Years ago, I worked for a nonprofit. One of the first things we were required to do was to learn the mission statement for the organization. Each employee was tasked with knowing the mission statement and was expected to be able to recite it at a moment's notice if asked by management. Those sort of "gotcha" moments of impromptu quizzing never really happened, but putting a value on learning the mission for the organization was vital. It is a place where a lot of companies and their employees come up short.
Do you know your company's mission statement? Do you even have one?
A mission statement articulates a company's purpose. It is the backbone of why your company exists. It is a proclamation that this is who we are; this is what we do. Every business should have a mission statement as a way of unifying the organization.
A mission statement is a combination of what your business or nonprofit does and how and why it does it. It is expressed in a way that highlights the values that are important to you. It can be a challenge to clearly and concisely bring these ideas together, though, so let us try and help walk you through it.
First, Describe What Your Company Does
Easy enough, right? There's no need to be fancy or try to sound smart here. What product or service does your business produce or provide? Get down to the bare basics, and don't add any filler. You will have the chance to elaborate on this a little later.
My company's goal is to:
Provide educational services
Grow organic vegetables
Design tee shirts
Provide financial advice
Sell women's clothing
Provide childcare services
Now, Describe How Your Company Does What It Does
This is the hard part because you aren't trying to provide a detailed description of your business' day to day operations; instead, you're looking for an explanation of how your company generally operates on a broader scale. Often this means incorporating one or more of your core values into your description.
So before we move on, take a moment to list the core values that are important to you about your business.
Here are some sample values that you may want to use when you write a mission statement:
Provide high product quality
Provide superior customer service
Protect the quality of the environment
Ensure equal access to resources
Practice sustainable development
They all might sound great, and you might try to meet and uphold a lot of excellent core values, but for your mission statement, really try to pick the ones that are most important to you and your customers.
Now, you can start to piece the steps together.
My company's purpose is to:
Sell coffee of the highest quality.
Provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success.
Grow organic vegetables using sustainable farming practices.
These are not quite finished yet. There's another big step to go before your mission statement is complete.
Tell Why Your Company Does What It Does
This is the part of your mission statement that describes your ambition, your heart—the passion behind your business.
Why does your business do what it does? For some people, it helps to think back on why they started their business in the first place or why you continue to do what you do.
So this is what our three mission statement examples might look like when you add a "why" to them:
My company's purpose is to:
Sell coffee of the highest quality so every customer can find the perfect cup of coffee.
Provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success and become life-long learners and contributing members of our community.
Grow organic vegetables using sustainable farming practices to give people safe and healthy food choices.
Great job! Now have another look at your mission statement and see if it captures what you want to say or if there's a better way of phrasing it. For starters, put your company's name into it.
"My company's purpose is to grow organic vegetables using sustainable farming practices to give people safe and healthy food choices."
That one is pretty straight forward, it isn't bad, but with a little personality it could be reworked into: "At Friendly Farmer, we grow organic vegetables in a way that's good for the earth and good for the table."
And, "Our company's purpose is to provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success and become life-long learners and contributing members of our community."
This one could be better phrased as:
"Our company, ABC Learning, exists to provide educational services that allow all children to experience success in learning and success in life."
Using Your New Mission Statement
Once you've crafted your business's new mission statement, you'll want to put it to work right away.
You want your mission statement to be front and center in the minds of everyone who works in or interacts with your business. As the statement of why your business exists, it also explains to them why they would want to do business with you.
Some businesses go so far as to make their mission statements the themes of their advertising campaigns. At a minimum, you should make sure your mission statement is highly visible on your business premises, website, and all your marketing materials. It would help if you also encouraged your employees to learn your mission statement.
A good mission statement isn't just a slogan; it's the foundation of your operations— it can't provide guidance if people don't know it.
Besides having mission statements to communicate who they are and what they do, successful small businesses also have vision statements to describe their ultimate goals. You can follow a similar process to create your vision statement.
Missions can change and evolve. It is essential to look at your mission statement every few years to see if what you say you do and what you do match up. If not, it might be time to change and rework your mission statement.
Often crafting a mission statement can be arduous. A "can't see the forest for the trees" situation. We recommend bringing in an outside set of eyes to help you craft a new mission statement and plan a reveal and campaign around this to help bring attention to your business, and it's strengthened philosophy. At TOUVUS we have a staff dedicated to helping you craft every aspect of your companies public persona. From mission statements to ad campaigns to public relations we can help take your business to the next level! Contact us today to find out more!