Crafting Your Mission Statement

A clear, succinct and cogent mission statement is a sure sign of a well-run business. When a company can clearly define what it does for its customers, employees and owners, it is focused and well-positioned for success.

In other words, crafting your mission statement is a very significant aspect of getting your enterprise started on the right track. Here’s how to do it.

Determine Your Purpose

Imagine yourself justifying the purpose of your business. Why does your company even exist? Who does it serve? How does it serve them? And most importantly, what sets it apart from every other company out there doing the same thing for the same people?

Define your target customer and verbalize why you’re best positioned to serve them. Specify why your business sis different from all others—what’s unique about it? Lay this out in the most concrete terms possible.

Make It Short and Succinct

Regardless of how long that story it turns out to be, distill it down to one or two sentences to comprise your statement. Yes, this can be difficult for a complex organization with a lot of layers. If your company is a conglomerate, perhaps each unit should have its own separate mission statement—as long each one is reflective of the values of the organization as a whole.

It Should Inspire Your Team

The statement you craft should be capable of giving your organization a standard to which it can aspire. Including specific activities will help your organization maintain focus as it goes about the day-to-day processes of conducting business.

Make it as Specific as Possible

When it comes to the distillation process, the temptation will be great to infuse your statement with industry jargon and corporate-speak. Ignore it. Use the most basic language possible.

If a middle school student stopped you on the street and asked you what your company is all about, you should be able to recite your mission statement in language they can easily understand, and it should resonate with them.

If your business is making logos, your statement could read:

“We offer both new and existing companies’ memorable symbols for their businesses. As a logo maker, our primary goal is to provide our customers with unique, creative, and memorable designs wholly reflective of the character of their businesses at the most affordable price possible. We do this while maintaining a stimulating and rewarding workplace in which our employees feel valued, so they can do the same for our customers.”

It’s clear, concise and focused. Customers can tell what the company is all about right away. So, can employees and potential hires.

Test it In-House First

Once you’ve come up with what you feel is a workable mission statement, formulate a committee comprised of the leadership of your organization and rank and file employees—the people who do the actual work. Bounce it off of the group to see if they feel it accurately represents what they do. If not, get their ideas and work them in.

Keep going until you reach a consensus. You’ll then be ready to put it into play with the general public—or more specifically, your investors, customers and vendors.

A solid first step for any new business, crafting your mission statement will give you a standard by which to conduct your business dealings. It will also help keep you focused on your core activity, while informing any expansions you might consider. At its essence, your mission statement is a distillation of the Bible by which your organization functions.

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