A mission statement is a key tool that can be as important as your business plan. Writing a mission statement that resonates with your customer is imperative. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business’s goals and the philosophies underlying them. Equally important, the mission statement signals what your business is all about to your customers, employees, suppliers and the community. Your business’ mission statement reflects every aspect of your business: the nature of the products you offer, pricing, product and service quality, customer service, growth potential, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.
Why does your business need a mission statement?
A well-crafted mission statement focuses the business for both employees and the target audience. It serves as a framework, giving everyone involved a launching point to build from when establishing the brand. For consumers, it sets the company apart from the competition without limiting the business purpose.
You notice Google’s mission statement doesn’t mention running a search engine even though that is their initial claim to fame. It is just broad enough to let the business grow into the conglomerate it is today.
What should a mission statement accomplish?
A mission statement should tell others why the business exists and what makes it different.
Why they exist: To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies
What makes them different: They mobilize the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors
4 Steps to writing your business’ mission statement.
1. Describe what your company does.
There is no need to be fancy here. Just say it, for the moment. Whatever it is your business produces or provides is your business’s purpose.
2. Describe how your company does what it does.
This is the tricky part because we’re not looking for a detailed description of your business’s physical operations here; we’re looking for a description of how your business operates generally. For most people, this means incorporating one or more of your core values into your description.
3. Add why (your company does what it does).
When you write a mission statement, this is the part that describes your spark, or the passion behind your business. Why does your business do what it does? For some people, it helps to think back on why they started their business in the first place.
4. Put your new mission statement to work.
Once you’ve crafted your business’s new mission statement, you’ll want to put it to work right away. Besides directing your business planning, you want your mission statement to be front and center in the minds of everyone who works in your business and be communicated to customers and/or clients. As the statement of why your business exists, it’s also the statement that explains to them why they would want to do business with you.
Effective mission statement writing tips and techniques
There are many schools of thought on how to go about creating the perfect mission statement, but there are some clear do’s and don’t’s to consider.
- Do keep it short and concise. Sum up the company’s mission in just a few sentences.
- Don’t write an essay. That is not the purpose of this brand building tool. You want the mission statement to be tethered to the brand and that means it must be memorable. Long drawn out prose is rarely memorable.
- Do think long-term. The mission statement is an investment in your company’s future, so keep it open enough to reflect your long-term goals.
- Do find out what your employees think of the mission statement. This is a tool designed with them in mind, too, so get their opinion. Ask how they would improve it and what they dislike about it.
- Don’t be afraid to change it. Things change in the business world. If the mission statement no longer represents the company, it is time for a rewrite.
Once your mission statement is complete, start spreading the word! You need to convey your mission statement to others inside and outside the business to tell everyone you know where you are going and why. Post it in your office, where you, employees and visitors can see it every day. Print it on company materials, such as brochures and your business plan or even on the back of your business cards.