A mission statement is one of the most powerful tools for leading your business or organization to success. The trick is knowing how to craft the perfect one, before you start posting it on your website. There are a few tips and tricks to nailing exactly the right wording to articulate your vision and values to your target audience. The purpose of this blog is to highlight what makes an effective mission statement and how to write one for your business or organization.
What is a mission statement?
The mission statement is the foundation of your business. But what is it really? A mission statement takes the ‘why’ of what you do and consolidates it into about one to two sentences. Avoid writing a run-on sentence that’s the length of a paragraph. This abbreviated expression of your values and purpose helps everyone who encounters your work to immediately understand what you’re all about. It also serves to remind you and your employees why you continue to strive to operate your business efficiently.
A strong mission statement will contain four key elements:
If your mission statement is written effectively, readers will walk away understanding the value your work adds to the world or to their lives, feeling inspired to use your products or services, convinced that your goal is achievable, and crystal clear on the nature of your business or organization. Once these four components are present, you’ve got yourself a mission statement that is dressed to impress.
Why your business needs a mission statement
The 4 key elements of a mission statement all sound well and good, but why exactly is it important for you to adopt one? There are both inward and outward-facing reasons.
Internally, it acts as a guiding statement to frame all your strategic business decisions. It’s easy to reference every time you need a reminder of the values you embody as a company, or the vision you are pursuing. Furthermore, it is an important backbone to workplace morale, and motivates inspiration every time your declared purpose starts fading behind administrative emails and fundraising campaigns. Those are the moments when you write your mission statement down on a little sticky note and post it on your computer screen.
Externally, this expression is a critical figure in the landscape of brand identity. Readers will associate your tone, register key words you select, and values you highlight with the larger persona of your company. The mission statement, then, communicates to outsiders who you are, and what you do. In its concise form, its task is to explain how to nurture a connection with the curious minds viewing its several sentences and explain why yours should be the right business or organization for them to choose.
How to write a mission statement for your business in 5 steps
Ask yourself three fundamental questions:
· What does your business do?
· How does it do it?
· And why?
With the first question, evaluate your response through the lenses of your customers or beneficiaries, your employees, and yourself. When relevant, you can widen the perspectives to also define what your business does for your community, or even for the world. The exercise of answering these three questions will help you establish your purpose, clarify the value you offer, and reconnect to your motivating passion.
Hold a brainstorming session:
Either by yourself or with your team, throw around words and phrases that convey the answers you generated in the previous step. Of course, we know each of those questions could give way to an essay, sometimes even a book. Yet, here, keeping it as brief as possible and right to the point is a priority above all. Try instead for “snapshot words” that capture the sentiment of your business’ value and purpose. Don’t hold back here: All ideas are acceptable at this point, and you never know when a phrase that’s slightly off can spark the suggestion of the phrase that’s exactly right.
Narrow down your choices:
Either through a group voting process or by soliciting the feedback of a few people you trust, narrow down the list you generated in step two. At the end of this step, you should emerge with a curated list of your favorite words and phrases that are fitting and truly reflect your brand.
Refine your words into sentences:
Set aside a few hours, a quiet area, and put on your best ‘eureka moment’ playlist. It’s time to start massaging your list of chosen words and phrases into one to two complete sentences, keeping in mind all the key elements we reviewed earlier. Check in frequently with those four criteria to ensure you’re on the right track. Finally, remember to write in the present tense. This is an active proclamation of what you do - not what you hope to do someday.
Review what you’ve written:
The editing stage is best done with fresh eyes, after you’ve had some time away from your first draft. Notice points where you can tighten the phrasing or make your wording even more precise. Run through potential future developments for your business. Will the statement you’re crafting now stand the test of time and an evolving business strategy? Take care to build some of this flexibility into your final version (without losing sight of the specificity, of course). Lastly, cut out the fluff. Big words that sound fancy but don’t add much value or clarity for your readers should be directed straight to the trash can. What survives your editing annotations will be the strong, durable, and exact material that quality mission statements are made of.
Now what? Where to display your mission statement
Once you have polished your mission statement, it’s time to debut it to your colleagues and target audience. Find a place to print and proudly display it in your workplace so you and all of your team members can look to it as a source of guidance whenever a big decision is in front of you, or you need an inspirational boost.
Additionally, your new mission statement should appear across all your marketing and promotional materials, from printed brochures to your beautiful website. Due to its short length, it also makes for an excellent bio lines on your social media channels. It’s a sharp answer to people’s initial question of ‘What is this?!’ after they stumble across your profile and on the Internet, it’s important to keep information flowing fast to keep the attention of visitors to your website engaged. Your mission statement makes your point quickly and succinctly, giving your online traffic a reason to stick around. Now, that’s good for business!
P.S. One little hint from us to you: Keep a note of all places where you feature your mission statement. In the event you update it, you will want to be able to make an easy sweep of your office and your online presence to implement the new edits across the board.