While your small business may have a mission statement on the company website or in materials, have you thought about what exactly the statement should convey? Below are four important considerations about the purpose of a mission statement.
- Even though they are only a few sentences long, mission statements should express the value of your company and clarify what it offers. A mission statement has less to do with the daily ins and outs of your business and more to do with your customers’ experience.
- Although many mission statements contain generalities and platitudes, there is room for creative language. In fact, the more your mission statement correlates with your marketing messages the better.
- Once you identify your company’s core values and how they support what you do, you can more clearly identify your positioning and begin selling it to your customers and employees.
Let’s take a look at two examples of mission statements – one that works and one that does not. The first is for a hypothetical company. Because it is a generic statement, any company in any industry could make similar assertions. The second one is for a direct sales food company and outlines the company’s business decisions and future direction.
A less than stellar mission statement: “XYZ Company is committed to providing top-quality products at the lowest price, while consistently showing our dedication to enhancing the lives of our employees, our customers and the world at large.”
An effective mission statement: “Tastefully Simple promotes a simplified lifestyle through convenient, unique gourmet products and an enriching business opportunity.” This gourmet food franchise company goes on to tout unique core values that include the “law of magic,” the “law of abundance” and the “law of
Clearly, there is an opportunity to be creative in a mission statement. The most successful ones reflect how your business makes a difference. The following are some tips for getting there:
- Gather a cross-section of your company. Set aside time to focus on your mission statement. In order to get a look at your company from a variety of perspectives, gather a mixed group of employees. This can include newly hired staff, veterans, upper management, clerical staff and representatives of different functions, such as research and development, accounting, marketing and sales.
- Ask yourselves some hard questions. Start with what does your company do? It’s not enough to specify what you sell to customers in tangible terms. Think outside the box a little; a company that sells chicken pot pies could be said to be selling comfort, not just convenient lunch choices.
- Keep goals in mind. The language choices you make in your mission statement should align with corporate goals. Therefore, you have to define what a particular word means to your company. For example, if you say your company is dedicated to “fun,” you need to decide if you mean your products are fun to play with, or that your company is symbolic of what “fun” may encompass.
- Parse out your demographics. You may need to have more than one mission statement for different customer groupings. The same products or services can be used and viewed in different ways by different audiences.
If you go through this exercise, you may end up with a mission statement that is beneficial to your company in a variety of ways. It can set the tone for your work environment. It can provide clarity on how you see your company and what you want to achieve. It can also help keep the focus on developing products that align with your mission. That’s a lot of value for a few simple sentences. Do you use a mission statement? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with the SBOC community below.