Drafting a mission statement is one of the first steps you need to make when starting your business. At its most basic, a mission statement must state your products and services, define your primary customers, describe your geographical location of operation, state your company’s goals and exhibit your company’s cherished values. Being almost like a statement of purpose for your business, a mission statement must be formulated with a lot of thought, a large vision and some good amount of brainstorming!
Here is how to draft the perfect mission statement in 5 steps:
1. Question yourself and brainstorm with your business partners Questioning yourself and getting together with your team of business partners (if you have one) for a brainstorming session where you deal with the most basic questions about your business is the first step in drafting a mission statement.
These questions would majorly include but not be limited to: • What do we do? • Why do we do it? • For whom do we do it? • What value are we bringing? • What image do you want to project of your business?
2. String it all together beautifully After finally coming to an agreement on the answers, you would need to put it all together to make a succinct statement. While the answers may be straightforward and even quite generic for your industry but your mission statement must stand apart. Here is how to string together all your answers beautifully:
• The final statement must convey the action your company takes or does instead of just creating a flowery narrative with idealistic ineffective declarations.
For this, use more of present tense verbs like do, make, give, source etc while the usage of nouns should be limited. • Make your mission statement speak – It must have a motivating voice of passion, excellence and commitment for anyone who hears it. • Keep it short for the simple reason that short powerful statements are not only easy to remember but also resonate well with people generally. Also, use a grammatically active voice to draft the statement.
3. Share and get inputs from the rest of the employees A mission statement is for the company and its employees – Ideally, it is not directed to the customer. Hence, share the mission statement with the employees of your company and get their inputs on it. How does it resonate with them? Do they connect with it or do they find it too arcane or alienating? Even if your company does not have employees at the time of drafting the statement, make sure you do spread it around to your professional friends and colleagues to get their input on it. With a mission statement, it is always a good idea to listen to all and then finally do what feels right.
4. Finalize it and test it Finally after all the above, you zero in on what you think is the perfect mission statement. Now it is time to test it – share it with as many people as possible. Have it put up on your website, get it across your company’s promotional activities and put it on your social media channels.
Then observe the kind of buss that it is generating. Is it being ‘liked’? Is it causing people to know more about you? Alternatively, is it confusing people? Even though the mission statement is for you and your company but it must speak to others clearly. Is your mission statement doing that? Based on this testing, you could either go ahead with using your mission statement or start tweaking it.
5. Keep evolving it Just as the company keeps growing, its mission statement must also keep evolving to keep up with the times. This ensures that the mission statement gives a proper image of your growing business journey. In addition, it would be a good idea if you show a sense of maturity and confidence in each successive change in your mission statement.