Crafting Your Mission Statement
A well-crafted mission statement can help you focus on your business better. When you decide to create a mission statement, it requires that you sit down and truly consider what you want to accomplish with your business outside of making money. A mission statement needs to explain why your business exists. It guides your actions (and the actions of your entire organization) by providing a path toward reaching the business’s goals.
Most mission statements encompass just a few sentences that answer:
* Why does your business exists? – If you don’t know why you’re doing it, you can’t do it well.
* Who does your business exists for? – You have to know your audience to deliver the right products and services.
* What product or services do you offer to them? – If you can’t describe what you provide, it’ll be hard to move forward. It’s easy if your product is tangible, such as ice-cream or widgets.
* How your business is unique? – What differentiates your products/services from the competition? Why are yours better?
Once you answer the questions, consider that your rough draft in which you can now find better words to describe each answer, forming a cohesive mission statement.
Your mission statement comprises just a few sentences, making up a concise paragraph that describes why your business exists, for whom, what products you deliver, and how they’re different from the competition. The words you use must be understandable to your audience. Get the opinion of your audience about whether it makes sense or not.
Your mission statement is for you and those who work for you to keep focus on what is important. It doesn’t have to really resonate with those outside of the business. But it does need to help guide you forward and inspire you to reach the ideas within the mission statement. It needs to describe what’s truly important about your business, outside of money.
The mission statement should focus on your core competency. What is it that you do for others? Let’s look at a couple mission statements for an example.
An Architects’ Mission Statement: NewSouth Architects, http://www.jamescaudle.com/
“Our Mission: To design and build dreams through excellence in design talent, inspirational leadership, budget consciousness, sustainable and innovative architecture while adhering to the highest in creative and ethical standards to achieve overwhelming client satisfaction.”
It’s clear what this company’s mission is when reading this mission statement. They’re in the design business but also in the bringing dreams to life business. Sure, they make money, but it’s not the mission.
Ben & Jerry’s Mission Statement: Ben & Jerry’s, http://www.benjerry.com
“Social Mission: To operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.
Product Mission: To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.
Economic Mission: To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.”
Two very different examples, but none of them mention making money as their mission. One is short and to the point, and one has longer and more elaborate missions for different areas. You can be as elaborate as you want with your mission statement, and you can have more than one mission statement, like Ben & Jerry’s. But the point is to give you and your employees a reason for being, an answer as to what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it.