When Fort Myers–based Juniper Landscaping began to craft a company mission statement several years ago, CEO Brandon Duke knew what he didn’t want.
“I didn’t want it to be corny,” he says. “Every business says they’re trustworthy and all those things. Well, of course you are — those are basic items.”
After working with a consultant and putting lots of thought, time and effort into the process, Juniper Landscaping came up with its “rallying cry,” as Duke, a Business Observer Top Entrepreneur in 2022, calls it. The company’s mission: Have raving fans as clients, cultivate leaders and dominate the competition.
That mission statement, along with the company’s defined values, now informs and inspires everything the company does, from the way it hires and trains employees to its relationships with customers. The landscaping firm currently has 2,000 employees and has grown from $40 million in annual revenue in 2016 to a projected $200 million-plus in 2023.
“To put it plainly, I don’t think our growth would have happened without that work that we did,” Duke says.
Getting help from a consultant or outside marketing firm is typically a good move to help companies home in on both a mission and the best way to express it.
And even with outside help, companies still need to spend time looking inward to craft genuine and meaningful mission statements. When working with clients, Naples-based Wilson Creative Group often starts with questions such as, “Why do you do what you do?” and “How do you achieve it?”
“We want to interview your leadership,” says Peggy Wilson, president and CEO of Wilson Creative Group. “We’re investigators first and foremost before we’re performers … deep dives are good.”
Putting in that type of work leads to mission statements that bypass jargon and fluff for simplicity and directness. Brian Hamman, new president and CEO of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, found that to be the case when working with Fort Myers-based Priority Marketing on the chamber’s new mission statement: “The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce provides solutions and serves as a catalyst for growing our economy. We do this by empowering, connecting and uniting professionals and businesses throughout Southwest Florida.”
“I think the thing that surprised me was by keeping it simple, we came up with a mission statement that the board agreed upon really quickly,” Hamman says. “I think it’s tempting to wordsmith and make something sound fancier than it needs to be. But we ended up with a simple mission statement that I think is easy to interpret, easy for my team to follow and deliver on and easy for members and new members to know what we’re going to do.”
You know a mission statement is successful “when you feel like it fits like a glove and people understand and align around it,” says Teri Hansen with Priority Marketing.
But even the best mission statements need reevaluation now and then.
“It’s something that should always be evolving and changing as your organization grows and pivots,” Wilson says. “Your business mission should be changing with the times of your business.”
Nokomis-based freelance writer Beth Luberecki, a Business Observer contributor, writes about business, travel and lifestyle topics for a variety of Florida and national publications. Her work has appeared in publications and on websites including Washington Post’s Express, USA Today, Florida Trend, FamilyVacationist.com and SmarterTravel.com. Learn more about her at BethLuberecki.com.