Mission: Impossible? – How to Craft Your Mission Statement
(Mission: Impossible photo from Paramount Pictures.)
Your mission statement: A clear, concise, inspiring declaration proclaiming what your company stands for, why you’re in business, and what inspires you to do what you do.
It’s the driving force behind everything you do in your business. Think of it like the abridged version of your business plan or success blueprint. On the inside, it helps your team stay in line with your goals and ideals, while motivating prospective clients from the outside to take action.
Your mission statement is a direct reflection of the type of business you’re building—and sometimes it can be difficult to generate a statement that truly encompasses your company’s persona crisply and thoughtfully.
It can be overwhelming to create just one clear, concise message that doesn’t sound too salesy or gimmicky. You must take the time to construct an authentic statement that aligns perfectly with your company’s strategic direction. It should reflect your core values and encourage your target customers to work with you.
Here are five ways to discover and craft a successful, purposeful mission statement for your business.
Consult with your team.
Your talent sets your business apart from the competition. It’s what makes your company unique. So it’s imperative that you ask your dedicated team why they love working there.
Ask them how they view the company. What makes the business stand out in the market? Whom do they serve? Why do they serve the types of clients they work with? How do they want prospects to envision the company? How do they want the company to grow?
The people who are dedicated to helping your company grow prosperously and successfully into the future know exactly what makes your business great. Ask them to answer truthfully and genuinely about why your business really matters.
Play with your words.
After you’ve received your team’s responses, compile a list of the keywords that they’ve come up with. What words did they use to describe your company and its true purpose?
Is your company reliable? Are your clients young, trailblazing entrepreneurs? Does your product motivate and inspire your buyers? Do you hope to change the world?
Like refrigerator poetry magnets, separate the individual keywords you’ve read and construct sample mission statements. Try to create several statements from the myriad responses your enthusiastic team has provided you.
Playing with these words will get the creative juices flowing. Have fun with your statements. Nobody said they had to be boring and stiff. Create out-of-the-ordinary statements that will really dazzle and impress your audience.
What words stand out? Are there duplicates? Do any words clash in meaning or significance? Really listen to your employees’ candid reactions; they may surprise you.
Ask: Why, Why, Why?
To create a successful mission statement, you must also ask yourself a series of “why” questions:
Why did you start your business?
Why is it important to you?
Why should people care?
Answer honestly. Think big picture. Be precise. Your statement should tell the story of your business in one crisp sentence.
Think about why you opened your business in the first place. Did you want to empower entrepreneurs? Did you want to sell a product that changes lives? Did you want to create a powerful global firm?
Whatever your core purpose may be, prospects should know exactly what your vision for the future is while explaining why that’s important and why they should care.
Why do you do what you do? What makes you get up every morning, wanting to share your brilliance with the world? Why should prospects value what you have to offer them?
The more targeted your mission statement, the sooner your tribe of converted buyers will come knocking on your door with cash in-hand.
Sift through the jargon and get concise.
Remember: A mission statement is a statement. It’s not a story or an “About Us” page. It should be clear, succinct, and direct. Leave the details in your website copy elsewhere.
Don’t overcomplicate things with lofty, exorbitant words that are really only stuck there to make your statement sound prettier. That doesn’t mean that you have to dumb down the language or write a boring statement, either.
Be simple, yet specific. Don’t just say, To empower women business owners. Instead, define the type of women business owners you’re passionate about helping.
Make sure you’ve written in your most authentic, polished voice. Your statement should sound like you.
Just remember not to overpower your words with lavish adjectives that only end up directing the reader’s attention away from the true meaning behind your “why.”
Write it. Rest it. Write it again.
Once you’ve crafted your mission statement, set it aside. Leave it alone. Don’t read it for at least a few days. Then, come back, look at what you’ve written, and assess it.
Is that really the statement you envisioned from the start? Do your language choices fit with your brand? Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Have you depicted a business that you’d want to work with or buy from?
By stepping away from the statement for a period of time, it allows you to make more thoughtful edits with clarity and purpose.
You may even have to completely rewrite your statement, and that’s okay. A mission statement should evolve and change—just like your business.
If you’re not constantly going back and asking yourself, Is my mission statement a direct reflection of this company’s core ideals and vision for the future? or, Does our statement actually paint a picture of the way we run things here?, then you’re doing yourself—and your income—a huge disservice.
Go back and revise your statement as your business grows, you land more clients, or your branding and messaging changes. Your mission statement is your virtual name tag. It’s the identity that prospects will instantly associate with you and to your business. It has the potential to make or break your next big leap in success, so why not make it a great one?
Need help crafting a mission statement that matters? Contact us about our Strategy + Consulting Services today.