Your company mission statement shapes everything you do as a business owner. It sets the tone for how you grow, how you treat customers and what you value most as a business owner and a person. Taking the time to create a mission statement that will stand the test of time and work even years after your opening day is a good investment of time.
One study found there is a positive correlation between mission statements and performance. However, the overall impact of how a mission statement influences a brand is almost impossible to measure. There are some important factors to consider as you create your mission statement and how to show off that mission to consumers.
1. Figure Out Your Company’s Purpose
Why did you want to start your company in the first place? Once you know your purpose, it’s much easier to write a mission statement. If your goal is to help people in your community by providing a solution to the problem, this should play into your mission statement.
Your mission statement should explain the “what,” “who” and “how” of your company. What does your company do, who does it and how do you serve the community? Answering these simple questions is a great place to start with a mission statement.
Watts of Love’s mission statement reads, “Watts of Love is a global solar lighting nonprofit bringing people the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty.” Note how the statement tells what Watts of Love is (global solar lighting), who they are (a nonprofit) and what they do for the world (bring people the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty). Everything they do will reflect back to that statement.
2. Highlight Your Mission Statement
There are more factors to consider as you create a strong mission statement, but before you finish the statement, you should also consider how you’ll utilize it. If you plan to use it online and offline, then you’ll want to ensure it’s concise enough for print advertising.
Think through places you’ll use the statement, such as social media channels as well as your own website. Does the statement fit or can you break it down into smaller points? Highlight your mission anytime you get a chance. It will also keep you focused as a business owner on your ultimate purpose.
3. Help the World
One way to figure out your mission is to figure out how your company helps the world. While it is typically obvious how a nonprofit helps those in need, it may not be as readily obvious if you run a for-profit business.
This is your opportunity to find a way to tap into what you’re most passionate about. Some companies choose to take on a cause and donate a portion of their proceeds while others focus on how their very product or service helps others.
Take a look at how Mercy Corps works up a mission statement that highlights how they help the world. Their statement reads, “Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.” That’s a pretty strong focus on how they help the world at large by alleviating the suffering of poverty and oppression. How do you help the world with your business?
4. Study Other Mission Statements
One of the best ways to figure out your mission statement is to study the statements of other companies. Check out the missions of both large non-profits and for-profits. What do you like about their mission statements and what could be better? Take notes on which statements you like the best and why.
Once you’ve studied other statements and have a series of notes, take the time to study what you liked and didn’t like. Really break sentences apart and look at the elements in the sentence. Do they match what you know about — as well as who, how, when and why?
5. Write a Rough Draft
Your next step should be to come up with a rough mission statement. Answer the questions about what your company is, who you are and how you help the world, or at least your customers. You may need some help brainstorming here. Pull in friends, family and other business owners and ask for their views of what your business does and why you do it.
Once you have some ideas, begin to play around with the words until you have a few mission statements you somewhat like. This is your rough draft that you can build on — more on that in a minute — and use to create something polished and well-honed.
Google’s mission statement reads, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They go into more detail on their About page and explain that they want to make information accessible to everyone around the world. It’s simple, but they clearly show how they are making the world better for those seeking information.
6. Deepen Your Mission
Once you have gone through the steps to come up with a few rough mission statements, spend some time thinking about which one truly defines you as a company. Once you’ve developed your mission, take time each quarter to study how well you’re delivering on that mission and figure out ways to better meet your mission goals.
Are you communicating your mission to your customers and your employees? The best way to be successful in delivering your mission is to get everyone on board with it.
The Importance of Knowing Your Purpose
While the values of your company are separate from the mission, the two are intricately entwined. Your values shape your overall mission and your mission statement reminds you — and the public — of those values. Putting your mission statement in writing is a good way to redirect your focus when you veer off the path you set for yourself in the beginning.