Welcome back! Today we’re excited to tell you all about mission statements for your business.
Mission statements are more than just the fine print on your website, they’re the way the public will understand your business, what you do, and what you stand for. And, more importantly, this needs to be front and center on your business plan so that potential lenders and investors can make sure that the values of your company align with their own.
Additionally, according to recent surveys, Generation Z highly considers company’s values before making a purchase. Does that company’s values align with their own? Does the company operate in a fair and ethic way? In short, don’t let your mission statement be the things that drives business away… In fact, it should be quite the opposite!
Keep reading below to learn more about what a mission statement is, why you need one, and how to write one.
What is a business mission statement and why do you need one?
Simply put, a mission statement is what your business does and what makes your business unique. It’s one to three sentences that explains to your employees and customers what you hope to achieve as a business and how you hope to do it.
Mission statements are important because they define what your company values. And these days especially, consumers and employees want to ensure their personal values align with their chosen products, services, and/or place of work.
So, what does your business do and why should customers and employees choose you over a different business that may provide something similar? Is it because your hiring methods are more ethical? Is it because you have a green initiative while manufacturing products? In short, why would someone be proud to purchase from you?
Examples of Great Mission Statements
Before you go ahead and draft your first attempt at a mission statement, it might be helpful to look at some great businesses who have exemplary ones.
First up, we have Google. A company that obviously needs no further introduction. Their mission statement reads: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
As you can see, like in any great mission statement, Google chose their words intentionally. There is no word included in this mission statement that isn’t purposeful or meaningful. And yet, at the same time it’s brief, clear, and easy to understand.
Let’s take a closer look at the powerful words they chose to use: “Organize;” “World’s information;” “universally accessible;” and “useful.” Think about these words. Think of reasons why they chose the word “organize” instead of synonyms like “arrange” or “classify.” Notice how they specified the type of information they provide, with words that are precise yet broad all at once: “the world’s.” See how they made it clear that their company wants to reach as many people as possible in a non-discriminatory way: “Universally accessible.”
In short, from this brief statement, it’s clear that Google values giving useful information to everyone all over the world, no matter their age, race, ethnicity, disabilities, abilities, etc. Notice how they didn’t say, “Our mission is to create the world’s best search engine,” because that doesn’t include their customer base or their larger values of universal accessibility.
So, ask yourself, before sitting down to pen your very own mission statement, what powerful words describe your company perfectly? And what are your irrefutable values that you won’t budge on? Racial equality? Universal accessibility? Valuing each customer as their own unique person via customizable products or services? Unfortunately, we can’t answer this question for you, but hopefully this analysis will help you to write your own inspiring, unique mission statement.
The 5 Steps for Writing a Successful Mission Statement for Your Business Plan
1) Answer the 3 W’s and the Big H
If you went to elementary school, chances are you know the question words. Now, let’s use them to build a mission statement that’s memorable and meaningful. Who are you as a business and who do you serve? What do you do/sell? How do you do it? And most importantly, why do you do it? I.e. For the health and safety of your customers? To make consumer’s lives easier? Etc. Basically, list out answers to your business’ who, what, how, and why and start researching words that pack a punch. Is there a word in the dictionary that can answer more than one of these questions at the same time? If so, take note! Because the briefer and more powerful your mission statement, the better!
2) Write up a first draft that’s short, meaningful, and specific
Now’s the time for you to use those bullet point answers you made in step one, and organize them into a one to three sentence (tops!) statement. Believe it or not, there are highly regarded mission statements out there that are six words or less. Quantity doesn’t equal quality here. The fewer words you can use to get your message across…the better!
Additionally, read over your mission statement from all points of view. Have you used a word with dual meanings? Would people from all walks of life interpret this statement how you intended? Even if it’s not your intention, might someone read this and get offended? These are all things to consider and ask yourself as you’re penning the first draft of your business’ mission statement.
3) Make sure it’s logical, yet exciting and hopeful
Like anything else in life, a great mission statement is a delicate balance of more than one thing. More specifically, you want to read over your first draft of the mission statement and see if it exudes two things: logic and optimism.
What exactly do we mean? First of all, it should be clear from your mission statement what you do. Certainly not all the details, but a general idea. Secondly, your mission statement should excite or inspire. Ideally, future employers or customers will read it and think, “I love what this company stands for and I want to be a part of it!”
As you can see, even though a mission statement is only a few words, it might take a few tries to get it just right. But don’t fret, once you have the perfect mission statement, you’ll be glad you took the time to put together a statement that’s unique, clear, concise, and exciting!
4) Send it out for feedback
Even the most experienced writers know that no piece of writing is complete without at least one other set of eyes looking over it, if not more. Different people bring different perspectives, ideas, and knowledge to the table. So, the more (reliable) people you show your drafted mission statement to for feedback, the better. And of course, ideally, this group of people you show your mission statement to should be trusted colleagues, family, or friends with some sort of writing or busines background.
Showing it to three to five outsiders for feedback ensures a wide range of opinions without overwhelming you with critiques. Because perhaps they’ll think of a better way to word it, find a grammatical error you didn’t notice, or offer you a new point of view to consider. Whatever their feedback is, listen with an open heart, as if they represent a future, valued employee or customer.
5) Stick to it and adjust as necessary
After working hard on researching, writing, receiving feedback, and adjusting your mission statement, it’s likely you’re ready to finalize it! Put it on your business’ website, Instagram, Facebook, business cards, and most importantly, your business plan!
However, we want to remind you as well, that a mission statement is not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. It’s something your company should live by. In fact, once you have your mission statement finalized, before your company makes any major business decisions in the future, it’s recommended that you revisit your mission statement. This is to ensure that this business decision is in line with all the values you mentioned in said mission statement.
Additionally, your mission statement is not just mean to guide you and your company into the future. It’s also okay to change and adjust your business statement over time. Just like individual people change their values, businesses can too. Whether that’s in the form of rebranding, transferring ownership, or something else. Therefore, don’t feel as though it’s “bad” to change your mission statement. It’s actually recommended that you check up on it every few years and make sure your business is still acting in accordance with your mission statement, or if it’s time to make some changes.
A mission statement is quite significant for your company. It defines your values and can be the reason why people do (or don’t) decide to do business with you.
So, don’t rush the writing process. Test out a few ideas by asking colleagues, employees, or even future customers. Because remember, a mission statement is meant to make your business easier to connect with; and what better way to do just that than collaborate while writing it?