Does Your Business Have a Mission Statement?
A mission statement states the purpose and values of your organization. It details what your startup does for its shareholders, including customers, employees, and owners, and how it plans to make good on its promises and connect everyone to your brand. This statement is usually brief, summed up in one sentence, inspiring, and uses inclusive language.
So, does your business have a mission statement? It’s okay if the answer is “no” or “it’s a draft in progress.” Creating a mission statement for your startup takes a bit of time and thought. Everyone should be able to read this statement and understand your startup’s primary objectives and core competencies. At the same time, you want the statement to be compelling and interesting. It should express values that allow people reading to resonate with the message, work towards reaching these achievable goals, and live out the company’s mission.
Let’s help take this draft and turn it into a mission statement that clearly communicates the purpose of your startup and what your organization brings to the table.
Define Your Purpose
Who are you? What do you do? Why does your business exist?
Start from the beginning when writing your mission statement. Detail who or what your business is, describe what the business does, and outline how the business does it. Answering these questions will allow you to define your “why” for being in business and allow you to better share your purpose.
Admittedly, answering these questions can accidentally position you to write an essay about what makes your business unique.
Cut back on the clutter and pay attention to clarity and conciseness. Focus on four key elements in your mission statement: value, inspiration, plausibility, and specificity.
For example, consider sharing reasonable accomplishments that your business can achieve. This ties in with the element of plausibility. You may also share how your business plans to help others, what inspires your team and self, and what keeps you focused on the bigger picture.
Share Your Values
As you gradually define your purpose, you may find that your answers begin to express your core values. Write down the values that matter to you and your business.
For example, let’s say that your business sells snack foods. These snacks are similar to potato chips, but they are plant-based foods. In addition to being nutritious, your business also cares about the types of ingredients used to make the snacks. The business may commit to good sustainability practices by working alongside farmers and other sources that can ensure the snack foods are delicious and of high quality.
So, you would not simply say in your mission statement that you sell a plant-based snack food. You might emphasize that your snack foods are nutritious or made with cruelty-free ingredients. Or you may also wish to emphasize how these wholesome snacks are available for everyone to enjoy and that the business commits to a bottom line of sustainability. Focus on one or two core values for inclusion in your mission statement.
Now take a look at your mission statement. You will notice that the statement is starting to bloom after including your core values. However, it’s not fully written out yet!
Sharing your purpose and your values in your mission statement should not be stagnant in nature. Audiences should not come away from reading your mission statement feeling as though there is no movement behind it. Emphasize to audiences that your business is actively working to live out its purpose and values by using radiant words.
The average length of a mission statement is 29 words long and is no more than 100 words in length. Once you set aside the words you wish to convey your purpose and values, add in radiant words.
Remember that a radiant word is not the same concept as a buzzword or complicated business jargon. Radiant words are lively, colorful, and exciting. Audiences that hear a radiant word are better able to visualize the business.
One example of a mission statement that does this exceptionally well is Tesla. Their mission statement is “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
“Accelerate” is the key radiant word. It works as both a play on words and emphasizes Tesla’s active pursuit to provide clean electric vehicles to the public
Radiant words, like outrageous, sizzle, or marvel, motivate audiences to not only see the business and its offerings. It also inspires them to take action and become part of the movement.
Remember: Mission Statements are Not Vision Statements
Sometimes a mission statement is confused with a vision statement. Do the two terms mean the same thing?
The answer is no. Mission statements are rooted in the moment. Vision statements, on the other hand, look to the future. These statements focus on what the company aspires to be once it achieves its mission.
Should you draft a vision statement too? There’s nothing wrong with determining and setting a vision statement for your startup. However, it’s important to understand the difference between the two statements and prioritize your focus on the statement you wish to represent your business in this moment. Usually, this means coming up with a mission statement before starting to draft a vision statement.
Mission Statement: Next Steps
What happens once you have a draft of your mission statement? Communicate the statement to your team members (if you have any employees working for your business), share it with customers, and make sure to live out the values and mission reflected therein each day you’re in business.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.