Having a mission statement is key to pointing your business in the right direction, and to every move you make along the way, so it’s pretty crucial.
If you already have a running business or have a business concept you plan to launch, then writing a mission statement is actually quite simple. It will describe what you do, who you serve, and what makes you unique.
It’s likely that you already know and often think about these foundational aspects of your business, but if you have never put them on paper, now is the time. Before you jump right in and begin writing though, let’s go over the basics.
I’ll teach you how to write a mission statement, but first, I’ll cover what a mission statement is and why you need it in the first place. Then, I’ll share a few examples and discuss what makes a mission statement truly great.
Finally, we’ll craft the outline that will help you write your own mission statement. Once you’ve written your mission statement, you can begin to take steps toward scaling your business, which, of course, is critical to experience long-term success.
Let’s jump in, shall we?
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement describes the “why” behind what you do. It’s the statement of purpose that drives your business.
When talking about your company’s mission, you have to also consider the vision for your company. It’s impossible to separate these two, but they aren’t interchangeable. The vision for your company is the ultimate goal, the guiding light, the world changed by your work; it depicts what you hope to do, create, or change through your business.
The mission statement is the roadmap to vision. It depicts why you want to reach your vision and how you work to accomplish it.
Why You Need a Mission Statement
A mission statement is so much more than a few words strung together to sound nice.
The mission statement for your company is the roadmap you and your team need to reach your grander vision. Not only does this roadmap detail how you are going to get where you are going, but why you are going there in the first place.
If you don’t know why you are in business, you are in trouble. You will lose your passion, your employees won’t know what they are working for or toward, and your customers won’t know why to trust you.
These are the reasons why you need to learn how to write a mission statement here today:
To Know Where You Are Going
As a business owner, you know that creating goals is important, right? But how can you create goals, if you don’t know where you’re going?
Start with the end in mind. As author Steven Covey put it in The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People, “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”
We want the decisions you make for your business today to be in line with where you want to be in 1, 10, or 50 years from now, but that’s not possible if you don’t have the mission in mind. When you write your mission statement, you can always return to the core purpose of your business when you are seeking direction or setting goals.
To Align Your Company with Your Values
The mission statement forms the basis for alignment not only with the owner but with the team and the entire organization as well.
By stating why you do what you do and how you do it, you are outlining some of your core company values. These values should be reflected across every area of your business, but how do you know that your teams are aligned and that their actions are in step with your values if you don’t outline them?
The mission statement can be a unifying force for your teams and your organization as a whole, ensuring everyone is running the same race, on the same track, to reach the same finish line. When you accomplish this, your business will run more smoothly and achieve greater success.
Now that you know why you need a mission station, I’ll show you how to make a mission statement that matches your business.
How To Write a Mission Statement
Writing a mission statement is simple, really. I’ll walk you through everything you need to include in the mission statement so you can have the framework in front of you. Then, you will be able to simply plug in the pieces of the puzzle as they relate to your business and get the entire picture of your mission in a few words.
Keep in mind, however long or short it ends up being, a mission statement should answer these questions: Who are you? Why do you do what you do? And, how you do it?
Explain Your Business
The first order of business is to explain exactly what type of business you are in, or plan to be in. Anyone reading your mission statement should understand what it is you do.
I’m going to use the mission statement of my company ActionCOACH as an example. We explain what we do in our mission statement when we say:
“We will educate our clients in world-class marketing and business development techniques using audio, video, other technologies, and simple workbooks, workshops, and seminar formats.”
This part is pretty straightforward. Describe what it is you do be it selling books or software, providing financial resources, building homes, etc.
Describe Your People
Next up, is describing your people. Who are the people who will help you reach your ultimate vision? What are they like, what do they value, and how do they work to help you accomplish your vision?
If you don’t have a team yet, consider what your team will look like in the future. What do you want them to value and how do you want them to help you along on your business journey? This will not only develop alignment within your company but also help you hire the right people for the job; the job being, achieving your company vision.
At ActionCOAH, our people are:
“A team of committed, positive and successful people who are always striving to be balanced, integral, and honest. We will work within our ’14 Points of Culture’ to make sure that everyone who touches or is touched by the ActionCOACH team, will benefit greatly and in some way move closer to becoming the person they want to be or achieve the goals they want to achieve.”
This not only describes who our people are but the way we expect our people to act. Who are the people on the path to your vision?
Outline Your Customers
The next question you have to ask yourself is who is your customer? No business is in the business of serving every single person. Consider how can you get specific about who you serve and express that in your mission statement.
We describe our ideal customers at ActionCOACH through our mission statement, saying:
“ActionCOACH clients, whether they be small, medium, or large in size, will have a desire to have us help them in achieving their goals and be able to take on Our Commitment to them by returning their Commitment to ActionCOACH. They will be forward-thinking, willing to learn and grow, and be willing to work as a team player in the development of an organization of ‘people.'”
This is specific for a reason. We don’t want to work with just anybody, because we know our services are the best match for this type of customer and that this customer will see the value in working with us.
Similarly, your mission statement should describe your ideal customer. Outline who it is you aim to serve and want to do business with.
Include What Makes You Unique
Finally, your business is unique. You know this inherently. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have entered into business in the first place. What is it that you bring to the table that is different than your competitors and specific to your brand? This is where you include the why behind what you do.
Having your vision in mind as you craft this part of your mission statement is key. Your vision, or the ultimate goal, is what inspires your unique passion. It is unlike anyone else’s.
At AcitonCOACH, this is what makes us unique:
“We understand people are important, systems should run a company, we offer the most practical, most applicable, and fastest strategies on growth, and most importantly, we mean what we say. We will give people back their spirit and freedom through business development.”
Scale Your Business Around Your Mission Statement
When done right, the mission statement ignites your goals with passion and ensures you are always in pursuit of your purpose. It can be the roadmap to your incredible, expansive vision.
Writing a mission statement is also an integral part of eventually scaling your business. When you’ve solidified your vision and your mission statement, you have already completed the first two steps of scaling your business and can begin to work toward creating a business that eventually runs without you.
To help you along in your business journey, I’ve developed a quick quiz that will reveal your entrepreneurial type and help you discover your next step.