MISSION STATEMENT COMPOSITION
Business planning and strategic experts say that a Mission Statement is absolutely mandatory for your company direction and fund raising. A Mission Statement can guide your company in good times and bad. A meaningful Mission Statement can act as a moral and corporate compass. It can help you make decisions aligning with your values and goals. Your Mission Statement is the key to finding your path in life and identifying the mission you choose to follow. Having a clearly articulated Mission Statement gives one a template of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of one's activities.
Writing the Mission Statement for your business can be one of the most important things you can do as the leader of your organization, especially if there is more than one person working in the organization. Often you will have rather different ideas among your collaborators as to the direction and strategy of the organization. By answering the following questions collaboratively and creating one document that all involved agree to and sign, you will not only minimize headaches and arguments down the road but also be fully aligned on your goals and be able to work together efficiently.
3 Keys to a Meaningful Mission Statement
- Pass the Mother Test: A Mission Statement must be a concise paragraph describing what your company does and for whom. Show your mission to your mother, if she does not understand it, start again.
- Self-Igniting: Your mission is for you and your business. It does not have to be an earth moving statement. It can be whatever inspires you.
- Value Alignment: Forget the money. A meaningful mission goes beyond the dollars and cents. If your small business is creative, focus your mission on creativity. Try to be what your core competency is.
Sample Mission Statement First Paragraphs
The Elephant Sanctuary: "A Natural-Habitat Refuge Where Sick, Old and Needy Elephants Can Once Again Walk The Earth In Peace and Dignity." One powerful statement that evokes emotion and instant attachment to the cause of this organization.
Sun Microsystems: "Solve complex network computing problems for governments, enterprises, and service providers." A simple Mission Statement identifying who their market is and what they do.
Ben & JerryŐs Ice Cream: A product mission stated as: "To make, distribute & sell the finest quality all natural ice cream & euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment." This mission inspired Ben and Jerry to build a cause-related company.
Joe Boxer: "JOE BOXER is dedicated to bringing new and creative ideas to the market place, both in our product offerings as well as our marketing events. We will continue to develop our unique brand positioning, to maintain and grow our solid brand recognition, and to adhere to high quality design standards. Because everyone wants to have fun everyday, JOE BOXER will continue to offer something for everyone with fun always in mind."
Each sample Mission Statement conveys the business founder's core beliefs and values. Anyone who knows or has met, Nicholas Graham of Joe Boxer, knows his company is about being zany and fun. What CEO would call himself the "Chief Underpants Officer"? It is all about your Mission expressed through your business.
Ten Questions Your Mission Statement Should Answer
- What problem(s) do you solve? What need(s) do you fulfill?
- What do you sell? How do you make your money? What is your revenue model?
- How are you unique from everyone else out there? What is your unique selling proposition?
- Who will you sell to? What is your target market?
- What are your economic/financial goals?
- What are your social/community goals?
- What type of company do you want to create? Are you a lifestyle or high potential company?
- Where is the company going? What products/services/industries do you plan to venture into?
- What is your five year strategy? Do you want to sell internationally, build an online store, franchise your business, build certain partnerships, develop additional products?
- Do you ever plan on selling the company or going public? What is your exit strategy?