A mission statement is a useful long-term guide for your business. Here’s how to write one that will help you accomplish your mission.
- Why are you in business?
- What value do you provide your customers?
- How do you help people in a way that makes a connection to a product/service that results in a transaction and deliverable?
- How do you make the world a better place – what’s your mission?
Answer those questions is a concise statement and you have the basis for your mission statement.
Your mission statement is like the heading for an airplane – it’s the overall direction you’re going. Many other things may affect the trip, but you stay on heading to reach your destination.
A useful mission statement clarifies the purpose of your business as it relates to the value you offer your customers. An effective mission statement transcends your product itself.
Let’s explore this with an example. Imagine the mission statement you’d write if you sold this product:
Now, consider that your mission statement must also be true in the future, so it must apply to this product:
How would you write it?
At first, you might think you’d write something about how you build the highest quality, safest step-ladders. But this is too feature specific for a mission statement. Instead try:
We build products that help people safely reach things and do work in high places. With our products, nothing is out of reach.
The takeaway here is that the mission statement isn’t really about the product itself. If your statement no longer works because your product changed or you created a new marketing campaign, then you’re not talking about your mission.
Why A Mission Statement is Useful
It’s true that most small businesses don’t have a formal, written mission statement.
It’s also true that many small businesses struggle to develop a marketing strategy or unique value proposition. They use tactics randomly in a hit or miss effort to reach their audience.
That’s not to say that creating a mission statement will completely solve that problem, but it will help.
A mission statement gives you a heading for your business journey. It defines – at the highest level – the problem you want to solve for people.
For example, Marketing 360® works with Exergaming, a company that creates interactive fitness programs. Here is their mission statement:
The goal of Exergame Fitness is to merge interactive fitness programs with high tech equipment to make getting healthy more enjoyable.
This company continues to create new, innovative products. They seek out new target audiences. Their marketing and advertising adjust to these changes as needed.
But their fundamental mission stays the same.
Mission statements are most useful when you use them as a theme for your messaging. Your mission gives you a focal point. If you start to veer away, use your mission statement to correct your heading.
Important Tips for Writing a Mission Statement
When you write your company mission statement, remember these tips.
#1. Make a Value Connection
A mission statement is high-level, but it also must connect to a fundamental value you deliver. Be specific about that value in your statement (like the ability to work on things out of reach or use tech equipment to make fitness engaging and enjoyable).
#2. Don’t Be Vague
This really connects to #1. The biggest mistake most companies make with mission statements is being too vague.
For example, if your mission is simply to “improve people’s lives” or “help them succeed”, that’s not really useful. How are you going to do that? Make the value connection.
Also, avoid taking about your “passion” in your mission statement. Sure, you’re passionate about what you do, and that feeling is a big part of your mission.
But it’s too subjective to be useful. It’s also a cliche. It seems like every novice business person who comes to us wants to talk about how passionate they are about their work.
When it comes to your passion for helping people, show don’t tell. What does that passion result in for the people you seek to help? That’s what your mission statement is about.
Use your mission statement internally to guide goals and tactics. When you create new marketing campaigns or ads, make sure they align with your mission. This will help you stay targeted and cohesive.
Your business is on a long journey. You’re the pilot. Use your mission statement as a heading indicator to stay on course.
That’s how you arrive at your destination – and accomplish your mission.