It’s that time… and now you have to sit down behind your screen and think long and hard about how to write a business mission statement.
Many business people and entrepreneurs, including me, have avoided this task, believing that you are just writing words for the sake of it and/or because someone has told you that you have to do it.
You should take writing a business mission statement seriously — it is a great way to nail exactly what you do, how you do it, and why.
These words are powerful and will serve to make your customer communications more succinct and meaningful, plus help you to unite your own employees and make sure that everyone is “singing from the same page.”
And let’s also not forget about the investment community — it’s a lot easier to make sense of a business plan where the founders are trying to raise money if the potential investors can very quickly grasp the essence of the business.
Writing your mission statement is also a way to announce to the world that your business exists and for me, every business should have one, regardless of their size or industry.
Take a look at this definition to get a further insight into the meaning and the components of a business mission statement.
Your mission statement is closely linked and in some ways, a precursor to your commercial value proposition statement, which is what compels your customers to buy from you.
When you are writing your mission statement in the way I describe below, you will touch on the value points that will come later in your value proposition, so in a way, you are going to get a “double” out of the process, so go through the steps and you will see that it is a worthwhile exercise.
How to write a business mission statement (steps)
Now, it seems to be a simple process when you look at the 3 points I’ve illustrated above, but trust me, it can tie you up in knots when it comes to creating the final draft!
Once I had decided that a mission statement was vital for my business, I spent hours agonizing over the words, but the result was well worth the pain and effort — I could now present my entire business, or any aspect of it, from this one statement alone.
So let’s break down each component part:
Describe exactly what you do
This is probably the easiest part as I haven’t yet met a business owner that could not tell me what their business does, although many struggled to put this aspect into a clear, concise statement…which is exactly the goal you want to achieve.
You don’t have to put fancy words and statements together here…keep it simple and simply describe what you do and for example:
- We sell high-tech software to the construction industry.
- We sell artisan bakery products.
- We manufacture luxury fashion accessories.
It doesn’t matter what you do…just say what you do!
There is nothing more to add really, and I did say that it is the easiest part!
Describe how you do it
Now we are getting to the meat of the subject and this part is not so easy, simply because you have to nail this mission statement in one sentence or at the maximum length of one paragraph.
You may want to look at the features of your product and/or service here and for example and taking my own technology staffing business as an example, I had described what we did in words to the effect of:
“Providing specialist technology experts to the telecom industry on-demand, anytime, anywhere.”
But now I had to go deeper and look at the “how” part, so it followed with something like:
“You have the know-how, we have the ‘know who…and where.’ Our technical firewall ensures that only the very best specialist engineers, project leaders, and business consultants make it onto our hand-picked database and we keep you continually aware of this talent as and when it becomes available.”
The above statement is one that could easily fit into your value proposition and make sure you keep it in its entirety.
In the artisan bakery product example, you could write something like this:
“Each of our hand-crafted products is cooked precisely to perfection in our state-of-the-art temperature-controlled ovens ensuring that all of our natural ingredients retain their natural flavor.”
As with my earlier staffing example, this again would be a nice phrase to put into your value proposition.
You get the idea!
Explain the purpose (why)
Now we come to the grand finale…the reason behind starting your company and you could look at this as describing your passion.
This is the exciting part of the statement, for me anyway and it gives you a chance to put a little emotion into it…to bring it alive.
In my staffing example, I started the business to address what I felt would be the shortage of people that would travel around the globe at a moment’s notice to help telecom manufacturers and service providers roll out new technology and services in the ever-growing mobile communications industry.
So I could put together something like this:
“We have been helping telecom operators, vendors, and consulting companies by covering the global skills gaps in their organizations since XXX.”
I’m just giving examples here to help you get the idea and you just have to be creative and don’t feel that you have to conform to anyone else’s standards, especially the large corporations who have teams of creative people at their disposal.
Please remember…you are also starting the process of creating your value proposition, so don’t omit anything in the longer sentences, and next, you can start to refine the words.
Time to edit
By now, you’ve probably got a nice long paragraph that you are pretty much happy with, but you should go one step further and try to make it as succinct as possible, which again, is no easy task, but remember, you have also started the process of creating your value proposition to customers.
So now, you have to take all of the words and try to condense them as much as possible, but you must try to retain the essence of what you have stated.
Let’s take our artisan bakery product example and refine it:
“XXX bakers: Our mission is to deliver the finest, hand-crafted bakery products to excite the taste buds of the most discerning consumer.”
Now, this may seem a million miles from where we started but remember that the process was designed to kill two birds with one stone and force you to dig deep into your business to really make sure you can articulate your mission to anyone.
In the bakery example, I’ve added some emotion and brought the statement to life — we can all envisage taste buds and we can appreciate high-quality, so I simply put them together and also explained what the bakery does.
You just have to get creative and it’s far easier to start with long-form text and reduce it than it is to add text because you don’t have enough.
Don’t ignore your mission statement and it will go on to pay you dividends in the future, especially when you put it into action.
Last modified: March 1, 2021