A good mission statement is the foundation of a company’s culture and is a tool that can be equally as important as a company’s business plan. In just a few sentences it captures the essence of the goals and philosophies tied to a company while allowing customers and workers to know precisely what that company stands for.
Your mission statement should reflect every facet of your business. This can include the nature of the products you offer, quality, service, use of technology, and your relationships with customers, employees, and your community. However, business leaders must ensure that a mission statement is also succinct and focused.
Here are five tips to follow in order to craft a powerful and, more importantly, meaningful, mission statement for your company.
1: KEEP IT SHORT AND CONCISE
Your company is important to you and you want to make sure that everyone who reads your mission statement understands your business and vision. Some of the largest companies in the world devote full pages to their mission statements; however, keeping your mission statement at a suitable and memorable length can still convey your business’ particular message and can stick with readers long after learning your mission statement.
When writing your mission statement, try to be as concise as possible. Sum up your entire company's mission in one or two sentences. Consider it your elevator pitch. You should be able to state your company’s mission succinctly in the time it takes to ride an elevator from the ground floor to the top floor.
2: BE SPECIFIC
Typical buzzwords and jargon are usually ineffective in a mission statement. For example, if you tell people that you “deliver company efficiencies using innovative and optimized software solutions,” they’re unlikely to remember this phrase down the road. Additionally, when your mission is hard to understand, it’s difficult for employees to align their daily activities with the goals outlined. Make sure you choose your words wisely and use terms that are easily understood, memorable, and relevant to your business.
3: DEFINE YOUR PROCESS
Does your company "aim to be a leader of customer service, innovation and industry products?” That’s great, but so do thousands of other companies. While this statement may read well, in reality, it means very little to both your customers and your employees.
When writing a mission statement, take a moment to list the core values that are important to you and are expressed in your business. To start, identify your product or service and define what makes it valuable, then determine your customer and how best to reach them. Together, these elements can communicate your purpose and vision to consumers and team members alike.
4: INVOLVE OTHERS
Your mission statement needs to accurately reflect your organization’s values as seen by your employees. If you publish your mission statement without asking others what they think, you may end up with something that inspired you but no one else. See to it that you have several pairs of eyes go over your mission statement many times until every word resonates. Mission statements should be developed by your entire team and everyone’s views should be taken into account. Not only will you get a better, more comprehensive statement, but your employees will also be more invested in it because they helped create it.
5: KEEP IT ORGANIC
The evolution of your company is inevitable and as your company evolves so too should your mission. What may have been applicable when your company was first starting may no longer be something you wish to focus on. Your statement ought to be a representation of your current company culture. It's an opportunity to institute a sense of identity for your business and should be constantly maintained and referred to. Tweaking your statement ensures that it will always parallel the current direction of your company.
All in all, be sure to revisit your mission statement on a regular basis to evaluate whether it should be revised or updated. If you’ve followed the correct steps the first time around, you shouldn’t have to alter it significantly as time goes by.