Many traditional mission statements seem more like a business afterthought than an important expression of a company’s guiding principles. They tend to follow the same format and repeat the same types of words about vague business ideals. What’s missing from most mission statements is attention-grabbing facts about what makes a business unique. All of your website content has the potential to attract valued clients, and your mission statement should be a key focal point of your web presence. If your mission statement is full of platitudes, it’s time to throw it out and replace it with actual details about what you care about and why you’re in business. Here’s a guide to creating the ultimate small business mission statement.
Describe Your Business
It’s easier to describe a strong mission statement by explaining why some mission statements are ineffective. A badly written mission statement doesn’t convey a clear business purpose. An ineffective statement uses vague words like “innovation,” “customer service,” and “quality” without conveying exactly what the words mean to the company. A good mission statement clearly articulates your business purpose and your ideals. For example, if you have a new accounting practice, then your mission statement should include your specific specialities or your target markets. If your purpose is to serve a specific community or region, this should also be included in your statement.
People should be able to tell your business purpose by reading your mission statement. On the other hand, when writing a mission statement, you should be concise. If you make your statement too long, readers attention might wander before they get to the end. As well, you increase the risk of confusing your readers. Aim for concise wording that makes your statement easy to understand at a glance and memorable after the fact.
Business Image and Values
Does your mission statement encapsulates the image you want your business to convey to your clients and to the public? For example, do you have a special emphasis on a public issue, an environmental concern, or on a particular area of technology? If this is the case, spell it out in the mission statement. You can expand on your company philosophy on your company website or in blog posts.
Ideally, writing a mission statement should be a joint project. If you are a solo practitioner, ask trusted friends or associates for feedback. If you have employees include them in the process as you draft your mission statement. Ask them what they feel is missing from the statement, or what they feel is superfluous and should be removed. Including your employees in the writing process helps to make them feel personally invested in your company success. It can also help to keep your team on the same page.
Update as Needed
Business goals and values can change over time, but your statement should always reflect the current state of your company. A mission statement that no longer matches your company purpose can undermine your marketing efforts and credibility with your existing customers. When your company modifies its core values, or changes target markets be sure to update your mission statement accordingly.