In the course of my work I get to talk to many childcare center owners and I am fascinated by the mission in which they guide their service to parents and children in their care. One of the strengths of working for yourself is structuring your business to your own principles. I have clients who teach and provide care for their children with Christian values and use bible stories to reinforce those values. I have another client who uses only organic foods when feeding her children. I have another client who is using her time with children to teach socialization skills including manners, how to be courteous and to follow directions.
The point of all this revolves around a Mission Statement. The mission statement is the core values that makes your business unique and states what is important to you. Even if you are a really small in-home child care center with just 5 children you should still list your core values and create a mission statement. The reason this is important is to share with your parents, guardians, staff and children what is the reason your business exists. The mission statement also serves as the guide that you follow through the years to stay true to your values.
You will be challenged over and over with conflict and opportunities that may run counter to your values and having the mission statement helps to remind you and all who are touched daily by your business what you stand for.
When I ask about a mission statement I am often told that “I don’t know how to write one” and I always respond that you write your mission statement from the heart. Keep the statement short but articulate what is important to you and how you feel. Don’t try to be clever or win an award for your prose. Remember, this is more for you than it is for anyone else
Post your mission statement where you can see it, share your mission statement with your parents and guardians, include the mission statement in your contracts and discuss with your staff and have them sign that they understand the values of your business. Each year I recommend that you review your mission statement to make certain that it still reflects your core values and goals. If things have changed adjust your mission statement accordingly.
If you are trying to figure out where to start, begin by answering these questions:
1. What is your reason for going into business?
2. What type of client do you wish to serve?
3. What special gift do you bring to your clients?
4. What opportunities do you see that offers a reason for going into this business?
5. What is the biggest threat that you or your clients face in your business?
6. What is important to you?
7. What do you stand for?
8. What do you stand against?
Once you have answered the questions above you can begin to put the responses together to form your mission statement. For those of you who follow the exercise I would love to hear from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me your mission statement!