Apart from the overarching opening I've just presented, why else would you spend time crafting a mission statement? The very act of thinking about your mission statement helps to clarify your business’s goals, standards, and values. These, in turn, form the framework by which all interested parties know, understand and buy into your vision, and the foundation by which your company will flourish.
Of all the business planning elements, I believe this one provides the most direction. It pulls together disparate pieces and creates focus. Decision making becomes easy, as does strategy formulation. Your marketing messages appear clear and consistent. A strong mission invokes the company's public voice. In other words, your communications and marketing materials speak in a way that reflects the character of every facet of your business.
A mission statement can be as short as a couple of words or as long as a few sentences. Make it vibrant. Make it mean something. Use active verbs and the active voice but most of all, make it inspire action. You want it to make a powerful impact.
Make your mission broad enough for expansion. Let me explain this by example. Take Starbucks; they could have had a mission: "To make the best coffee in the world". It's a decent enough statement, but it is limiting. See how their actual statement broadens the scope; "To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time." Do you see the difference? Without a doubt, Starbucks lives its mission, and the scope is wider than just coffee.
To get your thinking in gear, I have presented some questions. Take a look, think about them and write your answer. When you have finished, pick out the most important points and put together in one, two or three sentences. And lastly, find out what other people think before you finalise it.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS
- Why am I in this business - what made me want to do this?
- What do I do - define who you are, what you offer, and price, quality?
- How do I do it - how am I different to the competition?
- Who do I serve - persona?
- What image do I want to portray - how do I want my business to be perceived
- What value do I provide?
- What are the defining characteristics of my business - what philosophies or values guide me?
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