Mission statements are largely ignored and not motivating. They might be plastered on the wall of a corporate office or included in each employee manual, but often people can’t tell you what their company’s mission is, much less what it means to them and their role with the company.
You don’t want to be part of that majority. You want your employees to know your mission statement. You want them to get inspired by the philosophy that the company was founded with. You also want your staff to able to succinctly share that with others.
When you’re faced with tough decisions, it’s invaluable to have a mission statement that reminds you what your company stands for, what differentiates you from competitors, and how you should behave.
How you can create this guiding light? First, you need to understand what the mission statement should be. Then, you need to answer questions related to your business that will provide a foundation for a mission statement.
What The Mission Statement Needs To Be
Above all else, the mission statement needs to be useful. If it’s not useful, it can’t inspire, motivate, communicate, or do anything else.
To achieve useful status, people need to understand the statement, which means making the statement as simple and succinct as possible. Stringing together a bunch of buzzwords to form a dense statement will do nothing for you or your company.
Convey your message succinctly. Short phrases or sentences can be just as powerful – if not more powerful – than long, drawn-out paragraphs.
Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something, has this advice about creating a statement. “Write a mission statement with a goal that’s an action, not a sentiment; that is quantifiable, not nebulous.”
Rhonda Abrams, author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies, echoed Lublin’s words. “Mission statements help clarify what business you are in, your goals and your objectives.”
Two real-life examples of actionable, quantifiable mission statements come from Microsoft and Amazon. One of Microsoft’s first goals was to have “a computer on every desk and in every home, all running Microsoft software,” while Amazon’s mission statement for the Kindle is to make “every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.”
Both of those statements have goals interwoven with philosophies. The goals might be lofty, but that’s what the staffs at both companies hope to achieve – and believe they will. Note also that these statements are forward looking. They define what the company wants to achieve in the near future, not what it has already accomplished.
How To Create Your Mission Statement
According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, business plan consultant David Tucker recommends answering the question What business are you in?
Other questions that you should consider when creating your mission statement:
- What message do you want to convey to staff, current clients and potential customers?
- Why did you start your business? Why do you continue to do it?
- What is special about your service? Do you guarantee a response within a certain number of hours? Does a live person always answer the phone?
- What makes you different than your competitors?
- What are the main themes or values throughout your answers?
- What is your business today and what do you need it to be five years from now?
Have you formulated your mission statement yet? If so, what did you do that helped you create one suitable for your company?
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