When you create a business, you bring forth an entity which has its own personality; a living thing. A mission statement expresses the essence of that personality and its nature of being. Defining your mission statement is not, therefore, an empty exercise. Rather it captures and radiates the core purpose of the business and serves as the driving force in everything you do.
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
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