Writing a mission statement is a must for business builders, app developers, content creators and any other entrepreneur. However, slowing down to brainstorm about one simple sentence doesn’t always seem like a great use of time, does it? But while a mission statement is a single sentence – it’s certainly far from simple.
What is a Mission Statement?
In short, the purpose of a mission statement is to define your company and set it apart from the rest. It describes why you exist, your goals, what you will provide your stakeholders, and how you plan on achieving it all. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one little sentence, huh?
Why Should You Be Writing a Mission Statement?
That is a lot of pressure to put on one little sentence. Which is exactly why the importance of a mission statement can’t be understated. Creating a mission statement is a process. It isn’t something you throw together in a few hours and slap up on your beautifully designed website.
Good mission statements will serve as your compass. A well thought out mission statement guides your decision making. It helps you focus your resources. It serves as a starting point for your branding. It provides a framework for your employees to work within.
So, yes. A mission statement is a big darn deal! And, yes. You should definitely be writing one. But how, exactly, do you do this?
Questions to Consider Before Writing a Mission Statement
Learning how to write a mission statement for a business takes time and perseverance. To get started, sit with the questions below and document your answers. It’s important that your mission truly encompasses the spirit of your business, so don’t rush this part.
What are your beliefs?
To what do you hold true? What colors your view of the world? The best mission statements are built upon this foundation. A sentence to describe each of your top 3-5 beliefs will do.
What do you value?
Think about what makes you choose to spend your money on one product over another? What makes you gravitate towards certain people? This is a great way to identify the attributes you value most. Try to pare your values down to 1-2 two words, each.
Why does your business exist?
What is your goal? Take a holistic view of your beliefs and values to answer this one. Of course, most businesses aim to make money. But what’s the reason you chose to make money in this particular way? That is your why.
What action word best suits your company?
Dedicate, inspire, awaken, nurture, champion, refresh. Your options are endless. If you don’t identify with one word right away, try starting with a broader statement and whittle it down to a single word from there.
Who is your ideal customer?
Envision them actually deciding to use your product or service. Why do they want it? How do they find you? What benefit will you provide? Keep this person in mind as you draft each version of your mission statement.
What makes you special?
Why should a customer choose your business, specifically? Do you provide incredible value, the best customer service in the world, the most relatable content? What sets you apart from the rest?
How do you serve your other stakeholders?
Describe exactly how you want those involved in your business to feel about you (and their work). According to a 2017 study, mission statements are more effective when stakeholders other than customers are considered, too.
How will others perceive your mission statement?
This will inform the words and tone you use to craft your business mission statement. It also provides a great starting point for the revision step, below.
How to Write a Good Mission Statement
Once you’ve spent time considering the questions above, you can begin creating your mission statement. While there’s no “official” checklist, there are a few logical steps you can follow to guide you through the process.
- Get it out. Write down, in paragraph form, exactly what you want your mission statement to convey. Include the answers to the questions above as clearly as possible. Don’t worry about word count yet. Just get it out there.
- Collect feedback. Have others read your draft. Ask them questions. How does it make them feel? What meaning does it convey? What could make it better? This isn’t the time for you to talk. Just ask the questions, listen to the answers, and take it all in.
- Revise. You may need to revise and collect feedback a few more times before this first statement feels like a true expression of your mission. Don’t move on until it does.
- Use a formula. Rewrite what you’ve got to fit this formula: Goal + who + how = mission statement.
- Collect more feedback. Ask the questions again. You want to ensure sure the change in structure hasn’t changed the overall perception of the statement.
- Revise, again. Same as above.
- Pare it down. Get out your red pen and start editing! Aim for a maximum of 20 words. Yep, 20! Get creative. Use a thesaurus. Research other mission statement examples for inspiration.
- Walk away. Give your brain a break. Take a day or two to clear your mind. This will give a fresh perspective before you dig in again.
- Rinse and repeat. Continue to revise and seek feedback until you’ve got it right.
- Use it! Take advantage of all that hard work. Allow your mission statement to guide you from here on out.
Need Help Writing a Mission Statement for Your Business?
A good mission statement lays the foundation for business success. If you find yourself stuck, want to make the most of your existing mission statement, or simply need help working a mission statement into your marketing plan, reach out! We’re here to help and would love to be a part of your journey. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer