What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a statement that describes the essence or purpose of your business that makes it crystal clear who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
Here’s a classic definition:
- A short summary of a business’s purpose that identifies the goal it is trying to achieve, what kind of product or service it offers, its target market, and it’s unique selling point.
- That definition sums up everything that should be included in a mission statement.
- Fundamentally, a mission statement should incorporate the following key things.
- The purpose of your business and why it exists.
- Your target market.
- Your products or services.
- The core values that influence how your company operates.
- The value you’re providing.
- How you differ from your competitors.
Here are a examples of powerful mission statements of some of the biggest companies in the world.
“To be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Amazon have described themselves as customer-centric to emphasize their focus on their target market. It’s all about the customer, and their entire mission statement revolves around the customer.
“Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.“
Apple have summed up everything about what they do especially with the word, “innovative”, which accurately describes Apple’s products.
A strong strategy would be to identify a keyword that accurately and concisely sums up your business, product or service.
“Walmart helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online and through their mobile devices.”
Walmart uses the word helps people save money, and live better. Which is exactly what they do through their cheap prices. They also let us know that you can shop in their stores or online.
So, these are some pretty strong and compelling mission statements, and one thing you might have recognized is that all of these companies really live up to the essence of their mission statements.
How to Craft a Mission Statement for Your Business, Step-by-Step
Your mission statement needs set the tone for your business. It needs to be short, sharp and accurate and it needs to be focused on identifying the impact you’re looking to have on the lives of your customers. Is there a specific keyword that really sums up what you do in a way that would really appeal to your target audience? That would really help your potential customers identify with your business.
Essentially, your mission statement needs to pack a punch. It needs to be clear, it needs to be concise and it needs to be ultra-specific. It also needs to be memorable. If it is weak or vague, your mission statement won’t be remembered by anyone. It just won’t be memorable.
Step one: Describe the fundamental purpose of your business. What is the main reason why you’re in business? This is not about financial motivations . Rather, it is about the main reason why your business exists. What are the specific goals you’re trying to achieve with your business?
These are the main reasons that motivated you to start your business. At this point, you’ll want to identify the specific products or the specific services that you offer to your customers.
Now, there’s no need to overthink this. Make this very simple. Whatever it is you provide is the purpose of your business. For example, you could say that:
My company’s purpose is to
- Sell t-shirts online.
- Provide link building services.
- Provide online flower delivery services.
- Offer app development services.
So, by stating the purpose of your business, it makes it very clear exactly why you exist.
Step Two: Identify your primary customers and what you do for them. Now, your business is primarily about your customers, and you need to precisely identify the very people that you typically help with your business. Who are your ideal target customers? Are they business owners, entrepreneurs, career women, consumers, etc? What value are you bringing to them? What benefits are you providing? How will your products, your services or solution improve their lives?
Describe the specific impact that your business will have on the lives of your customers, and how it will make their lives better.
Explain exactly what your business is trying to accomplish on behalf of your customers.
Identify how you satisfy your customers’ needs rather than being focused on your product or service.
Step Three: Describe what your company stands for and how it does what it does. Now, we need to be very clear here. This is not about how your business physically operates. This is about your core competencies and how they contribute to or influence the level of service that you provide to your customers.
These are the uncompromising principles and fundamental beliefs that are define the promise you make to your customers. Don’t be vague here. Define what makes the service you provide so extraordinary.
Here are some examples of core values:
- Top of the line customer service
- Exceptional link building services
- To protect and improve the environment
- Provide superior product quality
Once you have determined which core values are most important to you, include one or two to the description of what your company does.
Step Four: Describe how your company differs from your competitors. Now, you’ll want to be really specific here. What is it about your products or services that makes you a better option than your competitors? What do you do better, cheaper or faster than them?
Your mission statement needs to be a compelling and inspirational summary.
Let’s bring everything together by looking at an example:
If you’re an internet marketing company, this is what your mission statement can look like:
Our company, SEO Social Geek, exists to provide exceptional social media marketing services that allow local, small businesses to lower their costs, increase their revenue and establish a strong brand presence online.
So, as you can see here:
- We have identified exactly what our business does. We provide SEO, PPC advertising and social media marketing services. These are keywords that sum up the services that we provide. I could have said online marketing services, but I wanted to be more specific by identifying the exact services that we provide.
- We have identified our core values in that we provide exceptional internet marketing services. This is our underlying commitment to our customers. This is the quality of service they can expect to receive from us, and this is how we differ from our competitors.
- We have identified our ideal target customers. Local small businesses.
- We have also identified the impact we’re going to make on the lives of our target audience: increase their revenue and establish a strong brand presence.
Now, once you’ve crafted your mission statement, people need to be familiar with it. You want it to be highly visible in your business. Post it in the about section of your website. Post it in your social media bios. The thing is, you want everyone to know exactly what you’re about and what you’re looking to achieve as a business.
That is why it needs to be front and centre in the minds of everyone who works for your business. Consequently, it should be posted in places where everybody that works for you or comes into contact with your business can see it, every single day.
When you keep your mission statement highly visible to yourself and to everyone that works for you, everybody in your business are going to be on the same page. It will serve to remind everyone in your business of what you are doing, where you are going as a business and why you are doing what you are doing.
Now, doing that can actually have an inspirational effect on you and on everyone in your business, especially if it is something that they see every single day. What you want is for everybody to have a clear sense of who you are, what your business is about and what you’re trying to accomplish as a business.
When your mission statement is highly visible, everyone who comes into contact with your business will know exactly what to expect from you as a business. Your employees will know what you are trying to accomplish in your business, and what is expected of them. Your customers and prospects will know exactly what your brand promise is, and what they can expect when they buy your products or your services.