When you pen down a business concept, one of the most important element is no doubt the mission statement.
This article has two main sections.
First, I tell you what a mission statement is and what parts and features it has to have.
Then I tell you how to write a good mission statement within a short time.
1) What Is a Mission Statement?
“Mission statement” is a rather brief document that highlights the fundamental purpose of business.
It outlines the objective for undertaking the entire business exercise.
It helps readers to understand the company’s strategies and analyze the core business framework.
Therefore, a simple answer to the question, “what is a mission statement?” would be that it is a record of the company’s key goals and spells out the decisions that it takes to bring out the business model in totality.
In a way, this also becomes a mode of articulating the overall business purpose to customers, dealers, suppliers and other interested parties.
It is essentially a broad outline of the entrepreneur’s concept in a clear, concise and attractive manner.
In many ways, therefore, if you want a slogan to grab the customer attention, the mission statement serves this purpose beautifully.
However, you must remember that the mission statement is often subject to change.
As the company or the business starts developing and evolving with time, this statement too undergoes continuous change to stay in sync with the needs of the time and the broad demand of the business.
– Key Constituents of a Mission Statement
Then the question that comes to the foray is what the key constituents are that can make a great statement.
Well, an impressive mission statement includes some key features. These include:
- The primary opportunities that the company seeks to address
- The core objective that the business seeks to achieve
- The kind of service and the competitive edge that the business specializes
- The beliefs and principles that guide the entrepreneurs
Therefore, overall the mission statement should be crisp and to the point.
It should not in any way be boringly written or fail to resonate the core business objectives.
It should be able to highlight the fundamental business ethics and commitment that drive the business concept.
Also, a mission statement sets out the broad contours of business operation and the primary construct that guides the basic industry outlook.
The mission statement serves to not just communicate the business purpose.
But it is also an ideal platform to engage with the analysts, industry veterans and also media players who take forward the business story.
It should be able to stir the employee passion, drive the employer’s dreams to fruition and manage to create ultimate brand loyalty amongst customers.
In fact, it can often be considered as the cornerstone of the business.
It highlights everything from the strategic plan to cultural consciousness to the overall goals that the company sets out to achieve.
Therefore, it goes without saying that creating this statement needs a lot of strong decision making and channelizing your objective through appropriate platforms.
This is what makes it a compelling document of the business person’s concept and helps highlight the fundamental thinking.
In a way, it also helps fashion the customer expectations and the employee response to the overall business vision.
– Purpose of a Mission Statement
But that apart, there are many other purposes of creating a mission statement:
- Motivates the different stakeholders in the business.
- Makes the entire business model easy to understand.
- Cuts out the industry jargon that often becomes a roadblock in easy comprehension.
- Tells your business story in simple words to all and sundry.
- The short length and catchy composition makes for a compelling read wherever you might have it portrayed.
- Potential customers get a sneak peek on the basic business model.
- Helps in improving focus and narrows down the broad objectives.
- Identifies the overall pillars that drive growth.
- Manages to reach out to a larger number of people and communicate the company’s goals.
- Describes the company’s competitive advantages in a more succinct manner.
- Highlights the key factors in the business that you must focus to get a clearer picture of operational efficiencies.
- Brings to foray the fundamental business concepts that drive profitability and margin considerations in the broad purview.
– Ways to Develop a Mission Statement
One simple solution would be to engage with the various stakeholders of the business.
You can engage with the associated employees and customers.
You can help them brainstorm on the cardinal strength and weakness of the business model.
Before you put a final shape to the broad mission statement, it is very important to gauge how the different stakeholders view the business.
You should also know what their perception is about the overall concept.
That is exactly why the mission statement is also a great place to highlight the core value of the business.
You must set out on the task of writing the mission plan with a focus primarily on these key values.
In many ways, it does not just help spell out the ethics guiding the business.
It also defines the whole purpose of the business in a precise manner.
It, therefore, helps in sifting out technical details from the larger business vision and makes it a well rounded mission plan.
This can also then become your mouthpiece to communicate your story to the greater public and anyone who is interested in analyzing the core business.
Therefore, it would not be wrong to conclude that the mission statement of any business is often like the trailer of a movie.
It encapsulates the best scenes, the key people, the main protagonist and the best music that the movie comprises of.
Similarly, the mission statement highlights the primary aspects of the vision that guides the business and is often the easiest means to communicate the entire business story in a nutshell.
It tells a potential customer or supplier about the core competencies and the economies of scale that enable the business to edge over the competition.
For anyone interested in understanding the business basics this is the most appropriate avenue.
2) How to Write a Mission Statement within an Hour
Well, we all know that a mission statement is one of the most important documents in putting forward your business concept.
But often the challenge is all about how to write a mission statement.
We all know it has to be compelling, catchy and concise but what is the kind of time you have to write that.
What if you do not have enough time?
The question is can you write a mission statement in under an hour.
Well, surprisingly that is possible if you keep in mind some basics of writing one.
Maybe you say we will never have to write a missions statement within an hour and we will always have enough time to do it.
What is the point to learn how to write a mission statement within an hour?
This is true.
But what I am trying to say is that writing a mission statement which is a big dilemma for most business owners and entrepreneurs.
However, really it is not a big deal and can be done even in less than an hour if you learn how to do it.
You can write it within two hours or even a day if you want 🙂
The other thing is that you can learn to write your business or personal mission statement on your own.
Therefore, you don’t have to pay anybody to do it for you.
These are the things I am trying to cover in this article.
– Important to Understand the Principle of Mission Statement
The first factor to understand in this context is to figure out what a mission statement is, which is what I have explained above in details:
It is a short statement outlining the basic principles that drive the business.
It brings to light the overall operational details of your business in a crisp and interesting manner.
At no point of time, should your mission statement be too long or unnecessarily detailed.
Sticking to a basic minimum pattern is often the recipe for churning out the most compelling reads.
The idea is you must always look at mission statement like a film trailer.
It means you should touch upon every element but not unnecessarily dwelling on any element for too long.
– Start with Listing out Values
Following a systematic pattern is crucial for churning out mission statement at a fast pace.
The first step to it is listing out the values that guide your business.
The challenge here is developing a concise list.
Often here you might think of too many values.
You can start by listing out 10-20 points and then sift through them and highlight the most compelling aspects.
The ideal list of values should not comprise of more than 5-6 points and must be a list of just the key values that guide your business.
One basic guide is to list out the
- Aspirational values that guide the ultimate direction in which your business is set to move ahead.
- Values that guide the basic pillars of your business.
- Potential of introducing new elements in the overall business.
- Opportunity to try out newer factors to take your business in a new direction.
- Values that might confirm to the core culture of your business but that does not necessarily have to be highlighted at all times.
- Keep the list of values clear and precise.
– Keep the Statement in Active Mode
Remember the mission statement that you are writing must be engaging and create a strong impact.
That is exactly why it is very important to use the appropriate voice to convey the message.
It is a much better idea to keep the mission statement in an active voice and preferably the first person.
This will often motivate the reader to connect with the statement instantly and even become part of it subconsciously.
Also, it is important to keep it forward looking so readers can easily get an idea about the traction you can experience going forward.
It is always a good idea to also highlight the way the business is going to make a difference in the life of the target customers.
You can also put in a line or two about the overall pace in which you plan to grow the business to experience a healthy expansion pace.
In fact, the whole idea is to make the gradual flow in business come across clearly.
It should even involve the readers as almost stakeholders helping the business growth.
Another advantage of keeping the whole statement in active voice is the simple fact that it becomes a more direct form of communication with the reader.
– Don’t Be Shy to Experiment
Often you might think that it is safe to stick to a set format for writing a mission statement.
But there is no such hard and fast rule that you need to follow.
In case you think of a specific approach that can help readers instantly connect with the statement or engage in a more sustainable manner, do not be shy to experiment.
In fact, a fresh perspective and a brand new approach can often breathe in a fresh lease of life to your entire business concept.
– A Broad Appeal for Your Mission Statement
A mission statement is never targeted for any specific genre of readers.
Remember it is put to use by a wide plethora of stakeholders.
From suppliers, distributors, customers to potential new players, the mass appeal of a mission statement is absolutely important.
It is very important that whoever might be reading it can connect with it instantly and can quite easily connect with the idea that is being conveyed through the statement without much ado.
The basic idea is, therefore, creating a document that has equally appeal across all quarters.
Also, this common perspective is important so that the mission statement can be quite easily incorporated into the various aspects of business.
This is also relevant in terms of how you can integrate it into the various facets of operation in the overall business model.
Integration is very important as the mission statement is never seen in isolation and it is absolutely important to see it as an extension of the broad business account.
This is often the key to creating a sustainable model for business over the longer term and makes the possibility of continuously updating it as per the needs of times.
A mission statement needs to conform to some basic rules for enabling a quick turnaround.
Always start your statement with listing out the business values, and it is crucial to keep a common appeal.
In this way, whenever you create a mission statement, the same can be easily integrated amidst the various stakeholders.
As a result, you can conclude that a mission statement is often the outcome of a persistent dialogue with the various stakeholders.
You can look at creating them much faster by simply keeping a conversational tone and maintaining an overall broad perspective.