Mission Statements: Why One Paragraph Can Make or Break Your Company
A company’s mission statement is a written expression that summarizes its business goals and underlying business philosophies. Established to help outsiders understand the purpose of your company, a mission statement can be just as important as your entire strategic business plan. If written correctly, it will deliver a strong message to your clients, employees, and suppliers. If poorly worded, you could be turning away potential business. Essentially, you want every aspect of your company recorded (i.e., the services you offer, pricing, relationships with the people you work with and for, quality of products and service, and potential business growth), in a way that will help clarify what your business does, and the objectives it strives to meet. This can be accomplished by following certain guidelines so that the essence of your company is captured, hopefully helping to drive new business.
The best way to start is to answer a couple of questions about your business. Start with broad questions, and then get more specific to create a short, simple statement. For example, begin with “What business am I in?” and “Who are my customers and preferred clients?” Once these are answered, try more precise questions such as “In what ways are we different from our competitors?” and “How will we use new technology to upgrade our business to keep it relevant and up-to-date?” The more questions you answer, the more of an idea you will get on what is important to include in your statement, and what you feel your clients should know. Avoid being boring or redundant by using radical, eye-catching words that create a visual and active image of your company. Above all, you want a clear, concise statement that differentiates you from your competition.
Many tools exist to assist in the development of your mission statement, including worksheets, samples, and tips from other companies.
Be sure to set aside enough time to write your mission statement. Though a mission statement is short, it can take time to create a statement that will be memorable. Brainstorm with your employees, and once something is written, test it out on various people. Create a focus group to get valuable feedback on what works, or what can be improved. Once you have chosen your statement, make sure you go back in a couple of months, or years from now to make sure it is still relevant and follows what your business does.