Not only does it shape your strategy in a compelling, succinct manner, it forms a marketable identity that stands you apart from the competition, illustrates your brand positioning and creates an impactful, identifiable persona that potential employees, customers and investors gravitate towards.
An effective mission statement balances its message with clarity and precision. Here, we’ll cover why they’re an integral part of any business’ core, guide you through the key ingredients of a mission statement, and dive into some superb examples across key industries to see why they work so well.
When it comes to providing a company with forward motion, a mission statement acts as a divining rod, guiding everything from decision making to strategy, emboldening your actions with meaning. It’s these words which guide you through the company’s successes and give your actions a purpose.
In identifying a purpose, the logical goals you’ll work towards come into view, allowing you and your employees to stay aware of the organisation’s direction in everything you achieve going forward. A good mission statement is the foundation upon which you’ll build from the very beginning.
A mission statement tends to go hand in hand with vision. Approached in the appropriate fashion, vision is more than just a buzzword to make a business sound professional. It gives your business something to drive towards. How will your mission statement shape your company’s future and for what length of time? In identifying this at an early stage, you look towards the future by achieving what needs to be done right now.
As well as being indicative of how a company should act, a mission statement should be something of a call-to-arms for each individual employee and a reminder of how they should approach their own responsibilities within the organisation. The mission statement should equally reinforce your employees’ roles and remove uncertainty through clear explanation of both purpose and values. It’s also especially useful for potential employees too, as they’ll be aware of what’s expected of them and the company itself. This alignment ensures everyone stays on the same page.
A well-written mission statement acts as a framework with which to base your company’s decision-making going forward. From your statement, you’ll be in a position to tackle problems and make decisions in a consistent and coherent manner.
While they’re an important part of an organisation’s internal communications, don’t forget that a mission statement can be leveraged as an excellent way of marketing yourself too. For one, it sums up your values in a concise manner that illustrates to the public what your business is all about. By making your intentions clear, you can reassure or entice potential new customers, driving them to act.
What benefit does your product or business have over others? Illustrate this in your mission statement, choose your words carefully and maximise audience action to its fullest. Remember, your mission statement is a powerful tool, it’s worth using it as such.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing mission statements, there are guidelines you can use to help shape the final product. The most important thing is communicating ideas effectively; don’t waste the time of the audience, use your brief window of time with them to truly capture their attention. Broadly speaking, a good mission statement sells what your company is about and why people should care. In writing a mission statement, it’s well worth considering the following points.
Both the business and its audience are better served by a mission statement that’s clear and unambiguous. Avoid weighing it down with buzzwords; they might sound authoritative and important, but do they cut to the core of what you’re about? In writing your mission statement, does it answer what your company does and strives to do? Rather than broad strokes, finetune the substantive points and make your objectives obvious to those unfamiliar with you.
What you’ve chosen to include should be clear and precise. Even if you offer a multi-faceted service, avoid confusing readers by getting bogged down in too much detail – streamline things in a way that’s easily digestible and understandable.
In a crowded market, getting lost in the shuffle is entirely possible. Use your mission statement as a means of standing out from your competition. A mission statement should be memorable and invigorating, able to connect with your audience whatever sector a business operates in.
Whatever changes a business undergoes, a mission statement should endure over the years. Of course, there might be times when it could need updating, but a degree of continuity is important in order to maintain a consistent brand image. If the company has to weather a storm, is its mission statement broad enough to reflect that change without a major overhaul?
Your audience’s time is valuable, ensure it won’t be wasted by paragraph after paragraph of text. Hold their attention with something short, succinct and memorable.
It might be tempting to make ostentatious claims in your statement, but hold back on the hyperbole; it’s easy to get carried away when you’re trying to stand out. Identify your strengths and detail them in a way that’s grounded in fact.
It doesn’t really get much simpler than TED’s two-word mission statement, but its brevity certainly works in its favour. It doesn’t claim to answer any questions and thus avoids being unrealistic, opting instead to truly sum up what it’s about in the simplest way possible.
sweetgreen’s statement opts for inclusivity, using emotive language to really capture its audience without shunning the core of what it delivers. The phrase connecting people is something it stands by too, being active in communities where its food shops are located.
The mission statement from Vegas-based online retailer Zappos is a prime example of one that aims for longevity. It’s broad and general enough to demonstrate that if it started selling something radically different, the message would still be relevant. It’s positioned itself in terms of how the business performs as opposed to what the company sells.
Google’s mission statement foregoes anything emotive or flashy in favour of a broad stroke that still sums up what the iconic search engine has been doing for decades. One look is all it takes to understand exactly what Google offers to its audience.
We hope these examples and pieces of advice can help you create a mission statement for your own business - concisely summing up its aims, personality and qualities.
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