A great mission statement articulates a company’s culture and can serve as a rallying point for employees. This allows workers and customers to know exactly what the company stands for.
First, you need to know the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement. Your vision statement is your broader goal of how you’re going to affect your customers and the world. But your mission statement must be concrete, succinct and focused.
Here are a few rules to follow to craft a powerful mission statement.
1. Start with “why”
Bestselling author Simon Sinek encourages businesses to ask themselves “why” they do what they do. Don’t start with the how and the what — which may offer necessary factual information, though without inspiring customers.
Companies that stress their goals of changing the way we think, work or play capture imaginations a lot more than companies that say “We make great widgets.” Zappos may be a successful online shoe store, but its mission is “to provide the best customer service possible.”
2. Interview yourself
Ask yourself the “5 Ws and the 1 H” questions that journalists use when conducting interviews: who, what, where, why, when and how. We’ve already covered the why, so pay special attention to the who, how and what. Who are you trying to serve? How do you do this? What is the value you bring that is unique to your business?
3. Focus on the customer
Develop one – or multiple – buyer personas, describing your ideal customer. This isn’t part of your mission statement, but it will help you know exactly who are your target customers.
A persona should be as detailed as this: A woman named Debbie is a suburban or small-town mom with a couple of young children. She works full time and is very much aware of her time and schedule because of all the things she must get done every day.
4. Ditch the jargon
We fall too easily into marketing-speak when we start to promote our businesses. But lose the buzzwords and fluff. You don’t want to be able to plug any company’s name into your mission statement. Create a mission statement that is so uniquely about your company that no one would mistake it for your competitor’s. Think from your customers’ perspective. What do they want and how would you explain it to them?
A mission statement should be bold, unique and focused. Take the time to zero in on why you are in business and what makes you exceptional. You will open the door to a wealth of potential.