Oh no, I hear you groaning! You’re not really asking me to write a mission statement, are you? Isn’t a mission statement just a load of hot air, a meaningless set of words that you find displayed in corporate brochures and reports? If your mission statement is nothing more than a generic platitude or trite slogan like “this company is customer-focused” or “this company is committed to delivering excellence,” then yes you’re right. Because that’s not a mission statement.
I believe the words ‘mission statement’ are two of the least understood in the business vocabulary. I also know that putting together a decent mission statement is no easy task because its job is to encapsulate, in as few words as possible, precisely what the company stands for. There are no unintentional words in a mission statement; the words used are concrete, clear and concise. E.g.
- Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
- Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
- Amazon: To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.
What Great Mission Statements Do
A well-crafted mission statement describes the heart or essence of your brand. It encapsulates the values that drive your brand, your business personality, your customer service, and your marketing messages. It provides your company with a clear sense of direction so that you can focus on finding the right customers for your business and providing products that meet their needs. It explains precisely what your business is all about to your customers, employees, suppliers and the wider community.
A mission statement reminds every employee in your company about the reasons why your business exists – its raison d’etre. Where you are going. And why. It helps you to stay on track so that when you do have to make important decisions, you have a compass to help you determine whether these align with your mission.
Your mission statement:
- Drives everything your business does.
- Accelerates the evolution of your brand.
- Inspires and aspires.
- Sets the tone for the company’s values.
- Describe precisely the direction in which your business is headed.
- Enables the business to make the right choices about its people, its resources and its investments.
- Sets out the strengths of the company.
- Balances the possible with the seemingly impossible.
- Creates the sense that you’re part of a bigger picture.
- Is concrete and specific.
How to Develop Your Mission Statement
When developing your mission statement, here are some key questions to ask:
- What do we do?
- Who do we do it for?
- Why did we start our business?
- Why are we in this industry?
- What image of our business do we want to communicate?
When writing your mission statement, be sure to use dynamic, colourful, action orientated words that convey your passion and values. Keep your mission statement as short as possible while ensuring that it captures as succinctly as possible the essence of your business and your brand.
If you don’t currently have a mission statement or it’s so cheese-y it sounds like a card from Hallmark, have a go at writing one that reflects ‘your why’ and your values, using the guidelines above.
Better still share your mission statement in the comments box below.
Join The Conversation
Questions: Do you agree that businesses need a mission statement? Does your business have one? I love reading your feedback so please do let me know how this article has helped you in the comments box below.
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I’m Denyse Whillier, a London based business coach and consultant. I guide entrepreneurs from across the globe to achieve profitable, scaleable growth and create businesses that are Built To Succeed™. Built To Succeed™ is my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO, 25 years’ experience at senior leadership and managerial level and training at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school. It’s this background that sets me apart and helps my clients to get BIG results.
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