarra Bejaoui

Sarra Bejaoui

SmartPA Founder


About Sarra and SmartPA

A career admin professional, Sarra Bejaoui is the founder of SmartPA. SmartPA is a pioneer of remote, outsourced admin and business support, providing individual SmartPAs, multi-skilled cross-functional teams, and full lift and drop admin process outsourcing. Working with more than 5,000 businesses of all sizes world-wide, SmartPA draws on a global talent pool of accredited SmartPAs, with a Centre of Excellence based in the UK, near shore hubs in South Africa and Uganda, and an offshore hub in Malaysia.

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