Every business should have a mission statement. However, writing one can sometimes be challenging because to create one means sitting down and really thinking about what you'd like to accomplish with your new business.
Getting to the core of your business and brand is an important step in creating a full business plan, and your mission statement is a distillation of your ideas into an easily understandable form.
Your business will change and evolve over time as you grow, but your mission statement can function as a guide.
In its basic form, it is a statement of the current, present purpose of your business – its reason for existing. Your mission statement will guide the actions you take, help with decision making, define your overall goals, and provide you with a logical path for achieving them.
So, how do you write a comprehensive mission statement for your business? A good pre-cursor for writing your own is to study other companies' mission statements. Then, you should ask and answer some key questions to define the fundamental purpose of your brand, business, and goals.
Here are some key questions to ask and answer.
8 Questions You Should Ask About Your Company
1. Why Are You in Business?
What do you want for company, your employees, and your customers? What was your primary purpose for starting your business?
Think about how what you do will enrich your company, your employees, and your customers now and in the future. Here's an example from The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty. Concise, and only four words!
2. Who Are Your Customers?
Branching off of question 1, who will your business be serving and what will you do for them? Think about your main audience and what you want them to take away from your company.
3. What Level of Service Do You Provide?
Most companies believe they provide excellent service, but what do your customers think? Define exactly what makes your service so outstanding!
4. What Makes Your Business Stand Out From the Competition?
Differentiation is an important element when building a business and developing a brand.
What makes you different than your competitors? Is it price point? Level of service? A superior product? Determine and define what makes you different.
5. How Will You Use Products, Service, Technology, and Capital to Achieve Your Company Goals?
This is an important question. A description of your strategy will keep you focused on your goals as you conduct day-to-day business.
6. Where Do You Do Business?
Is your business locally oriented, regional, or worldwide? Defining where you will provide your products or service can help you to develop your marketing and sales strategy.
Are you primarily focused online, or do you have a physical location? Defining your market can help you to determine how you can reach your customers.
7. What is Your Brand's Public Image?
Do you provide socially responsible products or services? Is your business environmentally friendly?Identifying how you do business can help to clearly define your mission.
Defining your brand means thinking about its impact on the rest of the world. A great example of defining a brand is the PBS mission statement: “To create content that educates, informs, and inspires.”
8. What is Your Underlying Corporate Philosophy?
What values guided you when answering these questions? Answering this question can help you to clarify the “why” behind your business.
Putting it All Together
To be an effective guide for your business, your statement should be clear, concisely define the intentions of your business, and be inspirational to both your customers and your employees. Your mission statement should reflect the long-term vision of your company and what it stands for both internally (with your employees) and externally (with customers, and your community).
It may take time to distill your business goals and intent down to a single simple statement, but when correctly developed, your mission statement can provide you with a clear direction and purpose.
A well written mission statement will encompass four key elements – inspiration, value, plausibility, and specificity. In a couple of short sentences you should convey the value of your brand, why it exists, and inspire your customers and employees.
Writing a mission statement is a key step when developing your business plan. Think about why you're in business, who you serve, what you sell and what makes your company stand out from the competition. Ask how your employees fit in and what value you provide to them, your customers, and your community.
Take the time to dig deep and define your business by asking and answering the right question, and you'll create a mission statement that will stand the test of time.