A mission statement or rather the sentences that comprise it are the most important ones in your business plan. “Your mission statement is your ‘Why?’ It tells investors, customers, and employees what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it,” Tina says in her webinar.
But it also is the heart of your company so it needs to reflect the spirit and voice of that original great idea. Starbucks accomplished that beautifully with “To inspire and nurture the human spirit-one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Coffee isn’t even mentioned in this mission statement and yet the word Starbucks is now synonymous with coffee. But through that one sentence, it defined its purpose and also let the consumer know that this is so much more than a place where you get coffee.
So how can you craft the perfect mission statement? The main questions you want to ask yourself when writing it are:
What need is our product or company going to help with?
How are we going to address these needs?
What market will we be serving?
What makes our product or company unique?
Make It Succinct
It should not take you a short novel to explain the purpose of your company (that would be a clear red flag that there is an issue.) “It should be short, simple and clear,” says Tina. For example, Google’s mission statement is “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Very straightforward and understandable, right? But so is McDonald’s: “McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.” Very different and yet you know exactly what these companies do in one short sentence.
Make It Current
Don’t focus on why you originally started or some long-winded story about how this all started. You want to keep it in the present.
Make It Strong
When it comes to vocabulary you don’t want to oversimplify it but you want to choose bold and powerful words. You want words that convey, knowledge and strength.
Make It Explain How It Will Accomplish Its Goal
You need to let everyone know the strategy behind the why. How are you going to make the why happen.
Make It Flexible
The best mission statements are going to change over time because the company is going to change (and hopefully grow) over time. It needs to be malleable. As we saw with Starbucks above they gave themselves the freedom to offer so much more than just coffee.
Make It Valuable
You need to convey why this company, product or idea is purposeful. Why does this need to exist in the universe?
Test It Out
Make sure it makes sense to other people (not just you.) Everyone you work with needs to understand the why of this statement and the how part. Once you have taken all the feedback go and edit.
A great mission statement can live forever if has a strong, defining and passionate foundation.